With The Album About Nothing, his fourth studio effort, set for release today, Wale spoke with Billboard about a variety of subjects including the lack of respect he feels he receives as an artist, his battle with drugs and depression, as well as the reception he believes TAAN will be met with.

First opening up about the topics he explores on the album that most resonate with his life, Wale says he talks a lot about the trials and tribulations of the music business.

“The music industry,” he says. “You can say I’m sensitive, but music is why I live. Other people have kids or a strong woman in their lives; all I have is my music. I constantly work my ass off and I’m not in these magazines — all I can go by is the people and what they say. People ask, ‘Why do you check social-media comments?’ But what else do I have, bro? I don’t get no major articles. Nobody talks about Wale like that. So what do you do when you’re busting your ass and taking pills to stay up and be able to provide the right energy, and you’re not seeing the proper response?

“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,” Wale adds. “I’m not going into the details as to what I was taking, but there’s definitely something for that. Just like there’s a fuckin’ app for everything, there’s a damn pill for everything. 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.”

Later in the conversation, Wale spoke on whether or not The Album About Nothing will be met with the apt amount of respect and acclaim he believes it deserves. The Maybach Music Group recording artist says he wants his work to receive the same amount of respect as artists such as Kendrick Lamar or Beck as he works just as hard as them.

“I gave this my all,” Wale says. “I’m not trying to whine about being critically acclaimed or getting in the door, but it breaks my heart. Everyone says, ‘Be patient. It’ll happen.’ But all signs are showing, ‘No, it won’t happen.’ I’m okay with people not liking my music but provide an intelligent reason for why you like or don’t like something or you’re a hater or a dick-rider. This is my fourth album. I want some respect. I want to go to a party and not have Katy Perry tell her security to move me out of the fuckin’ way. We do the same thing. I know there’s no union in the music industry, but have some respect. I want people to be like, ‘Your album’s just as good as Kendrick [Lamar]’s or Esperanza Spalding or Beck.’ I work just as hard as them.”

tagged in Billboard, Wale