“I was in the Hov cypher for a long time, and there was a time that I was on tour with J. Cole and at this point, I was opening for him,” Wale said. “And somebody in my circle was like, ‘You’re losing like 5 grand every time you go on stage. You’re losing money.’ I couldn’t make sense of it. I just really had a meltdown. And I remember, I just quit the tour. It’s been all love since. … I learned a lot from them. And Jay is still my idol.”
Wale confirmed he left Roc Nation in 2014, about five years after inking a management deal with the company, which placed the split between his third and fourth studio albums, The Gifted and The Album About Nothing. Shortly after announcing his decision, he told the Breakfast Club he decided to leave the Roc family because it was going in a different direction by expanding into sports.
“I mean, I don’t really need no help on the music side. It’s like the brand stuff is what I’m on right now—I have a job with the Washington Wizards—brand ambassador,” Wale told the radio show hosts at the time. “It was hard because I was [at Roc Nation] when that joint was S. Dot Enterprises. That joint was brand spanking new. It was hard for me [to leave]. But to me personally they’re going in another direction. They’re sports.”
Elsewhere in the Drink Champs interview, Wale spoke about his first impressions of Young Thug and how he wanted to sign him well before Thugger became an A-list artist.
“I knew what he was going to be,” Wale said, after explaining his introduction to Thug in Atlanta. “Some n***as you just can’t afford. That n***a knew what he was going to do. He already knew [his value]. But one thing I’ve always said about him is he’s really a loyal person. No matter what, he always shows love. That’s why my appreciation for him as a friend and an artist is immense.”
Wale also touched on being excluded from the hip-hop Mount Rushmore memes, why he doesn’t think he’s a good fit for the Verzuz series, his Cole diss, and the creation of his newly released Folarin II album.
You can check out the full Drink Champs interview up top, and watch Wale’s track-by-track breakdown of Folarin II on Hot 97 below.