No one could say that Wale, D.C.’s most successful rapper to date, has forgotten where he came from. The major-label artist out of Quince Orchard High School says he’s working on an album steeped in D.C.’s homegrown go-go music.
“It’s kind of like my N*E*R*D kind of project,” Wale said at a press event during last weekend’s Essence Festival, referring to The Neptunes/Pharrell side project. He added that he’s recruited R&B/pop performers Tinashe and Chris Brown to help out. As for other special guests, Wale told reporters he doesn’t have much to spill yet.
“It’s in the beginning stages,” the MC said. “It’s tricky because, the go-go album, I wanna include so many people like Go-Go Mickey, Genghis [Glover, aka Big G, of Backyard Band], Smoke [of Northeast Groovers]… a whole lot of people from back home I wanna include, but it’s like I gotta do it like in the system… so some people don’t even know that they’re about to get the phone call.”
The rapper went on to say he feels a little trepidation going into the project.
“Growing up in that whole scene, I know how people work and I know what they need to see for them to believe in it,” Wale said. “Go-go is the most jaded music, culture, genre in the world. These guys have been touring D.C., Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina for 20-plus years. And now I’m like yo, y’all wanna do a real real real album? And they’re like, ‘Psssht.’ So it’s a whole process, and I’m willing to take it on.”
The rapper, who got his local break merging hip-hop with go-go, dipped his toe back into the D.C. genre last December when he released “Miracle On U Street,” a go-go-flavored track produced by That Boy Good and Tone P.
Wale made national headlines this year when he dropped The Album About Nothing, his chart-topping album that included a guest appearance from his favorite comic, Jerry Seinfeld.