Having only started recording a few years ago, the 25-year-old describes his upbringing in Compton as “fast-paced.” He adds, “It’s an urban area, some people would consider it the slums. A little difficult. It was great though in other ways, a lot of inspiration and talent there.”
When it comes to his sound, Wallie blends melody with pure hip-hop, drawing from personal experiences in his own life. Most recently, Wallie hosted an epic Back To School Weekend event giving out food, haircuts, and school supplies for all the kids in his hometown. Even though he’s in the early stages of his career, Wallie’s already showing his love and genuine care to give back to the community, following in the footsteps of the great Nipsey Hussle.
Newly signed to Capitol Records, Wallie plans to breakthrough from the underground to the mainstream. At the top of this year, he released his standout single “Scandalous,” showcasing his pipes that stem from the church choir growing up. The crazy part is, he only started recording a few years ago.
AllHipHop caught up with Wallie to discuss his biggest influences, how he got his name, recording “Scandalous,” giving back to Compton, and more!
AllHipHop: You started singing in the church choir right?
Wallie the Sensei: That’s something more my grandma used to make me do. Sometimes they would offer me to sing in church, because I didn’t want to. Once I got a little older, I stopped going to church. I didn’t come back to music until a couple years ago.
AllHipHop: Who were you listening to growing up?
Wallie the Sensei: I listened to a lot of 90’s music, R&B. I really listened to Lil Wayne a lot. I liked listening to 50 Cent when I was younger. I wasn’t listening to Jay Z that much, I’m a little younger than the class that listened to him.
AllHipHop: How did you get your name?
Wallie the Sensei: One of my friends at school called me Wallie one day and it stuck. The Sensei part, that’s a double meaning. You can take the definition of a real sensei and break it down into me. I’m patient, who might be able to win every battle. Take it and accept it as a challenge. I did karate when I was younger too, so it made sense.
AllHipHop: Was there a turning point when you realized that you could do music for a living?
Wallie the Sensei: I didn’t see it as a career at first. I saw it as one of my last chances, it was a chance to do something good. I didn’t really see it as a way of living, it just worked out that way.
AllHipHop: What do you mean by doing something good?
Wallie the Sensei: Making an impact for one and staying positive, and keeping myself busy from negative things. My love for music all comes together with that and makes one big purpose.
AllHipHop: Bring us back to when you created “Scandalous.”
Wallie the Sensei: That song’s been taking over the streets. Creating the song was probably a little different than what you think, that was at least a year ago. A night in the studio, we were doing what we do. It turned out good, a lot of good feedback from it. We brought both the other artists in there, we had a nice day. We shot it around my hometown.
AllHipHop: What did it mean to shoot the video in Compton?
Wallie the Sensei: The fact that the video’s being seen by so many people, it feels good for people to see where I come from. The video’s been doing pretty well. Our first time shooting too, we had a lot of fun.
AllHipHop: Talk about doing the Back To School event in Compton, giving out school supplies and food to kids.
Wallie the Sensei: Me personally, I love kids so it felt good to be able to do that and see them smile. I had help from my management. With their force, it was able to come out the right way. I didn’t come from much, so I’m always going to want to give to those who don’t have much.
AllHipHop: How’d you find your way to Capitol Records?
Wallie the Sensei: Oh man, they found their way to me. People, the internet. It’s been a nice journey since we met.
AllHipHop: One thing you want fans to get from the No Love EP?
Wallie the Sensei: I like that question, nobody’s ever asked me that. I want them to be inspired. One of the most lyrical songs on the EP is “Tarzan.” Whatever they’re going to take from the EP, they can take it from there. That song sums up a lot.
AllHipHop: Goals for yourself at this point in your career?
Wallie the Sensei: I want to see how far I can go with music. It was surprising to me at first to see how many people were interested in hearing me sing. How many people I could help, how big of a light I could shine on my section. How much more good stuff can come from where I’ve come from
AllHipHop: What can we look forward to music-wise?
Wallie the Sensei: I’m working on an EP right now, coming soon. Stay tuned for that.