People need to understand that when you make a video, you’re making an image, an image that you want to use to sell your music. – Joy Daily, who possesses a certain flair for the obvious
I thought Wale would be the hipster rapper who beat the odds, not so much in the sense that he would have a successful career, but in the sense that, rather than his career imploding all of a sudden, in a ridonkulous, embarrassing PR clusterfuck, like his fellow XXL Freshman 10 Asher Roth and Charles Hamilton, it would just kinda gradually fade away over time, due to lack of interest. Clearly, I was mistaken.
The other day, I was reading a post on one of these angry black women blogs about John Mayer, and it mentioned a controversy having to do with Wale. I didn’t even realize there was a controversy having to do with Wale, but apparently Wale made the mistake of releasing a video, for the song “Pretty Girls,” without enough dark skinted black women in it. You’ll recall that there was a similar problem last year with Drake’s “Best I Ever Had,” i.e. the best video evar. So I cued up the new Wale video, expecting to spend with it the same kind of quality time I spent with the Drake video, but come to find out there were a few dark skinted chicks in it. There was even a fat chick. I think the issue had less to do with the exclusion of dark skinted black chicks than the fact that he would even include any light skinted women in it. I went over the video a few times, just in case, but I don’t recall seeing any white women. There was one broad who kinda looked like St. Vincent, but she looked like she might be halfrican American. At any rate, angry black women are none too pleased. There’s even talk of a boycott. As if.
Up until this point, the closest there had been to a controversy involving Wale was the fact that he’s not really from the ghetto. He’d given this interview to the Smoking Section in which he talked about how awful an area he was from. My boy Shabooty, who went to high school with him, read it and had to call BS. I consulted the Google re: the high school they went to, and the first thing that came up was a picture of eight to ten white chicks who looked like they’d been sprung from the depths of my subconscious. I wish I’d saved it for posterity, both for the sake of journalism and for… my own personal amusement. I checked just now, and I see it’s been replaced by a picture of the school covered with snow. As if we don’t know DC has been inundated with snow. Maybe they’ll put it back once the weather gets nicer. (I probably shouldn’t email the principal about this, should I?)
To his credit, I think the question they asked him was something along the lines of, “What was the ghetto you’re from like?” Not, “Are you from the ghetto?” or “How was your upbringing?” The Smoking Section is run by liberal, well-meaning white people who assume that all black people – even if they’re African, which isn’t black per se – are born and raised in awful ghettos. How was Wale supposed to respond? If there’s one thing that the failure of Attention Deficit has taught us, it’s that Wale is a people pleaser: he finds out who the lowest common denominator wants him to be, and he tries as best he can to become that.
Which brings us to his current predicament.
Interscope probably would have dropped Wale like a bad habit, after Attention Deficit did Little Brother numbers, if it wasn’t for his ability to follow orders. Those songs he did with Gucci Mane and Lady Gaga just made him look desperate, but who knows? One of these days they might finally trick people into liking him. Lil Wayne was around for like 10 years before hip-hop reached a point where he could be considered one of the best artists. So, the TIs decided to double down on Wale. But this time, instead of focusing on hipsters, who are known for not liking things created specifically for them, they decided to focus on black women. You can probably see where this is headed…
I knew something was up a few weeks ago, when I saw that Wale was writing a relationships column for Necole Bitchie. Obviously, this wasn’t a matter of Wale realizing he was a veritable fount of relationship advice, and deciding to share it with the women who read Necole Bitchie, who I’m sure could use it. As a guy, you pretty much don’t want your name to be mentioned anywhere on Necole Bitchie, let alone to be on staff there. Plus, I’ve heard rumors of Necole Bitchie being contracted by major labels to act as a beard for suspect artists. I wasn’t sure if I should believe it, or if she just happened to be good friends with Trey Songz, but once I saw she’d given a platform to Wale, of all people, it all started making sense. She must be the ones the TIs call when they’ve got a black male artist with an image problem. I’m not hating, mind you. I’m just jealous. I want to be the one the TIs call when they realize it’s easier to get Amanda Bynes a black boyfriend than to keep her on a treadmill. Fuck a Kid Cudi. He’s probably not even straight. No homo.