Mike Wallz on Living “The Free Life”
(Update November 12: Here’s a link to download the new album.)
Though the soon-to-be released album by Mike Wallz, is titled “The Free Life,” this Penn State senior seems to have more time commitments than free-time these days.
Wallz hosts a radio show, Off The Wallz, on The Lion (@TheLION907fm) every Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. An injury is keeping him from the gridiron, but he still assists the Penn State football team in a managerial position while producing music that runs through the speakers of Beaver Stadium. Last week, he opened up for Big Sean at Hoops Madness.
Wallz is also branching off from his hip-hop acts, Primary Elements (@PrimaryElement), to record a solo rap album that showcases a more personal side to the man most of the campus only knows from freestyles, Twitter (@Mike_Wallz), or highlights from past football seasons.
And despite the chaos of Mike Wallz’s schedule, it’s all in a day living The Free Life.
“Whuddup, playas?” asks Mike in his bassy, DMV, dialect.
It’s Tuesday night and Wallz is live from 90.7 fm. After spitting a quick freestyle, Wallz turns over the airwaves to an exclusive interview he nabbed for his show’s intern, Paige O’Donnell (@FrontPaigee), with the Detroit rapper, Big Sean. O’Donnell was also lucky enough to interview Juicy J for Off The Wallz during his Happy Valley visit earlier this month.
Wallz joked with O’Donnell about hiding a tape recorder in her bra to snag the interview.
“I’m always hooking you up,” he said laughing. “We do what we gotta do.”
Wallz also commented on how being on the same regiment of sound checks and performance pressures while opening up for Big Sean felt natural for his crew. His on-air DJ, Kembo Slice (@KemBo_Slice), just so happened to be in command of the one’s-and-two’s. Wallz also performed a the track, “One Team,” which features fellow student-athlete K1D or Penn State Basketball’s small forward, Ross Travis.
He commented on how his crew didn’t feel out of their comfort zone performing with such high-caliber talent as Big Sean. In an earlier interview with us, Wallz said that it was clear this “wasn’t our first rodeo” and having a successful performance only confirmed that his collective’s formula for success was as potent as the stuff the big guys were sipping from their pimp cups.
The old adage, there’s no I in team couldn’t ring more true for Wallz. When discussing his music, Wallz never says “I.” He always says “We.” His big break wasn’t just sharing the stage with hip-hop superstar, Big Sean, but sharing his big break with the people in his life.
His commitment to those around him has roots in the philosophy Wallz lives by. It’s all about recognizing that life is yours and that you have to strive to be the best you can be to help others become the best they can be. The doctrine just so happens to share the title of Wallz’s up-coming album, The Free Life.
And as his way of life mirror the name he ascribed his 1st solo release, the way Wallz explains his music and his ideology at times is indistinguishable. His album plays out like a lecture tour set to the sounds of old school hip-hop beats and up-tempo instrumental by producer and Penn State graduate, Killa Kake. His commentary on his album rings with the tone of a preacher. The artfulness behind his production is topped off by album artwork that was made by a Penn State art major, Kaeley Boyle.
The Free Life as an album is 7 months of self-discovery melted down into conversational and experimental hip-hop that tells a story of who Mike Wallz is. The Free Life as a movement represents all that Mike Wallz is about.
“I want The Free Life to be like on of those small moments in like like a hug or a random hello that changes how people think about the rest of their day,” says Wallz.
When asked about what listeners should take away from the album, Wallz answered — “We’re all born to do great things. You just have to realize it and find a way to make sure that whatever it is that makes you happy, you find a way to use it to lift up those around you.”
Check out the music video for Pretty Green Eyes, the first single released from The Free Life. The album drops November 11th at 11:11 p.m.
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About the Author
The Penn State episode will air Wednesday, October 9 at 10 p.m. and follow the team’s preparation for its Homecoming game against Purdue the previous weekend.
Dvir is a Penn State professor who has made revolutionary documentaries that have played a role in changing today’s world.
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