Complex caught up with your boy Wale about why f*ck boy bloggers such as myself misinterpret him, and why people don’t like him on the internet. I still don’t understand the appeal of Wale but I see the views his music gets in featured audio section, and numbers don’t lie. People are f*cking with him regardless of what I say. I still think he is very much an invention of the music business (both with his Mark Ronson sponsored Interscope deal, and with his Rick Ross sponsored Warner deal), but so are a lot of artists I like so who am I to hold that against him.
Complex: You previously mentioned that “everybody knows the Wale saga.” When you look back on that now, how do you…
Wale: The irony in that is that everybody knows [the Wale saga], but the people that really know me, know that I’m just misunderstood. I always wanted to be this likable guy, but it’s like no matter what I do, I’m never going to be perceived as that. It’s just not in the cards for me. I’m a little awkward. I stepped off in the middle of the interview—not to be rude—but I just stepped off. I can’t control it. I’ll just leave. I almost want to get up there and holler [at those dudes over there] eating and come back.
I have a bad memory, I don’t remember everybody. I’m not good at that. J. Cole will remember everybody. People love J. Cole because of that. But I’ve gotten such a bad rap like, “Wale has a bad attitude.” It’s not that. I’m just very to myself, I think 24/7, I don’t remember people, but I love the shit out of all these people.
I obsess over the Complex’s, the XXL’s, the RapRadar’s, the 2DopeBoyz. I obsess over their appreciation for what I’m doing because I feel like what I’m doing is great. When people don’t think it’s great, I’m like, “Why? How? We heard the same things?” And I just got the tag as “the guy who complains.” It’s just, I’m very passionate.
The same way I defend my shit, I defend other music that I like in closed circles. And I’m also the dude who might flip out on somebody on Twitter. I’m a real person. That’s one thing you can’t say about Wale, that he’s going to give you a fake Wale. And I feel like one day my music is going to have that impact because I’m so passionate about my fans and about the genre.
It’s just so polarizing when you’re in it. It’s like, “How is niggas looking at us right now? Are we winning?” Sometimes when you’re winning you don’t even get to enjoy it because you didn’t even know you were winning this whole time.
You mention being misunderstood and you talk about learning…
Sometimes I wake up and think the world hates me. I feel like the industry might hate me. But that’s the mentality I grew up in because I’m black. I’ve been trained to believe the world hates niggas. It’s society. Like, being pulled over at church and being 14 years old? It makes you look at the police differently. There were times when I was in the front seat and they told me, “Don’t do nothing,” and they took me out the car, and they pulled the gun out on my man and everything. I’ve seen it all. I’m not bitter to nobody man. If I was bitter I wouldn’t even talk to a lot of them. I wouldn’t be doing no interviews.
Does Wale just want everyone to like him?
I did at one point but now I can’t because I don’t have a super big fan-base of any one type of person. I have a little bit from a lot of different people, black women, OG niggas that like that old Reasonable Doubt shit, hipsters, D-boys, ghetto girls, college girls, college dudes, the college crowd.