New Year, Old Gripes

Wednesday night, Wale continued his tradition of opening the new year with a performance, headlining Fillmore Silver Spring once again. Anyone who figured he was going to leave his little issue with Complex magazine back in 2013 doesn’t know Wale.

Declaring himself a victim of the crabs-in-a-barrel mentality that plagues hip-hop, he again refused to apologize for his outburst and accused Complex (disclosure: I write for the magazine)—-and any other publication that didn’t properly commend The Gifted—-of discrediting his accomplishments. How long can he run with this motif of “haters” trying to sabotage his success? Keep it going long enough, and his gripes will begin to define his career.

Wale has always been a fan’s artist, so if he can’t ignore the bullshit for his own peace of mind, he should do it for his still-loyal followers, at least—-and refocus on making music worth the year-end lists.

Oh, right, about music: The hometown rapper also popped up recently on a remix of Young Thug‘s weed anthem, “Stoner,” Scandal reference and all: “Rolex official, and it’s presidential/And the bitches love it like Olivia Pope.” —-Julian Kimble

Steph Castro

Well past a decade since his last big film, Bill Bellamy is still one of hip-hop’s most celebrated stand-ups. The comedian has been name-checked on records by everyone from Sean Price to Chance the Rapper, and was even the subject of celebrity meme-ification on Lil B‘s 2011 mixtape, Bitch Mob: Respect Da Bitch Vol. 1. Maryland rapper Steph Castro carries on the tradition with “Bill Bellamy,” a pimpish earworm that takes cues from Bellamy’s seminal role in the redheaded stepchild of black romantic comedies, How To Be A Player. —-Harold Stallworth