A wave came rolling into East Atlanta this weekend from Milwaukee by way of Memphis. Tuning in to the familiar frequency of the Atlanta music scene, Wave Chapelle shared his vision for his new project, “In the Morning”. The video and accompanying single, released in late May, builds up the anticipation of Wave Chapelle’s upcoming project New Wave which is slated to be released later in the summer.
Listening to Wave Chapelle, you immediately pick up on his grind and motivation. New Wave is Wave Chapelle’s second album as an independent artist and is all about a new sound and new vibe which detours from the mainstream current of today’s hip hop. In an oversaturated market, it’s quick for listeners to drown in the steady stream of artists who sound the same. New Wave brings wit, drive, and word play to express Wave Chapelle’s individuality. Fans know to connect with the rapper’s clever set ups. Understanding of this, Wave floats between several platforms, like Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud, all to intentionally engage with his audience.
Embodying the same drive and hunger heard in his music, Wave Chapelle intentionally connects with fans in the everyday. Even shouting out the natural hair movement across the Black community, Wave encourages a freedom of choice and continuously promotes listeners to do what works for them and explore the things which bring out their authenticity and happiness.
Keeping the same energy he has sonically no matter the city, Wave garnished real admiration when he flooded the college and radio circuit with his first project, It’ll All Make Sense Soon. Grabbing the attention of the likes of Rick Ross and Young Gotti, Wave signed with Young Gotti and now continues to sharpen his craft utilizing the skills he’s picked up as an independent artist. While visiting Atlanta, Wave rides for the producers and engineers who played a fundamental role in shaping the New Wave sound. He wakes listeners up with “In the Morning” encouraging them not to sleep on themselves or their dreams.
SheUnplugged (SU): We were just talking about social media. How do you feel each platform allows you to show your authenticity, individuality, and you as an independent artist?
Wave Chapelle: Snapchat is the day to day, lifestyle feel where people really get your personality and see how you are off camera, off tv, and videos to really showcase what you do on a daily basis. I feel like Instagram shows more of an image. It shows what you look like, how you dress, and what you are really into. It’s a good place to drop music too. And then Twitter is more so your thoughts and your thought process. Because you are tweeting, and you can drop videos or pictures, but you really get your thoughts out. Your raw thoughts. Fans can really engage and see “oh, this is how he things. This is really what his opinion is.”
SU: So you wanna talk about the new project coming out this month? The new video is out
Wave Chapelle: Yeah! I have two new singles out. I dropped New Wave first and that’s the title song of the project. The project is called New Wave. And the concept of it is that I hear a lot of people say new wave these days in their raps and stuff like that but really it isn’t a knock or a diss on hip hop right now but I feel like the music is definitely directed in a certain direction. Not that everything sounds the same but similar. They’re using the same template.
My new wave is actually me coming with a new sound. I’m rapping different. My cadences and my flows. Like I am actually paying attention to details on the actual raps almost like a rapper from 2002 but the beats are still up to date and that’s why I call my sound new wave hip hop. Because I am giving you new wave feel but I am still giving you hip hop. So that’s the project. It is dropping this summer. The single off of out right now it is called In the Morning and I just dropped the video to go along with that. It is playing on the radio back in my hometown in Milwaukee. V100 is playing it.
SU: What’s that like?
Wave: Super dope because growing up we never heard someone from Milwaukee on the actual Milwaukee radio you know local talent. And now to be on it is crazy. You know I grew up listening to V1007 going to school and just chilling and now I can hear myself on there and it’s crazy.
SU: So we talked about being authentic and the new project. I think that anyone who listens to your music immediately sees the wordplay. How is that a tool that you use to keeps your individuality and keeps that new wave going?
Wave: It’s a signature style. You know some people’s thing is to be melodic. Some people’s thing is to know how to croon on autotune. My thing is to be witty, have metaphors, and wordplay. It’s an attention grabber. My fans gravitate to it and they know when they hear me, “oh yeah, he’s going to rap. He’s going to drop a bar. He’s going to say something real clever.” I use that and I know that’s what I do. And that’s a testament to being authentic. I get creative and do other things but I don’t stray away from my bread and butter and stay true to me.
SU: Another thing is that is really great is the lyrics are motivational for people who are hungry and trying to make it work, and so now as you are coming in to being an independent artist, how are you sharpening those tools not only with your wordplay but in the business realm too?
