[Editor’s Note: XXL recently caught up with former freshman Wale to discuss crashing Hulkshare and wanting to be friends with Lady Gaga. Here are some outtakes from the interview.]


I got the target on my back for some reason. I put my foot in my mouth sometimes. I’ll be the first to admit it. I’ve made a lot of bad decisions, but my impulsive actions is one of the things that makes my music so good, [makes] my music so relatable because I am the human, I am the young Black man. I’m impulsive, I’m emotional. And the connotation behind emotional is like Carl Thomas boohoo cry emotional, nah. I’m not cry over spilled milk emotional. I’m riding for the cause emotional. And I was thinking, if I just keep doing what I’m doing and keep shutting my mouth then they’ll listen, but I realized, nah. You gotta take the muzzle off and be like, “Look,nigga. What you want?” This is my heart and my soul and I’ma give it to y’all. You know how many people would die to be where I’m at? Well, I’ll kill to stay where I’m at.

At the end of the day, muthafuckas gon' feel what they want. I can respond to all that fuckery on Twitter, but I’m for the people. Ninety-nine percent of the people that write me bullshit [on Twitter] are following me. I could follow them back real quick and then DM them a little bit. "You little bitch ass nigga. Fuck you and your life." Nah, I want people to see what I deal with everyday. The target that I put on my back, on my chest because I ride for the culture. I ain’t gon go for anything no more. A lot of these niggas, there’s no passion. They just wanna make these little songs that you sing, you gon hear it a couple times, and that’s cool. What’s up? Whatever happened to sticking for the people?

I put my passion into this shit. That’s why it’s so easy for me to snap, to react ‘cause it’s all I got. This is my life. This is my art. I don’t got no kids. I don’t have nothing but this and my niggas, the same thing. We threw everything away and put it all on this. I got niggas that could have been overseas playing basketball, niggas that could have been making good money on the streets. We threw it all away for this shit, for little ole me. That’s deep, man. Niggas is 24, 25. They just got their whole life ahead of them and they put it on me. Why wouldn’t I ride for these Black niggas, these college niggas, these women. Who’s doing it for them like that? Who made a song within the past year that can make you probably cry or consider crying?

Maybe I’m not the best technical lyricist. Maybe I’m can’t sing the best or come up with the catchiest melody, but what if I put my heart is this muthafucka and touch your soul, touch your heart moreso than anybody who’s doing it right now. I come from a place with all do respect who’s never had a music star in hip-hop. So the odds is already against me. I came in the game with a chip on my shoulder, an unmovable chip on my shoulder. I got family. I got a mother that I don’t her to work no more. You gon tell me if you was in my position and you put your heart and soul in something and niggas came for it, you ain’t gon react? Nigga, if you ain’t gon react you must got another plan.

This is it. We gon' do this shit for the culture, for the people. For the nigga in college that get up every morning that’s like, “Fuck, man."  Yea, we gon talk about this ambition shit now. For the nigga that’s in the streets, trying to get out the streets, we gon talk that ambition shit. For the girl who got one kid, trying to figure it out, baby father just left, we grew up with them. This for you. For the nigga that works at XXL trying to get to the next stage, who probably work the fucking mail room right now. He on the train every morning, man. "I can’t wait to get in this muthafucka. I can’t wait to get to this next level." For LeBron, man. I’m [26 years old]. I’m one of the greatest athletes that ever fucking lived and all they’re talking about is I ain’t won a ring. This is for you, LeBron. I wake up everyday [at] nine O’Clock in the morning to go to my fucking class and I still got a C minus. This for you my nigga. I know. I was there too.

I wanna be known as one of the best rhymers, dawg. I just got off the phone with Clark Kent. He told me I’m one of the best rappers that he’s ever heard. That’s Clark Kent. He was there. Reasonable Doubt, yea. Young Guru text me. Your “Mass Appeal” freestyle was crazy. These ain’t little 18-year old niggas. These ain’t no niggas doing the dougie, man. These [are] niggas that was around when the shit was going down. This is why I do it, my nigga, for real.