Rapper Wale is opening up about his battle with depression, confessing he relied on drugs and alcohol to deal with a number of major struggles he's dealt with over the past few years.
The Pretty Girls hitmaker is preparing to release his new record, The Album About Nothing, on Tuesday (31Mar15), but the tracks on the album delve into some of Wale's darkest secrets.
In a candid interview with Billboard, Wale admits he feels a lack of respect by most people in the industry, including fans and critics alike, who aren't hesitant to speak their mind.
He says, "I grew up with the outside world meaning the most to me. This is in hindsight - I'm trying to figure out why I'm this way. I rely on the people's opinions, because I don't have much outside of that.
"I constantly work my a** off and I'm not in these magazines - all I can go by is the people and what they say... So what do you do when you're busting your a** and taking pills to stay up and be able to provide the right energy, and you're not seeing the proper response?...
He adds, "My confidence was shot, so I'd be taking whatever to keep me in a good mood, to get me in the right mood for an interview. I'm not going into the details as to what I was taking, but there's definitely something for that... Or something you can pour in your glass.
"I was depressed not being where I wanna be in my career when I've put the work in. I wasn't sleeping. I was drinking all day and I didn't have anyone to go to. I couldn't fight it. Those are some of the demons I talk about on the album."
While this was going on, he was dealt a few more blows, including his longtime girlfriend's miscarriage and the death of a close friend.
He reveals, "We tried for a long time to have a child. And when she finally did get pregnant, she miscarried at 10 or 11 weeks. I was visualising my child's face. We gave it a name and everything. All of that went away.
"And a couple of months before that, one of my closest friends died in a car accident, a cousin that was there for me through blood, sweat and tears."
In addition, Wale was dropped from Interscope Records in 2010, and he took it hard when his good friend, hip-hop star Rick Ross, was shot in 2013. The combination of those struggles in addition to online criticisms were ultimately what led to his depression and battle with drugs and alcohol.
He says, "So I go through all that and I go online and some white kid is saying, 'You dumb n**ger, you'll never be as good as J. Cole.' You put all that together..."