I’m sorry that you, as an artist and person, feel disenfranchised, and exploited by the music industry. I write to you from an outsider's perspective, unable to emphasize with you; I can merely sympathize. However, I think I represent the majority of your fans and Hip Hop patrons at large when I say that we’re tired of hearing your incessant, paranoid complaining. It’s endless, and cannibalizes your legitimacy. Wale, I’m a fan—that’s why I care enough to write this letter. As an artist, I think you should care enough to stop the whining, and let your music speak for itself.
Yesterday, you posted an IG photo with the following caption: “Tired . I’m tired . I tried this music industry will take your soul then make you want to leave … niggas don’t respect humble niggas don’t respect intelligence … they’ll ask you for “this or that” and you deliver it they’ll say it never happened .. let me air out some people .. it’ll make headlines .. let me uplift some people it’ll get buried quicker than u can say “leanmollyxan”.. they’ll kill you and then worship you when you gone.” Your befitting social media-loaded rifle is consistent with your historic defensive attack strategy. Your track record’s made you predictable. Regardless of the gripe or slight, you internalize each and every single insult or “lack of recognition,” and use them to fuel your sophomoric tirades.
This past August, Obama released his summer ’16 playlist, and included you on this exclusive selection—a cool, noble distinction, which I know made you proud (rightfully so). But it’s never easy with you, Wale. As soon as a troll tweeted that your placement wasn’t deserved, you retaliated—furiously—and just couldn’t let it go. Your blood boiled; your fists clenched; you felt like Atlas carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, without a supportive friend in sight. I know those are scary waters to tread. I know that when your paranoia concocts these illusions of the world plotting your demise, a fierce hostility erupts to compensate for your insecurity. I’m not attacking you; I’m just saying you’re a human celebrity—you’re going to be a slanderous target, and it's perfectly natural to feel uneasy. But instead of immaturely retaliating, what if you took the reticent high road? Fans, and people in general, would respect you more, and perhaps consequently listen to your music in a laudable light. Silence is one of the loudest fucking sounds in the world, Wale. Use it to your advantage. Like the cute little kid in Jerry Maguire told Cuba Gooding Jr., “you talk too much.”
Your paranoid outbursts aren’t just limited to social media, however. In an October 2015 Breakfast Club interview, you told the cast that gay rappers retain an inherently better chance of besting a straight adversary in Grammy contention. Thankfully, you admitted Frank Ocean’s undeniable talent, but you largely credited his hardware with his sexual orientation, saying, “He got the Grammy joint, everything … People look at it like you a hero, you a pioneer.” Coming off the heels of your earlier statement, “In the next three years there’s probably gonna be a dude who’s not even gay that’s just like ‘Man, this is my last resort.’ Wale, you sound so small and bitter—basically, you sound like a bitch. You constantly make excuses and assign blame to others when it should be directed inwardly. I guess Kanye and Kendrick’s combined 28-Grammy’s make them gay too, right?
Even your friends are tired of your tantrums! Prior to 4 Your Eyez Only, J. Cole released “False Prophets,” calling out a few hubristic rappers, making not-so-subtle claims at you. Cole perfectly embodied your self-saboteur shortcomings, saying that you’re too bitter and too depressed to realized that you do in fact have a following; you have the platform to make your classic rap song. When are you going to wake up and realize that? When are you going to realize that you, J. Cole, and Kendrick Lamar are all cut from the same lyrically inclined cloth? When are you going to realize that they don’t complain or go off on social media? Instead, they write generational, groundbreaking music, letting their art dictate their frustrations—something you have the potential to do as well.
Your most recent music industry IG aspersion is especially frustrating. You’ve obviously never minced words when feeling under appreciated—we all remember the ’13 Complex Top 50 album list debacle. But instead of doing anything about it, you simply fester in anger, and isolate yourself from any sort of connection or understanding. It’s always the world against Wale; the music industry is out to get Wale; the fans just don’t get Wale. It’s never you, right? What do Kendrick and Cole have in common? They’ve secured supportive, nurturing situations for themselves. They didn’t sit in bad deals with uncaring execs. They either started their own movement, or ensured a place with prosperity.
Wale, they way I see it, you’ve got two options: start a DMV-based label; finish out your Atlantic contract and then take time off to find yourself and/or a fitting label situation. While you figure out your musical path—which I completely understand is an introspective, time-intensive journey—please stop airing out your dirty laundry publicly. It’s unbecoming and juvenile.
I want you to succeed—honestly. As I said earlier, I wouldn’t write this letter if I didn’t. I’m looking forward to S.H.I.N.E.’s drop, and wish you the best of luck with the release. You’ve got a deep fanbase Wale—never forget that; never forget us.
All the best,