Wale, like many around the world, is still trying to make sense of the violence that has plagued Nigeria and, more specifically, the rash of mass murders making headlines in recent days. For some, the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls was the first introduction the problems there.
"My dad is out there right now, he's in Nigeria -- and I believe it's north Nigeria. My dad is in the country ... part," Wale told MTV News on Monday night during an interview in New York City.
Wale was born in America, but his family hails from Nigeria, where violence has run rampant for years. "It's f--ked up and it's just like, 'Where are you safe at? Where?" he reflected.
It has been estimated that over 2,000 people were killed in a January 3 terrorist attack by Boko Haram on Baga, a fishing town in northeast Nigeria. On Saturday, explosives strapped to a young girl were reportedly detonated in Maiduguri (a city in northeast Nigeria), killing at least 20 people and injuring several others. By Sunday, three more were reported killed and several others were injured in a separate attack.
Since 2009, the Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram has terrorized Nigeria, attacking civilians, churches and bombing government buildings. Last April the group abducted more than 200 schoolgirls, and now those girls are reportedly being used as suicide bombers.
Wale just doesn't understand how anyone could use their religion as defense for murder.
"Something as pure as religion -- which is essentially love, love for mankind and respect and loyalty to your spirit, a loyalty within self, a love within self -- it's so crazy that has been used as a tool to kill, to murder and to have no boundaries," he said, speaking in broad terms, beyond Nigeria's recent attacks. "Killing children, suicide bombings, even 9/11.
"That's the most unfortunate thing. If you can take religion and use that as something to spin and make it hell on earth," the MMG rapper continued, "Hope? For who? For what? This is the only thing we have is our religion, and now you're going to use it to validate killing children?"
The Album About Nothing MC, who mostly uses his music to spread positive and thought-provoking messages, said he tried to escape the images of dead bodies that have been spreading online since the news of the massacres began to spread. The visuals were just too much for him.
"I didn't want to see them, but people kept sending them, people kept posting them," he explained. "It's one of those things where we can complain all we want: 'My feet hurt, my legs hurt, my back hurts, my girl broke up with me' -- you got to look a little deeper into the world. These are minuscule, minor things compared to what's going on in the world."