Wale Acknowledges The Truth In The Shots J. Cole Sent His Way On “False Prophets” (Video)
In December of 2016, J. Cole released “False Prophets (Be Like This),” an aggressive record that was clearly aimed at someone – though he never dropped a name. Following its release, rumors began to swirl that Cole was addressing Wale, at least in a particular passage. “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, ni**as don’t f*ck with him, the sh*t is depressin’ / And I know he so bitter he can’t see his own blessings,” he rapped. In response, Wale released “Groundhog Day,” and he wasn’t afraid to call out the Dreamville founder. “I remember me and Cole would open for Hov / Everyday ‘A Star Is Born,’ I guess I died in the womb,” he said at the time.
Since then, both rappers have released new LPs, and their longtime friendship seems to have weathered the storm. However, their tête-à-tête was the topic on Joe Budden’s mind on the most recent episode of his Complex series, “Everyday Struggle.” Near the 31:00 mark, Wale is asked to reflect on his exchange with J. Cole, which he begins with a brief backstory into the events leading up to the release of “False Prophets.” According to Wale, he and Cole had been on the phone earlier that night, discussing having children and family-related issues. It was a positive conversation, so when he was first alerted to Cole’s apparent diss record, Wale did not even listen. When he did watch Cole’s video in the morning, Wale took it in stride, though he immediately set about crafting a response. But the Shine rapper makes it a point to emphasize that he views Cole as his friend.
It’s at the 34:37 mark that Budden says “so you’re on the phone with your friend the night before, having a conversation about your family, and the next day the record came out. That’s your friend? What the f*ck are you talking about?” His cohost, DJ Akademiks then chimes in, saying “[J. Cole] said you were bitter [on “False Prophets”],” to which Wale responds “yeah, I have been bitter. Of course I’ve been bitter.” It’s then that he references his previous interaction with Complex, a phone call with the outlet in which he was admittedly upset. “You wanna know why I was bitter? ‘Cause I felt like, and I still feel like, I don’t get the support from a lot of the media,” he begins to explain (35:15). After saying that, despite having platinum records and a consistently successful rate of output, he feels he still gets the cold shoulder from outlets purporting to support Rap music, Wale says “I think that any artist that has performed at that rate, some things should be a little bit easier to accomplish.”
Repeatedly referring to a subpar performance in “creating awareness,” which he places at the feet of the media, Wale continues to address J. Cole’s correct accusation that he is, in fact, bitter. “After coming off a gold album with a double-platinum single, why can’t I get a good feature in this magazine or that magazine? It’s just certain artists right now that I be looking at like ‘you got another magazine cover? You ain’t put an album out in five years.'” Several minutes later, near the 38:30 mark, Wale seems to suggest that what keeps his bitterness from overpowering his ambition is his fans, for whom he says his latest album was made. “That’s why I’m so free. That’s why I’m so happy,” he says before explaining that he is having a better reception to performing Shine live than any other LP in his past. “The beautiful thing is, I got fans that keep me together,” Wale explains before again mentioning Cole’s “False Prophets.” “Cole was right. ‘You got fans, n***a, f*ck all that other sh*t.'”