It was a Thursday night when Wale heard J. Cole‘s “False Prophets,” a song the Internet widely perceived as a subliminal at the DMV rapper. He was even on the phone with the Fayetteville MC before it happened. “We was talking about babies and being parents and all that,” recalls Wale on Monday’s (May 8) episode of Complex’s Everyday Struggle about the moment he heard the track.
After a night at the club, Wale saw 30 missed calls and text messages about the Cole record, where the lines “I got a homie, he a rapper and he wanna win bad/ He want the fame, the acclaim, the respect that’s been had/ By all the legends, so every time I see him, he stressin’/ Talkin’ ’bout, n—as don’t f— with him, this sh– is depressin’/ And I know he so bitter he can’t see his own blessings” were perceived to be about Wale.
“Of course I’ve been bitter,” admits the Shine rapper, who whipped up a response track within 10 hours called “Groundhog Day,” released it and went to an NCAA game with Cole that same night. “‘Cause I feel like, and still feel like, I don’t get the support from a lot of the media … I’ve got a consistent track record of making hits. I think any artist that’s performed at that rate, some things should be a little bit easier to accomplish. If I’m just coming off of a gold album with a double-platinum single, why can’t I get a good feature in this magazine or that magazine?”
As for the low first-week sales for his recently released fifth album (Shine earned 28,000 equivalent album units, according to Nielsen Music), Wale adds, “I knew projections was low ’cause I always come out with a big radio record.” While the lead single “My P.Y.T.” was getting airplay, certain life changes — including a new management team and a daughter — prevented him from following up with a radio-friendly hit. “And certain things wasn’t looking right, so I had to fall back,” he says.
Watch the full interview below: