WALE

 

 


Born: November 21, 1984

The self-proclaimed "Ambassador of Rap for the Capital," Wale (pronounced "wah-lay") was able to transcend his local sensation status and become a national rap contender using go-go-inspired hip-hop as the vehicle for his clever wordplay and music. Olubowale Victor Akintimehin was born in Washington, D.C. in 1984 to Nigerian immigrants who first arrived in America five years prior. Although the family moved to Maryland when the future rapper was ten years of age, Wale was mostly raised in suburban D.C. He attended both Robert Morris College and Virginia State University on football scholarships, eventually transferring a third time to Bowie State. The music bug had already bit him hard, though, and soon he quit college altogether to turn toward a recording career.


Wale got his first airplay circa 2003-2004 with "Rhyme of the Century," thanks to the help of a local radio DJ who believed in his potential. This landed him in the Unsigned Hype column in Source magazine the following year. In 2006, Wale signed with the local start-up imprint Studio 43, owned by a former VP of Roc-A-Fella Records, and enjoyed a string of hits in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area that year. Many of those records sampled from '80s go-go -- a more raw, percussion-driven offshoot of disco originating in D.C. -- like the popular "Dig Dug," a tribute to Ronald "Dig Dug" Dixon of go-go band the Northeast Groovers. Smart use of the Internet and MySpace was also a big factor in his success, as it helped British ?ber-producer and DJ Mark Ronson (known for his work with Amy Winehouse, Christina Aguilera, and Rhymefest) catch wind of the go-go MC in 2007.


Wale struck a production deal with Ronson's own imprint, Allido, and released the 100 Miles and Running mixtape that summer. Despite not being signed to a major label, he was met with a good deal of positive press, ranging from XXL magazine to The New York Times. After a bidding war that included offers from Epic, Atlantic, and Def Jam, Interscope finally grabbed Wale for its roster in early 2008. The full-length Attention Deficit followed the next year.

On February 5, 2011, during Super Bowl XVL festivities he announced his signing to artist Rick Ross, Maybach Music Group. He states that he will still continue to be able to put out the music that he believes in behind the support of Rick Ross. Wale currently since 2009 has been signed to Jay-Z?s Roc Nation for management along with other artists such as J. Cole, Mark Ronson, Melanie Fiona and Rihanna.

Ambition (2011)

May 6, 2011, Wale shared plans with MTV Networks regarding the potential release of two albums in 2011. Later the same month, he confirmed Pre Production efforts for Ambition his second album slated for Fall 2011 release under Maybach and Warner Music Groups. Production for Ambition took place at ZAC Recording, in Atlanta, Georgia with The Board Administration Producer Tone P. Anticipation for Ambition was incited through the release and heavy viral promotion of Mixtape, The Eleven One Eleven Theory done under Wale's label, The Board Administration. The Eleven One Eleven Theory debuted August 17 2011 on Life and Times in honor of Wale's Twitter milestone of reaching one million followers and was purposefully made with the intent to build widespread anticipation for November 1, 2011 the scheduled release date of Ambition. [31] This marketing strategy was the brainchild of The Board Administration CEO Greg Harrison and was executed through savvy social media integration resulting in the first shut down of renowned file sharing site Hulkshare in the first 4 seconds of posting the link. [32] Wale is the first mainstream artist to officially crash Hulkshare. [33]

September 7, 2011 Wale announced plans for a 32-city domestic tour titled The Ambition Tour, which initiated October 2, 2011 in Minneapolis Minnesota and has dates through December 2011.[34] The Board Administration artist Black Cobain is the official opening act for each date and is followed by a rotation of various artists in select markets which include: Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Pusha T, J. Cole, Big Sean, Miguel, and more.[34]

September 28, 2011, Wale revealed Ambition was complete and released single "Lotus Flower Bomb", featuring Miguel on Twitter.[35] September 29, 2011, Funk Master Flex debuted Wale's song "Tats On My Arms", featuring Rick Ross.[36] The next day Wale released the album cover for Ambition.[37] October 14, 2011, Wale released single "Focused", featuring Kid Cudi.[38] The official Ambition track listing includes 15 songs. [39]

The Board Administration launched a robust social media campaign integrating never-seen-before social media strategy and savvy to virally promote Ambition. The promotional campaign included a five-part making of documentary; a Twitter campaign centered on a hashtag blitz?aptly named #Ambition and daily new music and video releases from Wale; and promotional materials for purchase through Warner Music Group and Maybach Music Group such as Ambition wristbands and graphic tees. [40].These efforts were also supported through televised making of episodes through networks such as MTV that hosted Sucker Free Road to Release.[41]

The never-seen-before element of Wale?s Ambition promo blitz included a partnership formed between the current most popular file sharing site Hulkshare and The Board Administration.[40]. Greater than 3 million footsteps frequent Hulkshare daily in pursuit of the hottest new music, and through this collaboration could view banner ads on practically every Hulkshare download page, each rectangular space flanked with Wale?s profile and a clock counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until the album comes out.[42]

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