You’ve heard the expression “the more things change the more they stay the same”, but not in the rap game. Wale Oyejide a.k.a. Science Fiction is the contradiction to how Hip-Hop is being perceived. He infuses and uses sounds from his native Nigeria into his music singing about bringing about a transformation. In a phone interview with Wale Oyejide, we discussed his new project and his views on the state of Hip-Hop. My apologies to Sci-Fi for mispronouncing his given name, but it’s all love just the same.
HHS: Hi Wale. So what have you been up to?
WO: Nothing much. Just hanging out, working as usual.
HHS: Let’s start by talking about how you got your start in music.
WO: I got my start about 2 years ago. It kind of fell in my lap. I wasn’t really trying to do it professionally, just something I did as a hobby like a lot of people. I got out of college and was looking for work I was sending out demos and at the same time, I wound up winning a contest for producers and then it was a kind of chain reaction thing. Then I got the deals and signed as Science Fiction. I put out an album under Science Fiction and now this is my second one, recording as myself as Wale.
HHS: Your newest release is called “One Day, Everything Changed” and it’s due out in August. Let’s talk about the project:
WO: It’s interesting, because it’s like an amalgamation of different styles. Everything is in afro-beats to Hip-Hop to Soul. Being that I was fortunate to travel around a lot, I kind of evolved from a different stance musically and try to infuse that in ways that people haven’t heard or are really familiar with. It’s definitely a Hip-Hop record, but at the same time, you have traces of Jazz and Rock in there, too. I think it’s a very universal, a very world music album that speaks to a lot of different people.
HHS: What’s the first single?
WO: The single is called “There’s A War Going On” and features Jay Dee from Slum Village fame. People might know of him he’s pretty popular right now. It’s pretty much an anthem, a protest war song that’s basically what it is. It speaks about the ills of politics and government right now.
HHS: I’ve listen to the CD a few times and you have so many musical styles going on. Can you describe the vibe that you’re trying to send out with this CD?
WO: I think it’s an album that pretty much speaks on universal messages basically like love and peace is really what I think people need right now. The album is kind of split into two parts. The first part speaks on society and just what’s going on and just has a general outlook. The second half is routed more towards love songs type of vibe. So It’s kind of like you can’t have one without the other.
HHS: So how do you feel about the state of Hip-Hop and where it’s headed right now?
WO: To me, it’s the kind of thing where there’s always gonna be good and bad. If you would have asked me that same question 5 years ago, I would have a similar answer. Commercialization it is what it is. Hip-Hop is big business like many other things so record labels are just trying to make money. Therefore, they put out what they think is gonna be the most financially profitable to them. But unfortunately, that leaves other artists, a lot of other people, standing on the highway. It’s like I have no problem with going to the club and partying and flossing your ice or whatever. The problem becomes when other people who have different things to say don’t get a chance to, because there’s so much of the other stuff. So to me, I think there should be more of a balance. It’s all well and good to have your party/club joints, but you need to have your “It’s A War Going On” type songs as well just because human beings are not one-sided, we’re multi-faceted. Since kids are so easily influenced, they should be able to hear different messages that shred more fallacies about the world around them. There’s more to life than getting tipsy in the club.
HHS: Who are some of the people who inspired you musically?
WO: I listen to a lot of different things. Being that I’m Nigerian, there’s a very obvious Fela Kuti influence especially on the first half of the album a lot of Afro-beats. I listen to a lot of Jazz people like John Coltrane, Miles Davis. I listen to a lot of Rock. Everything really. Hip-Hop obviously people like The Roots, Common Sense, Mos Def, (Talib) Kweli. Really quite a broader view of things and to me, you have to be open-minded to everything and that allows me to be a better artist.
HHS: So are there any plans for upcoming tours?
WO: Oh definitely. I’m leaving for Los Angeles in about 2 weeks and having the album release party there. From there it’s gonna be a few U.S. dates and then gonna do Europe before Thanksgiving. I’m gonna be around, I’ll be on the road.
HHS: What’s your advice on starting and building a music career?
WO: I think the most important thing is to set yourself apart. You have to understand that you have to be creative and original, but at the same time, you have to have an angle. You look at your 50 Cents and your Kanye Wests and they all have a story, because unfortunately this is business as well as art. So you have to basically have your angle what is unique about you. You can’t sound like anybody else. Most people make the mistake oh I love Jay-Z so much that I’m gonna pattern myself to be exactly like Jay-Z. Well that’s wrong, because there’s already a Jay-Z so there’s no reason for a record label to pick you up. You basically have to be you. I think it’s very important to be genuine and honest, because that comes through in your music. If you’re phony or a carbon copy of somebody else, it’s very easy for people to dash you in, it’s just unidentifiable. Basically just be you and obviously stay true to what you are and stay consistent. Don’t give up, because it takes forever to get into this game. There are people 40 and 50 years old trying to put records out. I’ve been fortunate, because I’m so young, but just accept it and be happy with your job and be patient. Just be patient and stick with it.
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