"I'm Tormented": How Wale's Failures Are Driving His Quest for Greatness

Wale is learning it's not always about the end result, it's about the path that is taken.

Hall of Fame football player and head coach Vince Lombardi, for whom the NFL named their championship trophy, once said, "Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." 

Lombardi's advice, issued during his tenure as head coach of the Green Bay Packers, was directed toward his players, but the underlying lesson applies to every human being—athlete, creative or otherwise—under the sun. It's not always about the end result, it's about the path that is taken.

On the latest episode of the Rap Radar podcast, veteran MC Wale joined co-hosts Elliott Wilson and Brian "B.Dot" Miller for a one-hour and 25-minute conversation about life, fatherhood, free agency and more. Although the DC native has released five full-length albums, secured nine RIAA certifications, earned a GRAMMY nomination and sold out hundreds of shows around the worldwide, among countless other achievements, he admitted he's been tormented by his need to achieve further greatness.

"I know that I matter, but I always want more for myself ... that's a gift and a curse. Some people are ok with what they do. I just feel like I'm tormented with that fact that I'm really never ok with it," Wale explained. "That's one of the reasons why I want to teach myself Pro Tools 'cause I'll just be there forever ... I'm very OCD with my stuff, I'm never really satisfied. Maybe failing a couple of times will do that to you."

The failures Wale speaks of include leaving not one but two major labels (Interscope and more recently, Atlantic Records), but the end result of his latest departure is, as he says, the ability to make the best music since his 2007 game-changing single, "Nike Boots."

Wale is currently fielding offers from several major record labels, but until he makes a decision on his future, he says his plan is to go ham on Twitter and continue to release music independently through EMPIRE Distribution, like the stellar four-track EP, It's Complicated.