I got the chance to sit down with Wave Chapelle, a Milwaukee born-and-bred rapper, to talk all things music, Bucks, and his motivation for doing what he loves.
Like many artists, Wave found an interest in music at an early age. He began by engaging in creative writing “since the fourth grade.” Quickly realizing he had an affinity for writing poems and creative stories, Wave turned his affections into hobbies. Writing, along with Wave’s interest in music, fostered through listening to Jay-Z’s “Blueprint”, eventually led him down a path that would change his life forever.
As Wave’s love for hip-hop and rap grew with age, so did his participation in the Milwaukee rap scene. Wave started freestyling on the Eastside of Milwaukee during his teenage years and even started battle rapping. By doing so, he began making a name for himself. When the city heard of this “diamond in the rough” coming out of Milwaukee, local support started to grow. And fast.
With no big rappers in Milwaukee to look up to at that time, Wave looked elsewhere. His love for Jay-Z, created by his mother, allowed him to stumble upon another up-and-coming rapper, Kanye West. To Wave, Kanye’s emotion and lyrical talent were showcased on his 2004 album “The College Dropout”. And Kanye was doing all of this while being in Chicago, only a couple hours away from Milwaukee. This gave Wave a sort of “homegrown hero” to look up to; which he could not find in the 414.
Fortunately, inspiration did not end there. A lifelong Milwaukee Bucks fan, Wave has used the Bucks as a catalyst for inspiration. He has learned from the organizations constant sense of hope and believes that their performances give the city an identity which transcends beyond the Bradley Center.
Wave, when asked what Bucks player resembles his style of rap, answered, “Definitely Giannis….he’s young but has the competitive edge to be the best, which is how I approach my music; every time I go into the booth, I want to work at it”. And work, he has put in. If you listen to him, his words flow like “The Freak” on a break, and hit hard like his rim shattering dunks.
That same work ethic has allowed Wave build an impressive portfolio of work. His resume consists of 14 singles on Spotify and 4 different albums. It has only been four years. This not only illustrates Wave’s ability to create quality content, but his consistency as an artist. It’s no surprise that Wave has 16,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and 21,000 views on Youtube for his 2016 single “Authentic”.
Having already signed with TMG Epic Records two years ago, he wants to keep “spreading the wave”. Wave released his newest single “New Wave” in early April on Spotify, and as an independent artist, looks to drop a 7 song EP sometime in May. When asked how he feels about the new EP, he answered excitedly, “I have found my signature sound…I’m really rapping on this record”.
It’s finding that signature sound that has allowed Wave to create some lofty goals for himself. In the next few years, Wave wants to go on a worldwide tour to showcase his music, either on his own or with another popular artist and also intends to keep making content, all while constantly striving to “get better as an artist”.
In what has been a tremendously busy 4 years, it could be easy for someone to lose sight of the big picture. But not Wave. When asked about his legacy and how he wants to be remembered as an artist, he said, “I just want to be remembered as authentic; someone who motivated and encouraged people. I just want to live, and through rap put Milwaukee on my back”.
After talking with Wave and hearing what he had to say, it is clear how much that authenticity shines through in everything he does. It’s safe to say that when Wave Chapelle is a household name the rap industry, he will, if nothing else, have made his city proud.
You can follow Wave Chapelle on:
Spotify: Wave Chapelle