Wale Talks Collaborations With Lady Gaga, TV On The Radio

'It's about breaking the barriers of music,' up-and-coming rapper says of unlikely features.

Up-and-coming MC Wale can already lay claim to the title of Washington, D.C.’s finest (either him or Ben’s Chili Bowl). Now, he’s looking to grab the title of D.C.’s busiest too.

He’s already bagged cameos from [artist id="1208352"]Mark Ronson[/artist], [artist id="1230523"]Kanye West[/artist] and [artist id="2389411"]Lily Allen[/artist] (to name just a few) for his yet-untitled major-label debut, and when MTV News managed to pin him down for a few minutes on the set of his new video — for the song “Chillin’,” which features Lady Gaga on the hook — he spoke about another collaboration that already has the blogs buzzing: a pair of songs he recorded with critically adored Brooklyn rock/ soul/ space-funk outfit [artist id="1236818"]TV on the Radio[/artist].

“I can’t tell you all [the details]. We got some good stuff. You gonna hear,” Wale laughed. “It feels like, if Fela Kuti was around and met Just Blaze and they had a conversation and woke up at 4 a.m., called each other simultaneously and said, ‘Let’s go to the studio, I have an idea.’ One [song] specifically — called ‘Triumph’ — that’s how it sounds.

“It’s about breaking the barriers of music. TV on the Radio is … if you know, you know,” he continued. “It ain’t like they’re highly publicized, Grammy-winning, 10 million-sold rock stars … but this is some freaky, freaked-out music. And I wanted to be one of the first hip-hop acts to really go in-depth and use them.”

And for a guy who draws deeply from D.C.’s culture-melding go-go music, collaborating with acts like TVOTR or [artist id="3061469"]Gaga[/artist] makes perfect sense. And while some in hip-hop have already come around to his way of thinking, Wale still admits that there are plenty out there who just don’t get what he’s doing. And he’s aiming to change that. Gradually, of course.

“There’s still a stubbornness, man. There’s a lot of people who don’t like me, don’t understand. But then again, there’s a lot that do. It’s just gonna take some time,” he said. “We’re not gonna win everybody over right now. And there’s a lot of people who only want to f— with [DJ] Premier beats and the Black Milks — two very dope producers, by the way — but they’re stubborn, you know? They won’t be into a TV on the Radio record. They won’t be into a Gaga feature. They want the boom-bap. But the boom-bap is still here, it’s just evolved a little, you know what I’m saying?”