On Friday (December 13), Complex released an audio recording of Wale threatening its staff over exclusion from the publication’s list of the top 50 albums of 2013. In an interview with Hot 97’s Ebro and Peter Rosenberg, the Maybach Music Group-rapper explained that he believes the omission stemmed from a beef he had with Kid Cudi in 2010.
“I’m a bit of conspiracy theorist a little bit,” Wale said. “So, I believe that me and [Kid Cudi’s] fallout had something to do with a lack of support [from Complex].
“Me and Cudi was real cool,” he continued. “I used to live in SoHo and Cudi used to live right up there. We used to do a whole lot of stuff together. We performed when we were nobodies for the Michael Jordan Classic game, and I remember he was like, ‘Yo, I don’t wear Jordans. All I wear is Bapes,’ and we just bonded from that moment on.”
Friction between Wale and Kid Cudi became public after Wale mentioned Kid Cudi in his “Thank You Freestyle.” In an interview with Complex soon after, Cudi refered to Wale as “a simple-ass rapper.” Though the two eventually reconciled, Wale stated that the short lived beef was instigated by Complex and remains the primary reason why his album The Gifted was not included in the publication's year end list.
“It’s another thing about being responsible,” Wale added before providing additional context around the conflict:
“You guys are claiming to be this man’s boy. I know he’s in a certain space right now and it’s almost like they were perpetuating some type of war. At this time, I’m just losing my first record deal, so I’m in an even worse place. I just remember [Complex saying], ‘Oh we don’t rock with you musically,’ and it went viral. And I remember being like, ‘Damn, you’re getting my friend to kick me when I’m down. Y’all are perpetuating it. Y’all are instigating it.’ It hurt on so many levels, mainly because it was someone that I considered a close friend. I just feel like that magazine, which he has five or six covers from, is perpetuating this and making it a thing—more than what it could be. Moving forward, they just kind of had this elitist, like, ‘We don’t like you,’ thing.”
Wale also stated that he’s received phone calls from people throughout the industry who told him that Complex has personal issues with him. He also said that Jay Z called him immediately after his tirade was released and explained that his ego validated Complex’s list.
“That’s the first thing Jay told me,” he said. “You just let your ego do it and now you just made that list important. Everybody brought it to me that day. Jay, Ty-Ty and Q-Tip called me. It’s like when you do something bad in school and you come home from suspension and everybody’s like, ‘Yo, what was you thinking?’”
When Peter Rosenberg offered that Wale should be excited that he was listed in Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse, Wale simply replied, “I don’t think everybody on that list is dope.”
Wale also speaks at length about the emotions felt by being excluded from the list. He apologizes to Juicy J and reinforces his commitment to his fans, as well. Watch the full interview below.