On Wednesday afternoon, Complex received a phone call from Wale. He was upset about the fact that his most recent album, The Gifted, was not included on The 50 Best Albums of 2013 list we posted earlier this week. I took the call, and spoke to him for less than three minutes. In those three minutes (which can be heard in the video above), Wale claimed that staff members at Complex had a personal bias against him, then started shouting and making threats.
“At this point, you know it’s got to be personal," he said. "You telling me it’s not personal. It's like a bold face lie. To be omitted from every type of list that y’all do or be at the bottom of it or every type of way that y’all can omit me, ya will.”
I told him it was not a personal thing. He cut me off.
“You mean to tell me Juicy J album better than mine?” he said, his voice rising. “Is that what you trying to tell me?”
He did not give me a chance to answer. But, yes: I do like Juicy J's album better than the The Gifted. Juicy J's Stay Trippy is one of my favorite albums of the year. And, yes, it very popular around the Complex offices, moreso than Wale's album. Although it just so happens I was one of the voices in the office advocating for including The Gifted in the Top 50. I like The Gifted. I think it's good. But I was outvoted.
When I tried to explain how our lists are formulated, Wale cut me off: "I swear to God I’ll come to that office and start knocking n****s the fuck out," he screamed. I tried to talk to him calmly. "Alright," he said. "I'll see y'all tomorrow. Get the security ready."
Then he hung up on me.
Yesterday, we reached out to Wale's label and invited him to our offices. We talked to Wale's management and tried to set up another interview, one which we hoped might lead to a more constructive dialogue. Our requests were declined.
Contrary to Wale's claims, Complex does not hold any personal bias towards him or any other artist. Wale's album was considered for our list, along with many other albums, but it did not make the cut. Furthermore, Wale has made a number of Complex lists this year. His song "LoveHate Thing" was No. 24 on our list of The Best Songs of 2013 (So Far). We also list his mixtape, The Mixtape About Nothing, No. 20 on our list of The 50 Best Rapper Mixtapes. And finally, earlier this year, we had him on our list of The 20 Best Rappers in Their 20s.
UPDATE 12/13/13 4:04PM: Wale has taken to Instagram to respond to this news story. We're glad to see he has a sense of humor.