Thursday, February 21
It’s been an odd, but not surprising, couple of days for Wale. The Maybach Music artist has found himself amidst some controversy again due to a public fit. What many don’t know, but seem to be finding out, is that this has become quite the common occurrence.
First, let’s go to the Wizards game at the Verizon Center Tuesday night as they faced the Toronto Raptors. Wale was seen entering the arena in the first quarter to his usual courtside seat. During the second quarter, he was seen saying something to Rudy Gay and appeared to be going back and forth with him as he came up and down the court. No big deal. A little trash-talk from a known Wizards fan on the sideline.
During the third quarter, Wale wasn't seen in his seat, however. Instead, he was seen at the Toronto broadcast booth in the 100 section in the Verizon Center and appeared to be berating the Toronto broadcast team for something.
And then Twitter let loose. Word had spread that the Toronto broadcast team had supposedly referred to Wale after the jawing between him and Gay as a “local D.C. rapper”. They continued to spark their curiosity about his identity and then one of them mentioned that he “…is no Drake, that’s for sure.”
Mr. Folarin must have gotten word about the comments made by the team and decided to take it into his own hands. He is seen and heard in this footage yelling at the team and appearing quite angry before leaving as his sidekick seemed to be pulling him away.
As I headed to the media room post-game to finish my coverage for a local website, Wale was sitting in the media room alone. I asked him what happened. He mentioned that he felt disrespected in his “own house” because of the commentators saying, “Drake was better than me.”
He tried to assure me that his confrontation was not aggressive and seemed to downplay the whole thing, but the video, as well as other accounts from around the section seemed to differ. One thing was agreed on, however, and that was that the jawing back and forth was playful. Wale mentioned that he had initially said something along the lines of “…we need to get you in a Wizards jersey” to Rudy Gay, to which Gay made the “call me” gesture back.
But nonetheless, this incident from Wale is just far from unusual. Ask anyone around D.C. who has ever met or worked with Wale, and they all have their own horror story. I’ve dealt with Mr. Folarin a few times over the past few years. Tuesday night was actually the first time I have ever had a pleasant conversation with him (although he was completely downplaying the situation and underplaying the severity of it).
Let’s go back a few days to All-Star Saturday Night. I was in Houston covering the game for the same website. After the events had finished, I went onto the court to head to the tunnel to finish my work and interviews with the participants. I noticed Wale in a fur coat with his hood up and sunglasses on. He made his way through the same tunnel in front of me. Machine Gun Kelly was standing outside the “VIP Club” within the tunnel. I didn’t hear the exact words, but it appeared as if MGK was just greeting Wale (whom he just recently toured with). I did, however, witness Wale completely blow by him with no acknowledgement. MGK looked a little stunned and kind of looked around as if to say “did that just happen?”
I didn’t stop to question MGK about it, and instead decided to follow Wale down the tunnel. A couple of six or seven-year-olds had a pen and paper ready for the players, but asked Wale for an autograph.
Nothing. He kept on strolling by.
Two very pretty ladies walked past him, and then did an about-face after realizing who it was. “WALE! Hey Wale!” they screamed.
He turned his head around. And without saying a word, turned it back and kept on strolling towards the elevator. I continued to follow. I heard the ladies disgusted, one of them expressing her discontent pretty vocally.
“Ah, hell nah, I ain’t got time for that shit.”
At this point I whip my camera out to see if he’ll give any sort of insight about the game or what he thought about the night’s festivities.
While shaky and a little hard to see due to the lack of light. I asked Wale if he was excited to see hometown native Kevin Durant in the All-Star Game on Sunday night. I got nothing but a dirty look from him and his buddy telling me he wasn’t “…in the mood to talk”
I get it. Everyone has his or her bad days. But for Wale, it seems like every day is a bad day. I have had experiences with him in the past that further drive my point. But I don’t want to go into it, because if you have ever met the man, you have the same type of story.
The hissy fits, the narcissism and the ego. It all comes out in front of you no matter who you are. If he’s in DC, everyone better treat him like royalty because he “made it.” Around other rappers? You better give him preference because he’s “more gifted”. It goes on and on and on….
As much as I dislike the guy, I want to root for him. He’s from the area and arguably the most successful hip-hop artist to come out of the DMV. He reps for his area and does have a plethora of talent.
But that ego. That ego is holding him back.
There’s going to come a day when there’s more people in his fan base who have met him than those who have not; and that is going to be his demise.
They all will see the Wale that so many of us have seen already. This public fit at the Wizards game could serve as a warning for him that there’s going to be a day when the fans and the people from his hometown are simply tired of dealing with and defending his attitude.
I’m not asking him to sign every autograph, take every picture and participate in every interview. In fact, I’m not asking him for anything. I am suggesting however, that he revisit his roots of the days he spent trying to make it big.
The days of thanking the radio stations for playing his songs. The days of working at the DTLR in Prince George’s County. The days of interacting with his peers on NikeTalk, a social network for Nike enthusiasts where he used to post his mixtapes and share his experiences trying to get signed with.
The days of being humble.
an article I wrote about him in college.
But as much as he’s bothered me, I still oddly kind of want to see the guy succeed. I’ve followed him since his early beginnings and demos online, his opening sets at the 9:30 Club and of course, “Dig Dug”.
Wale has a gift in rapping and spoken word. He’s been given an opportunity that many from the DMV would and have died for. He’s someone for the area to latch onto. But with the way things have been going, it just seems as if all this is slowly being squandered away due to the lack of a little humility.