"D.C. has influenced a lot of my music. The call and response, the drums, the beats, basically all of my tracks are directly impacted by D.C. It is important to incorporate your hometown in Hip-Hop because it is such a regional sport. I love D.C, man. I was born in Northwest. I moved to Maryland at ten years old and have been moving back and forth ever since. Some of the most influential things for me here have been the shoes and the music, especially Go-Go.
"Shoes have always been a part of my life. I used to work at a sneaker store up in Price George's Plaza. That was kind of when the sneaker culture jumped off in connection to Hip-Hop. Working at the store, I had the inside plug and always got shoes a week early. I even remember skipping school to get the Air Jordan Space Jams. I used to save my money to get the latest sneaks. It has always been a part of the culture out here. This has always been a big shoe city. I think that being a trendsetter with sneakers really helped me with Hip-Hop because people would check out my sneaks and my style.
"With Hip-Hop, I still remember going to certain places to buy mixtapes when I was little. I used to look up to all of those rappers and now I am on their level. It's humbling. I feel like I've come a long way, but still got a long way to go. You know, I'm just a regular dude. I don't want to portray no images like I'm a street dude or nothing like that. I'm far from that. I'm just a guy who wears his feelings on his sleeve and I'm proud of it. I let my music reflect that."
Learn more about Wale and listen to his music here.