For many fans, their first exposure to Wale was through the DMV rapper’s 2009 Lady Gaga collaboration “Chillin'” but Wale says a sequel may never happen and explained why on Twitter. During another one of his infamous Q&A sessions on the bird app, Wale reminisced on an ill-fated meeting in which he tried to make a connection with a potential famous fan, but missed out on the opportunity. After one of his followers advised him to try to work with Gaga again to raise his profile, Wale explained why such a collaboration was unlikely — at least in the near future.
I rmemeber askin this brother who played for the _______ To check out my album . He looked through me.. that was the piece of humility I needed… so moral of the story .. I don’t know the moral of the story nvm
— Wale (@Wale) April 18, 2020
“Y’all got to understand these fantasy features work two ways,” he explained. “Pop people don’t wanna work wit us unless we sittin in that top 40 or unless it’s a white rapper.”
Y’all got to understand these fantasy features work two ways . Pop people don’t wanna work wit us unless we sittin in that top 40 or unless it’s a white rapper .. prove me wrong https://t.co/aYJh11PCto
— Wale (@Wale) April 18, 2020
While it’s true that pop-rap crossovers have become much more commonplace than they once were (Royce Da 5’9 was villified for working with burgeoning pop star Willa Ford, once upon a time), Wale may have a point. Most of the crossovers that have taken place in recent years often involve a rapper who’s charting highly — think Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, Drake, or Kendrick Lamar — or a pop star who is either still on the rise or experiencing a decline in popularity — remember when Britney Spears employed Iggy Azalea for the failed “Pretty Girls?” Even at the time “Chillin'” came out, Lady Gaga wasn’t yet the massive international star she’s since become, allowing Interscope to A&R that connection between their two most recent acquisitions.
With regard to the other part of Wale’s assertion — look, Eminem had Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, Kehlani, and Pink on Revival and it wasn’t even good.
There’s an obvious reason why these collaborations only ever take place between the highest-charting rappers and their pop counterparts. The only reason for either side to even collaborate outside of their genre is to increase their reach and if you’re going to gamble, wouldn’t you want the highest return on the investment — i.e. a large fanbase of potential listeners? Songs with features tend to be bigger hits, but only if both sides bring something to the table. So, sorry “Chillin'” fans, but you’ll probably have to wait for Wale to climb back into Billboard‘s good graces before Lady Gaga picks up the phone for a second take on their hit collaboration, which is a real shame.
For old times’ sake, press play on the “Chillin'” video above.
Wale is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.