Wale gives us a blast from the past on his release of 09 Folarin back in June 2019. This American rapper, was born in Washington, D.C. whose parents are Nigerian immigrants. Wale is someone who connects very strongly with his African roots, and that is obvious in his music. In an interview with OkayAfrica Wale states, “I look at myself as a black man in America, but as a Nigerian first.” A statement like this, one can draw the conclusion that Wale is very proud of his heritage and is very informed by where he came from.
Having grown up in a Nigerian household, he was exposed to Nigerian tradition and culture. In the hip hop scene, it is easy to find an artist fall into the current trends that will inevitably prevent originality and distinction from other hip-hop artists. As for Wale, he defied this and chose a route that aligns with his own identity. Authenticity is pivotal in hip hop, and Wale believes that for him to truly be his authentic self, he must share with his audience the rich African culture that he was brought up by. He has worked closely with other Nigerian artists, such as Davido, to welcome more of Nigerian flavor into his own unique style. In 2016, Wale envisioned the music video for The God Smile to be shot in Nigeria. Moreover, he embraces his Nigerian culture in the clothes that he wears and colorful headwraps.
In the song 09 Folarin Wale raps about his come up as a hip-hop artist. It serves as a recap and memoir to his earlier album Folarin which was released back in 2012. Wale recognizes his growth and drive to be the successful rapper that he is today. Wale is someone who acknowledges his journey which includes continuing his Nigerian lineage.