On Everyday Struggle this week, Joe Budden and DJ Akademiks had Wale in the building to talk Shine, but their conversation veered at one point to Wale's relationship with J. Cole. It wasn't out of nowhere, considering that during a Genius event for Shine, Wale spoke about what Cole's "False Prophets" and his own response "Groundhog Day" did for their relationship.
There's something about that class of MCs coming up that's dope to see, and out of all of them, you could argue that Cole and Wale seem to have been some of the closest acts. They did a bunch of collaborating, touring, and just vibing together over the years, which must have made Wale hearing his dirty laundry being aired on "False Prophets" that much harder to understand.
Either way, here's a look at their relationship on wax, in hopes that the next time they link up will involve a new chapter to their long line of collabs.
April 7, 2009 - Just two friends doing some "PYT" karaoke
During a stop in Norfolk, Virginia during Wale's Attention Deficit Tour, we see Cole rock during the show. The real gem of this, though, starts around 5:20 in the below video. Cole, Wale and squad seem to be enjoying themselves, and their night out turns into a group karaoke session, jamming out to Michael Jackson's "PYT." It isn't pretty, but it is dope to see how chill their friendship was.
June 19, 2009 - J. Cole featured on Wale's "Rather Be With You (Vagina Is for Lovers)"
Nov. 10, 2009 - J. Cole is featured on Wale's "Beautiful Bliss"
Taken from Wale's Attention Deficit, "Beautiful Bliss" was J. Cole's first mainstream feature. Many feel that Cole bodied Wale, "Renegade" style, on this one.
Nov. 12, 2010 - J. Cole gets a Wale feature on "You Got It"
Returning the favor a year later, Cole links with Wale for "You Got It," taken from his third mixtape, Friday Night Lights.
July 19, 2011 - Wale and J. Cole link up for "Bad Girls Club"
Wale might've been MMG at this point, but he wasn't leaving his fam behind. For "Bad Girls Club," Wale and Cole put on for the "perfect 10s" that they are seeing in the world. Cole was on hook duties, and contributed a verse to this Wale jam.
July 9, 2013 - Wale and J. Cole go ham over a Jake One track for "Winter Schemes"
For two of the freshest in the game, an instrumental as hard as this Jake One beat was perfect for Cole and Wale to go bananas over. It was perfect promotion, considering they both had albums (Wale's The Gifted and J. Cole's Born Sinner) out around that time.
Sept. 9, 2013 - J. Cole brings Wale on his What Dreams May Come Tour
After "Winter Schemes," it made sense that Cole would call on Wale to go on tour with him, hitting a number of venues during the fall of 2013.
Jan. 26, 2014 - Wale calls on J. Cole to help celebrate the "Black Grammys"
While most people were tuned into the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, Wale was celebrating the Black Grammys alongside Meek Mill, Rockie Fresh, and J. Cole. In the clip you can see Wale and Cole still riding strong.
March 31, 2015 - Cole gets hook duty on Wale's "The Pessimist"
For his The Album About Nothing track "The Pessimist," Wale got deep about the "hopeless" state of black America, with J. Cole providing the perfect hook for this cut. It's truly poignant for today, and shows that Wale and Cole could link up and be conscious when necessary.
Dec. 2, 2016 - J. Cole releases "False Prophets," which includes a verse about Wale
While the world was hype off the track, which was mostly about Kanye West, Cole's second verse was all about his relationship with "a homie" who was "a rapper" that "wanna win bad." Cole broke down how his homie was "stressin', talkin' 'bout, niggas don't fuck with him, this shit is depressin'," with those thoughts turning into "an obsession and keeps a nigga up late."
With the 2015 Wale had (which included beef with his MMG labelmate Meek Mill), it'd make sense that Wale would reach out to his boy Cole, who he had been building with for like six or seven years prior.
Dec. 4, 2016 - Wale responds to "False Prophets" with "Groundhog Day"
At the very least, Wale confirmed that J. Cole was speaking about him via his Jake One-produced "Groundhog Day" freestyle. It wasn't the harshest diss, but Wale was letting stuff that was building up off his chest, including:
Not to cause a situation but what side of my biracial friends call me they nigga?
I'm jih tripping
April 26, 2017 - Wale says his quarrel with J. Cole brought them closer together
During an event with Genius to support Shine, Rob Markman asked Wale about the "False Prophets"/"Groundhog Day" back-and-forth. Instead of pushing them apart, Wale says the mini feud brought them together. "The funny thing about that whole thing is that shit brought me and J. Cole way closer."
Wale, in speaking about where he and Cole are at in their lives right now, says they were in "different places," and that on Shine, he was "trying to bring everybody together and trying to . . . bring my ideas to life, and the ideas that I probably wouldn't normally put on the album, I put on the album because I wanted to this time. I really feel like it's just about letting go."
May 8, 2017 - Wale speaks further on "False Prophets" and "Groundhog Day"
A few weeks later, Wale stopped by Everyday Struggle to speak on what happened with Shine with Joe Budden and DJ Akademiks. During their convo, the subject of his situation with J. Cole came up. He told Joe and Ak that, when he heard about the song, he was already "starting to get on my Wale shit like, 'Oh this nigga trying? Yeah, OK.' I ain't even hear the joint yet, but I'm like, 'Alright yeah." Wale said that he had "Groundhog Day" done about "10 hours" after hearing "False Prophets." It was interesting to note that Wale says they'd had a phone call that must have been about Wale's frustrations with the industry that ended up being turned into the basis for that "False Prophets" verse.
That said, it sounds like these two had to get "False Prophets" and "Groundhog Day" out of their systems to work on the next chapter of their lives, which could hopefully see them collaborating like they used to. Dreamville's own Cedric Brown produced Shine standout "CC White," so we could be that much closer to an official return of Cole and Wale on a track... right?