Wale Shares Details, Reveals Producers for Forthcoming Album ‘Shine’

In January, Wale became the first rapper to open a president’s State of the Union Address. Barack Obama took to the podium for his final SOTU speech as Commander-in-Chief after the D.C. rhymer delivered his hits “Chillin’,” “LoveHate Thing” and “White Shoes” at the White House viewing party (Jan. 12). At the end of his set, Wale also announced his fifth album Shine.

Two months later, Wale repped his native city once again as the headliner for the Events DC Presents Music showcase, hosted by the Washington DC Economic Partnership at the Historic Scoot Inn for Austin’s SXSW festival on Tuesday night (March 15). During his set, Folarin offered more details about his forthcoming project, teasing that it would arrive in a “couple of months.” He also debuted a new track called “Pretty Young Thing.”

“It’s a little bit more melody and shit ’cause I been on some, like, I don’t want to call nobody to do my hooks no more,” he tells Billboard after his performance. “I want to do it myself but just as an evolution as an artist.”

Wale admits that during the creative process, he’s penned material for another artist that may end up his own. “I’m also writing for other artists so sometimes I may sing a song I wrote for somebody and I’ll be like, ‘Eh I like it. It’s me.’ even if it may not be performance good,” he said without offering specific names.

He even nodded Lil Wayne for his dual talents. “Lil Wayne said something in an interview where he’s like, ‘Yo I want to be the best at everything.’ or like, ‘I want to be a great rapper but if I write a song, it may not be the best vocally but I wrote it and you’ll get what I’m saying.’,” he explained. “I’m conveying the emotion so that’s what I’m trying to do currently with this new shit.”

But don’t start calling Wale a rapper slash singer just yet. “I’m not trying to go full R&B or nothing like that,” he offers. “I just wanna make vibes.”

On the production side, the  revealed that he is working with beatsmiths Nez and Rio, Diplo, Beat Billionaire and Metro Boomin’. He kept a tight lip on features, tough. “I just want to make sure the business is straight on those,” he said.

Beyond rap, Wale — who scored his second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with 2015’s The Album About Nothing – says he is serious about starting his own pro wrestling company. The long-time WWE stan (his favorites include Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio and CM Punk) says, “It’s a great business and I don’t know anybody with my point of view [who] has ever attempted to do it.” 

Additional reporting by Robbie Zayas

Wale Performs at President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Announces Fifth Album ‘Shine’

Wale opened President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address (the first rapper to open an SOTU) for a special performance at the White House viewing party on Tuesday (Jan. 12). The DMV MC ran through a string of his hits including “Chillin’,” “LoveHate Thing” and “White Shoes” according to clips posted on Twitter. 

Performed at the “State of the Union” .. #SOTU.. —- #shine on the universe . HipHop is limitless . Thank You @WhiteHouse @BarackObama— Wale (@Wale) January 13, 2016

.@Wale brings the crowd at the @WhiteHouse to its feet before President Obama’s last #SOTU pic.twitter.com/lwOOiGTq4l— Shayne Wells (@shaynegwells) January 13, 2016

#SOTU @Wale bringing it at The @WhiteHouse pic.twitter.com/MGNBSfe28n— E. Bomani Johnson (@EBomani) January 13, 2016

There were also shots of Folarin snapping selfies with Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill.

Coach we’ll still make it work @CoachJim4UM … pic.twitter.com/UcUNJoTUWJ— Wale (@Wale) January 13, 2016

The Second Lady of the U.S is with Wale!! —— WALE—— pic.twitter.com/uxJm3Ura7S— Maya (@chocolatina0_0) January 13, 2016

Last year, Wale stopped by 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue twice — once in January as part of the guests for Obama’s gun control speech and again in July, teaming with Michelle Obama as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative aimed at encouraging every student in America to complete their education beyond high school.

After his performance, Wale also announced the name of his fifth studio effort, the follow-up to his second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, 2015’s The Album About Nothing. “My name is Wale. My fifth album. Shine. 2016,” he said. 


Wale has tried it all: go-go, pop, bombastic trap, soul samples, braggadocio, introspective soul-bearing. And through it all the DC native has never felt quite at home as he does on his fourth album. With a title that harkens back to the mixtape that helped him catch fire, The Album About Nothing finds Wale at a place of peace. He’s not Zenned out like Rick Rubin; his problems haven’t all fallen away, but instead he seems to have come to grips with the realities of his career. Maybe that’s helped along by his idol Jerry Seinfeld who acts as a sort of polestar for the album. The production here is fresh and urgent, giving Wale’s staid flow more grunt and his melodic choruses more of a lush boost, such as on album standout “The Need to Know” featuring SZA. “Still know what my core needs, so f*ck who ignores me,” he raps on “The Helium Balloon.” Let’s hope Wale holds steady to that epigram. —Damien Scott