In the wake of his new album, The Album About Nothing, Wale (real name Olubowale Victor Akintimehin) is having a candid conversation about his success, struggles and not feeling respected. In fact, in a recent interview with Billboard, the 30-year-old DC-bred rapper reveals that he’s done drugs and abused alcohol, while battling depression.
My confidence was shot, so I’d be taking whatever to keep me in a good mood, to get me in the right mood for an interview. I’m not going into the details as to what I was taking, but there’s definitely something for that. Just like there’s a fuckin’ app for everything, there’s a damn pill for everything. Or something you can pour in your glass. I was depressed not being where I wanna be in my career when I’ve put the work in. I wasn’t sleeping. I was drinking all day and I didn’t have anyone to go to. I couldn’t fight it. Those are some of the demons I talk about on the album.
Wale also shares how his then-girlfriend had a miscarriage; not having a fulfilling relationship with his Nigerian parents; and wanting the same respect as Katy Perry. Peep a few excerpts.
Rapping about going through a miscarriage on his song “The Matrimony”:
The girl I was with, we tried for a long time to have a child. And when she finally did [get pregnant], she miscarried at 10 or 11 weeks. I was visualizing my child’s face. We gave it a name and everything. All of that went away. And a couple of months before that, one of my closest friends died in a car accident, a cousin that was there for e through blood, sweat and tears. So I go through all that and I go online and some white kid is saying, “You dumb ni—r, you’ll never be as good as J. Cole.” You put all that together…
Not having a traditional relationship with his Nigerian parents:
All these rappers, they do songs about their mothers. I’m Nigerian — my mother didn’t encourage me to do this. Even when [my first album] Attention Deficit came out and I had kind of made it, most parents would have been like, “My baby did it!” but I don’t have that. My mom didn’t come to my [youth football league] games. I posted a football picture on Instagram the other day. That was my fuckin’ rec’ coach on my [high school] senior night. My mom didn’t come to that. I can’t even explain to my mom what my job entails. She just knows that all of her bills are going to be paid. I didn’t have one-on-ones with my mom or dad. I was in juvenile facilities a lot. My point is that I grew up with the outside world meaning the most to me. This is in hindsight — I’m trying to figure out why I’m this way.
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