Listen to Wale on iHeartRadio

Washington, D.C.'s own Wale is something of a wordsmith. The rapper, part of Rick Ross' MMG crew, is a talented writer, and his upcoming album - due out June 25 - is aptly titled The Gifted. His latest single, "Bad," features Tiara Thomas, but that doesn't mean his new album will be heavy on features. In fact, he says there "will probably be more of me than you've heard on an album."

Wale stopped by the iHeartRadio studios in New York City recently, where he sat down to answer some questions about everything but the music. Check out OffBEAT with Wale below.

How are you Bad?

I'm not bad. I don't think I'm bad. Actually I think I'm the opposite: I'm a good guy. I like to consider myself a good guy. All men are bad I think, actually, but maybe I'm the lesser of the evils in a way.

Why aren't good girls fun?

It's just an old saying I heard. I think the fun good girls are probably all taken or have kids or something like that. Hard to find. 

How are you Gifted?

I think there’s a gift and there’s a beauty in being able to let the world know that you’re not really trying to conform to what you’re supposed to do in hip hop. Being able to just make this the type of records that I’m making on this new album - they're almost the opposite of traditional hip hop records. I think it’s also the gift of putting words together. The fact that I even focused in on the gift of rap music is a feat in itself, because where I’m from a lot of people have come close, but something else was missing for them to get to the next level, to the level that I got right now. 

Where did Ambition get you?

Well ambition got me in the seat that I’m in as far as being a staple in DC music or a part of history, highly heralded in regards to young hip hop artists. I’m one of the people that they mention now so I can’t complain about that.

How would your life be different if you had pursued sports instead of music?

My knees would be hurting right now, probably a lot more. I saved my body... I think I made the right decision. 

What keeps you going?

The desire to want to be great... the desire to want to be legendary... the love of the game. I love the sport of rap. I love lyrics, I love rapping, I love making songs, I like the finished product of the song. 

What have you learned from Rick Ross?

Business. How to handle myself in the media. He handles himself well in the media; he doesn’t let a lot of things get to him and you know, I learned that from him. I’m still learning, but I’ve made a lot of improvements since I first started.

Tell us a secret.

I was too nervous to speak to Katy Perry at the Grammys... I wanted to say "hello" or something, [but] she was glowing, like floating in the air... it didn't seem like she was really there. It was a weird experience for me and I'm a little bit embarrassed, but whatever. I was close. My mouth was moving and words weren't coming out and then she walked away so... I don't even think she saw me. I was kind of starstruck for a moment. 


Photos by Katherine Tyler