Happy Birthday, Wale. The D.C-bred star turns 33 years old today (Sept. 21).

The Wale and MMG team up wasn't supposed to work. He was a conscientious rapper who got props from the alternative hip-hop crowd instead of a rhymer who fits into MMG's streets to nouveau riche formula. The rapper's first few mixtapes, particularly 100 Miles & Running and The Mixtape About Nothing, posited him as one of the freshest acts to earn a major label contract.

But he didn't reach his potential at Interscope Records, where he was initially signed. His single with Lady Gaga ("Chillin") was a brick and his debut album, Attention Deficit, struggled to push units. Wale subsequently got dropped from Interscope and seemed destined for a career of underachievement.

Rick Ross, then near the height of his career, decided to take a chance on the free agent. Wale lost some alternative credentials by teaming up with a mainstream label like Warner Bros. (Maybach Music Group's initial home) and then Atlantic Records, in addition to reports of his arrogance (he threatened Complex in an infamous phone call for leaving him out of its yearly Best Albums list). However, he finally became a star after "Lotus Flower Bomb" featuring Miguel caught on fire.

Wale's first two MMG albums, Ambition and The Gifted, debuted at No. 1 and 2 on the Billboard charts respectively. He followed with 2015s The Album About Nothing . The rhymer still stands near hip-hop's zeitgeist. He dropped Shine earlier this year.

Watch Wale's Video for "My P.Y.T.":

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