Now that the smoke has (mostly) cleared from the Kanye and Lil Mama embarrassments at the VMAs, maybe it's time to talk about the positives from the evening. After a fairly quiet summer, Wale jumped back in the spotlight as the house performer at the MTV awards show. A few days later, he was named as the opening act for Jay-Z's upcoming Blueprint 3 tour. With the recent release of his second official single ("World Tour," featuring Jazmine Sullivan), it's already been a great September for the D.C. native.
As he preps for the Hova tour and readies his debut album (Attention Deficit, due November 3), Wale's busier than ever...but not too busy to chat with Complex about his MTV gig, his live band, and touring with Jay. Read on for the interview and to listen to "World Tour"...
NEW SINGLE: Wale "World Tour" feat. Jazmine Sullivan
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Interview by Ralph Warner
Complex: So how was the VMA experience for you?
Wale: It was cool, with the exception of some things that weren't in the script. But it was a good experience, it was a lot of pressure but I think we did a pretty good job.
Complex: How did you end up getting the MTV gig?
Wale: They just had a couple people that they were looking at, a couple different bands and stuff, but they liked what I do. They had been to the live shows and they were really excited about [them]. So they wanted to kind of put that into the VMAs.
Complex: How much time did you get to rehearse?
Wale: I've been playing with that band for years but we had like three days to rehearse.
Complex: You had guys like Cudi and Daniel Merriweather come share the stage with you. How did you decide on your special guests?
Wale: Me and MTV kind of decided together. It was one of those things where we put our heads together, came up with a list of people, and just picked.
Complex: What's your opinion on the whole Kanye thing?
Wale: I don't even have one on that. I really can't speak on that.
Complex: Any good post-VMA party stories?
Wale: Nah, I just chilled with a friend of mine. We just went to a lot of different places—like real low-key places where nobody was, that type of thing. Me and A-Trak and a few friends went out and chilled.
Complex: How's everything coming along with the album? Is Attention Deficit complete?
Wale: The album is done man, dropping November 3. I'm excited about it, we got this tour with Jay-Z and Lupe that we're about to do. I think the energy is good in hip-hop right now. So I'm excited about that.
Complex: What's one thing that you think your fans can look forward to on the album?
Wale: I think a lot of raw emotion, the kind of emotion that's been missing from hip-hop for a while.
Complex: Going back to the idea with the whole house band and everything, the Roots are Jimmy Fallon's house band. Could you ever see yourself doing that type of thing as a regular gig?
Wale: Yeah, somewhere down the line. I think those guys are a lot more sharp than we are, in some elements. But I definitely could see myself doing something like that. I don't know if I would do it as much as they do it, but at some point, yeah.
Complex: Can you talk about your working relationship with your band UCB?
Wale: Well we've been playing with each other for about five-and-a-half years. Before I even signed a record deal we would just do little hole-in-the-wall stuff. But they've been playing for 13 years in D.C. so we jam real cool, we're all just good friends, you know. So it wasn't difficult at all, that was something that we could do in our sleep. We've done so many shows together now in the past year. That's not even counting the ones that we started doing five-and-a-half years ago. It just got real intense this past year though.
Complex: What do you think your performances at the VMAs does for your career?
Wale: I really don't know, I'm really too close to my brand to know what the general perception is. I hope it's doing something for me but I really couldn't tell you.
Complex: What are you up to between now and the time the album drops?
Wale: The tour with Jay, we're doing a lot of major colleges. Just get ready for the album on November 3. It's just the tour, that's a lot right there. There's so many dates.
Complex: What are your thoughts on getting an opportunity to go out there with Jay?
Wale: It's great, I'm excited about it. I'm just really excited to make new fans on the tour because I've only done headlining tours. We haven't had the opportunity to open for people that much. I also got a single right now, "World Tour," that's just been released like two days ago. That's pretty much it, that and the tour.
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