Wale Essentials: Top 10

gq scout life wale 01In spite of hip-hop’s vocal obsession with recognizing the real and vilifying the fake, it’s often hard to distinguish between the two in most of what gets play on the radio. Transitions from street-hustling stories to bank account boasts don’t always hold up, especially when the artist’s full history is only a Google search away.

Fortunately, Wale has never had a problem telling you exactly who he is and exactly how he feels. And as one of the most active artists on Twitter, he has three million loyal followers who seem to be just fine with that. This week, he dropped The Gifted, his third album and the latest entry into this summer’s hip-hop battle royale. This time around, he hopes to bring some soul back into the rap game: “I’m using the sounds I grew up on: Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, even some ’90s go-go. I even produced a track on this album for the first time.” In the run-up to The Gifted’s release, GQ talked with Wale about the ten indispensable things that help on his daily grind, and make him one to watch (and listen to) all summer long.

#One – Tom Ford Black Orchid
“[Rick] Ross put me onto that joint. I used to switch up my cologne every two to three months, get a new wave—Dolce, Versace, Burberry. But Black Orchid, that joint stayed. That’s the smell of beauty that stays on you… and girls love Tom Ford.”

#Two – iPhone 5
“Ruzzle’s my therapy. When I get off the stage from a packed show and I’m exhausted, I’ll just go Ruzzle for like a good 30 minutes. I play Boi-1da, Victor Cruz, a couple strippers [laughs]. Girls be better at Ruzzle than dudes for some reason. Also I gotta have my voice recorder and my notepad for obvious reasons. On my old phone, you could hear demos from albums that ended up going gold.”

#Three – Jordan IIIs
“Shout out to [Nike designer] Tinker Hatfield. I’ve always been a Nike person. The shoes represent so much more to me. That’s when Jordan became the household name, the icon, the free throw line dunk. He just became that guy. That’s what I aspire to be like right now with my third album.”

#Four – Dwyane Wade Hublot Watch
“I got two Hublots sport joints. It’s not so gaudy. I got the Dwyane Wade edition as a gift, and it’s a really good everyday watch.”

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#Five – Pinky Ring
“My last pinky ring fell off my hand during All-Star Weekend. I was shaking some hands and it fell down some bleachers into a crevice, so completely out of anger, I just went bigger and better on my next one.”

#Six – WRKNG Title Beanies
“This is my everyday beanie. I got a million of these. Watch out.”

#Seven – A Bathing Ape Shorts + Sweats
“I stay comfy in the studio. Gotta have my BAPES.”

#Eight – Stance Socks
“That’s love. They’re family. I don’t even have a favorite, if they make it, I have it. I wear every single pair I got.”

#Nine – 600 Benz
“This that, ‘I-Been-Grindin’-Cause-I’ve-Been-Savin’-For-That-Benz’ flow.”
“Just put Self Made Volume I on. Go listen to it. It’s the car of our dreams.”

#Ten – Massages on the Road
“I always Google to find the best places in the city because it’s so stressful, fast, and loud on the road, you just wanna get your mind in the right place.”

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