Gearing up for the release of his fifth studio album titled Shine, Wale is incredibly happy.
The rapper, who’s had a reputation of being outspoken if not brash at times, jumped on a call with ESSENCE to talk about new music, touring and music videos — but his voice immediately perked up when talking about his 8-month-old daughter, Zyla Moon Oluwakemi.
Last July, the Grammy-nominated artist welcomed his first child with partner Chloe Alexis. Since then, he’s shared adorable photos of Zyla and is candid when talking about how awesome she is.
“I’m enamored with her, I’m amazed,” he told ESSENCE. “She said ‘hi’ to me this morning. And my hat goes off to her mother. She’s an amazing mom. I’m blessed to make a child with this woman. And who knows if we’ll always be together, but I love her and I’m never gonna stop. I’m on the road. I’m moving around and making an album, and she holds it down.”
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He even had a tip for new parents, “When I give her a bath, it’s all Motown, New Edition, Michael Jackson and Ralph Tresvant.” Adding, “I play ‘My Secret’ by New Edition for her and she loves it. I recommend that to all parents.”
Naturally, raising a beautiful brown girl comes with teaching her how to navigate the world, and as the headlines have shown recently, there are a lot of men who are outspoken about what women should and shouldn’t do.
“I don’t think a man has the right to tell a woman what to do,” he said. “A man can’t police or question what a woman wants to do. But everyone has an opinion, they’re like a**holes.”
Throughout his career, Wale has always been adamant on highlighting the diverse beauty of Black women through lyrics and videos. In “My PYT,” a track from the new album, that appreciation is evident.
“I’ve been doing that from day one, having different types of complexions in my videos,” he said. “Some people believe that I’m too black. But I just believe what we’ve got is a beautiful thing.”
So what can fans expect on this new album?
“This one was more fun for me. I’m not trying to outshine anyone, I just let go. I’m not talking about anything too serious. I wanted an album that was just good for summertime, good for good weather and being with friends. There’s a lot going on in the world right now and this is my concentrated effort to make life shine, make it glimmer.”
Wale’s fifth studio album SHINE debuts MAY 5.