It wasn't all that long ago that featuring Stefani Germanotta on your single was no guarantee of success at all. In 2012, of course, a pound of butter could top the UK charts so long as it had something to do with Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga. But, in 2009, a cameo from Gaga failed to propel Wale's debut single, 'Chillin', beyond an inglorious No 99 on the US Billboard chart.
It fared better in the UK, where Gaga was already a phenomenon, clocking a respectable No 12. But, for Wale, it was just the beginning and, in retrospect, to have been another of Lady Gaga's many poster boys would have probably been a hindrance to his astonishing rise. Surprisingly, Wale Victor Folarin's most telling collaboration came not with Gaga but with Lily Allen, three years earlier, when Mark Ronson had begun championing Wale. The rapper featured both on Ronson's reworking of Allen's 'Smile', as well as the producer's own hit album, 'Version'.
Solo success soon followed for Wale with his full-length debut, 2009's 'Attention Deficit', reaching No 21 on the US main chart and No 2 on the rap countdown. The follow-up, last year's 'Ambition', was a still bigger success, topping the rap and R&B charts and peaking at No 2 on the main Billboard chart.
Wale is marking the success of the new record with an extensive tour that hits these shores in the spring, with the UK leg of the Ambition Tour kicking off at XOYO in Camden in London on Tuesday 27th March, followed by gigs at the HMV Academy in Birmingham and, finally, the Manchester Academy on 29th March.
We will have tickets available for all gigs when they go on sale at 9am on Friday 13th January, pried £12.50 for London and £11 for Birmingham and Manchester.