I like Wale, but there’s no question he’s had his ups and downs over the years. 100 Miles & Running and The Mixtape About Nothing were pretty great, but his first major-label record, Attention Deficit, came nowhere close to harnessing that clever, creative spirit that had attracted him so much buzz.
Of course, it wasn’t really his fault. Wale had fallen victim to his label forcing a stylistic change in pursuit of commercial appeal, an affliction that also befell Lupe Fiasco, B.O.B., Yelawolf, and so many others.
It took time to temper the disappointment of that first studio album, but signing to Rick Ross’ Maybach Music was a promising start. Returning to his Seinfeld-themed roots on the Festivus tape was another positive step. And with The Album About Nothing dropping today, we can hold out hope that an artist with so much promise is once again pointed in the right direction.
One arena where he’s never lost his way is footwear. His peer Kanye West may be the ultimate influencer not named Michael Jordan, but Wale joined Mike Bibby and Penny himself as the ultimate advocates for the Foamposite. And before you ever heard him on wax, Wale was sharing his views as “ILoveHiphop43” on NikeTalk.com.
Even more than the fact that Wale has a great collection — though, I mean, he does — he’s long been a trendsetter and a positive voice in sneaker culture.
“I respect the culture, but I hate that it’s been bastardized,” Wale told Nice Kicks in 2013.
“The sneaker game has just evolved into something else.”
Wale didn’t make the cut on our list of Instagram sneaker MVPs — hey, 13th Witness had a great year! — but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t rep his hobby in a big way. Having spent some time checking out Wale’s Instagram, here are a few things you can learn from one of the most pre-eminent collectors in the game. This is How to Be the Flyest Sneakerhead in Your Crew, According to Wale’s Instagram.
Follow Bryan on Twitter at @sportsangle
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