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In 2013, hometown hip-hop star Wale had one of the best years of his career. But the famously temperamental rapper’s peaks (going No. 1 on the charts, working with his idol Jerry Seinfeld) seemed almost as numerous as his nadirs (the infamous Complex phone call). Want to be a Wale fan? Hop on the rollercoaster.
Jan. 18, 2013 Jerry Seinfeld, the comic who inspired Wale’s The Mixtape About Nothing and More About Nothing, discloses that he’s working on a project with the rapper.
Feb. 10, 2013 After his single “Lotus Flower Bomb” is nominated for Best Rap Song, Wale attends the Grammys (and loses to Jay Z and Kanye West’s “Niggas in Paris”).
Feb. 19, 2013 At a Wizards vs. Toronto Raptors game at Verizon Center, Raptors announcer Matt Devlin spots Wale chatting with the Raptors’ Rudy Gay. Admitting complete ignorance of Wale, Devlin says, “He’s not Drake, that’s for sure.” Wale tweets at Devlin, “Watch ur mouth,” and later confronts him in the booth. Wale later tells the Washington Post he was “just introducing” himself.
March 20, 2013 In an interview with MTV’s RapFix, Wale says, “I’ve kissed the babies, I’ve shook the hands, now let’s let the music talk.”
May 20, 2013 On “LoveHate Thing,” the second single from Wale’s forthcoming The Gifted, Wale vents about his hometown’s wavering support as his fame grows.
June 22, 2013 In a Post story, Wale says he has a name for his outbursts: “Wale moments.” A few days later, he releases his third album, The Gifted. One of the record’s salient themes is the price of success. Critical reception is mixed.
July 3, 2013 The Gifted tops the Billboard 200, earning Wale his first No. 1 album.
Oct. 26, 2013 Wale posts his last tweet before vanishing from Twitter for nearly three months.
Dec. 11, 2013 After New York’s Complex magazine (which I write for) excludes The Gifted from its Top 50 albums of the year, Wale calls the magazine and threatens its staff, insisting that they’re biased against him. Complex releases a recording of the phone call two days later. It goes viral, natch.
Dec. 17, 2013 Wale addresses the Complex phone call on a new track, “Walk N’ Live”: “I got a temper, now cry me a river into an ocean.”
Jan. 1, 2014 At his annual New Year’s Day concert at Fillmore Silver Spring, Wale says his “passion” motivated the Complex phone call, and he won’t apologize for that.
Jan. 15, 2014 Wale returns to Twitter with a cryptic message: “Monday.”
Jan. 22, 2014 In an open letter on Tumblr, Wale pledges to brush off his detractors and refocus on his fans. “I went through stages of frustration in my career with publications because of my own selfishness and sense of entitlement…my goal moving forward is to focus less on THEM and more on US.”