Wave Chapelle: Just practice man really. Like I am really into sports, I used to play sports in high school every year. I treat rapping like a sport so if you shoot you got to shoot 1,000 jumpshots to get your jump shots on point so I write everyday. I take at least an hour or two out the day and just write. I don’t necessarily have to have a beat but I just get my thoughts out and jot it down sharpening the blade. And I think that’s how you stay on point and shows a love for the music and for the craft. Even with the business side it’s the same thing staying at it each day. Checking an email. Making sure this is straight. Even if you have a manager checking up on this and that’s how you become a mogul like a Jay-Z or a Diddy. You just got to keep at it.
SU: So when you are in this collab network where you have your lane but how is like connecting with other people who are doing their thing too?
Wave Chapelle: Well, I am a fan of music in general so I rock with all kinds of music but like as far as collabing, I like to collab with artists that I really vibe with. Like if I can get around an artists and we can just chop it up and get a vibe that’s not just about the music, that’s the best because y’all are on the same wavelength, no pun intended. But yeah, I think it’s cool.
SU: How is that different from each city. Cause we talked about Memphis, Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Cali, so how is that different when you’re moving around?
Wave Chapelle: How can I put it? It is definitely different because you have different cultures in different cities but you can definitely find similar qualities in you in other people in other cities. Like Denzel Curry, this is one of the guys I recently ran into. He’s a good artist and he’s out here. But me and him have some similar qualities. We think about the same stuff, we talk about the same stuff, we’re into the same stuff. But he’s from Florida and I’m from Milwaukee. He’s from down South. I’m from the Midwest. So certain people just have the same vibe as you no matter where you go.
SU: Okay then now what about the fans in the different areas? How do you pick up or tune in to them? I know we talked about social media but how do you make that physical and real?
Wave Chapelle: You tap in. You go kick it where the culture is. Like right now you got me in East Atlanta right now. The culture is here so that’s where I’m going to go. Or somebody told me to kick it in Edgewood.
SU: Oh yeah, that was my second choice. It was either here or there.
Wave Chapelle: Exactly! So you know you got to hit the ground and touch the people. I learned that from Curren$y when I did the drive in theatre tour and he really showed me that actually touching the people and being a down to Earth person takes you a long way with fans because they’ll never forget that. Because they’ll be like, “Oh I remember I was chilling with Wave outside of wish and we were just chopping it up about some clothes. I mean that stuff lasts and sticks with people.
SU: Cool! SheUnplugged is a blog for women of color. Is there anything you want that demographic to hear or your fans in general? Do you have any stories where yall were just kicking it? Are you mindful even?
Wave Chapelle: Yeah, I’m definitely conscious and I’m glad that you said that because I have a song called Summertime Fine that’s on my next project, not New Wave, but I have a project called Summertime Fine and there’s a bridge where I say, “she like it better when natural. Hair, body natural. Mind, soul..” So I know with Black women, I always think it’s important to encourage our Black women especially in this day and age to just be them. Be yourself. It’s okay to be yourself. It’s okay to do your thing. Just be you. Whatever it is, be you. A lot of that messaging can be found in my music and I feel like that resonates not just with Black women but with Black culture in general.
SU: For sure! I see the grind and the grit which is something Black women are definitely about. And I see you here with the natural hair, locking up. How long have you been locked?
Wave Chapelle: Oooh, about three or four years! How long have you been locked?
SU: It’ll be two years in September!
Wave Chapelle: Okay! I like yours. Do yours have that curliness to it?
SU: Yeah, I just braided it and then unraveled it.
Wave Chapelle: Ah, I got to get like you. I’m going to try that out.
SU: Oh yeah, we will get you right. Alright so is there anything else that you would like to cap it off with?
Wave Chapelle: Let me shout out my producers real quick. I’m here with my boy really, he’s a super dope producer, dj, engineer. He’s definitely shaped the sound of new wave and projects to come. Shout out to my boy Cold Wave, he’s another dope producer. I just want to look out for my guys because I feel like producers don’t get enough credit in this generation of artists. All we see is the artists because they’re the face but the producers and engineers really shape the sound. And so I just want to shout out my boys. And shoutout Atlanta because Atlanta is super dope. Shoutout Memphis. And Milwaukee, man we’re here repping the city, you know the 414 and look out for New Wave this summer!
You can find Wave Chapelle on Spotify, SoundCloud, and Apple Music. On Ig, he’s @realwavechapelle and on Twitter his handle is @wavechapelle. The song and video is out now for “In the Morning” and the song “New Wave” is out on SoundCloud and Spotify.
Interview by Janeal Fordham @jfjlovebird for SheUnplugged