Big things are happening for Albuquerque-based MC Wake Self. Currently touring through Europe after dropping his latest single, "Change the World" featuring Gift of Gab of the legendary hip-hop duo Blackalicious, Wake took some time out of his busy schedule (and lack of zzz's) to give us the lowdown on his upcoming album Malala.
First off, let's start with "Change the World." What was it like to collaborate with Gift of Gab and how did that come about?
It started when I went on tour with him in 2014. We did a short run of shows in the 4 corners area, and after a show in Durango a fan asked us "when is a Gift of Gab and Wake song dropping?" He looked at me and said we should do that, so I approached about him last year and sent a beat to him. He's a really cool dude, definitely deserving of all the success and praise.
Who else did you work with for Malala?
I usually don't have many rap features on my albums, unless it really fits into my vision for the final product. Mainly I have a few vocalists, musicians and producers involved. I got Def-i on there, that's my best friend we always make music together. The majority of the album is produced by SmokeM2DG. He's extremely gifted with the beats. I really love working with him, I always have these long random descriptive ideas of beats and song concepts I send him, and usually he can bring to life and make sense out them. I may have one more feature that I can't talk about just yet.
When will that album drop?
It drops August 24th, on my moms birthday! [Wake professes he is a momma’s boy]
What kind of themes are you working with in terms of lyrical content in Malala?
I don't want to give away everything, but I feel like I reached pretty deep down the rabbit hole on this one. I discuss youth incarceration, homelessness, environmental issues, and spiritual enlightenment. There's a lot about personal growth; my experiences with depression/anxiety and the human condition. A few more lighthearted songs as well, some songs to try and motivate people to be true to themselves, and be proud of they are no matter what boxes or boundaries they don't fit in.
How has Malala shown your growth as an artist since your last album?
I'm at a better point in my life right where I've found more understanding on how to open myself up to these creative moments. Life is a trip, literally a journey and I'm just expanding in various ways in life that integrate with the advancement of this music. I think sometimes we know things, have ideas and concepts in our head, but it takes a while for the full depth of them to become realized. I'm just thankful every day, every second, and it's really allowed me to climb out of some tough years, be able to see clearly and feel more alive.
STREAM: "Change The World" ft. Gift of Gab here: