Wale. Photo: Jimmy Fontaine.

Wale: "I Look at Myself as a Black Man in America, But as a Nigerian First"

Wale sits down with OkayAfrica for an exclusive interview about his Nigerian roots and potentially leaving the rap game.

Who remembers Wale's "Pretty Girls"? Or what about "World Tour"? How about his feature on Waka Flocka's "No Hands" — one of the greatest club bangers of all-time? Or on the slower side of things, "Lotus Flower Bomb" with Miguel, which went on to win Best Collaboration at the 2012 BET Awards? And let's not forget "Bad" with Tiara Thomas, which gave him the trophy for Best Hip-Hop Song of the Year at the Soul Train Awards a year later.

Without taking into account his more recent releases, Wale is a walking catalog of hits. Having been in the game for over a decade, the Washington D.C. native is no stranger to the industry, continuing to flex his undeniable ear for what's hot and what's not.

With the difficulty that came with pronouncing his government name, Olubowale Victor Akintimehin, he took on Wale as more than just a moniker—it was his brand, his Nigerian roots. With both of his parents coming from the Yoruba ethnic group in southwestern Nigeria, Wale is a direct product of cultural diversity mixed with a heavy influence from the go-go music scene in the DMV.

Fast forward to 2018, Wale celebrates a new deal with Warner Bros. Records and releases two EP's, Self-Promotion and It's Complicated. At 34 years old, the rapper continues to live up to his stature in the mainstream and hip-hop realms alike.

We sat down with Wale for an exclusive interview below.

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