4.28.2017

#FBF: The Wale, Drake, & Kid Cudi Collaboration That Never Was

Drake, Kid Cudi, and Wale are among the biggest names in hip-hop. Surprisingly, however, they’ve never worked together, as a trio, on the same song. History might have been different, though, if Folarin — who just released his fifth album SHINE — had his way.

Back in 2009, just days before dropping his debut Attention Deficit, Wale spoke with Rap-Up about why the collaboration never materialized. He vividly recalled a night on tour with Jay Z and Mark Ronson, when Kanye West flew in to preview beats for Hov’s Blueprint 3. Wale remembered liking more than one of those instrumentals, including a beat that ended up being Jigga and J. Cole’s “A Star Is Born.”

At the time, Wale thought that joint would have been perfect as the intro to his debut. “I’m talking to [former Roc Nation business manager] John Meneilly and [Memphis] Bleek like, ‘What are the chances?’ They’re like, ‘Hell nah, dawg. You’re not getting any of these beats.'”

Undeterred, Wale kept listening. Sure enough, there was another beat that piqued his interest. This one featured Kid Cudi on the hook. “It was like, ‘Let the money fall from the sky,’ or something like that,” he remembered. “The horns on that joint were so amazing. I was like, ‘This beat is nuts right here!’ I’m like, ‘Bleek, do you think you could beg him, if I could have that joint?’ I would not let it die.”

Wale’s passion for the beat grew even more after he found out that Jay wasn’t using it for Blueprint 3. “I told Cudi, ‘If you tell Kanye to let me get that joint, we could make the biggest record ever. You on the hook, me, you, and Drake…It could be the biggest song in the country.’ Cudi was like, ‘I don’t know, man.’ Nobody was trying to answer me.”

So Wale took matters into his own hands. Sitting in a hotel room with Jay one morning, he started drinking alcohol from the mini-bar. “He was judging me,” Folarin remembered. “He was like, ‘Drinking alcohol at this time of day?’ But I was just so loose so I didn’t really care what I said around him.” Then, Wale said he broke an awkward silence, stuttering his way through the question.

“So, uh, Jay, uh, ‘Let the Money Fall,'” he began. “Blueprint 3 is probably done now. I love it. You know how I feel about that joint.”

He said Jay just nodded along and admitted that he probably wouldn’t use the track at all. That’s when Wale went for the gold. “You think I could probably get that joint?” he asked. “I can probably throw…” But before Wale could finish the pitch, Hov shot back: “No.”

Laughing, Wale reflected on what could have been. “That would have been the record for us three to be on,” he said. “I already had a plan for it and everything. I was like, ‘This is gonna be bigger than every record ever.’ It just didn’t pan out that way. If he’d said yes, I’d probably have one of the top 10 songs in the country right now.”

Since then, Wale has worked with Drake (“Diced Pineapples”) and Kid Cudi (“Focused,” “Is There Any Love”), but never the two together. He also hasn’t reached the Hot 100 top 10 just yet. His highest-charting single as a lead artist was 2013’s “Bad.”

But that could change with the release of Wale’s fifth album SHINE featuring appearances by Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Major Lazer, WizKid, G-Eazy, J Balvin, and Travis Scott.