Days before Wale’s The Gifted drops, the Maybach Music rapper contemplates the sources of inspiration for his third solo album.

“This album kind of wrote itself, in a way,” he explained in an interview with The Washington Post. “I just used my inspiration. I would use Marvin Gaye’s music to inspire ‘Love/Hate Thing.‘ I would use Michael Jackson to inspire ‘Tired of Dreaming.‘ I would use Michael Jordan’s career to inspire ‘88.‘”

The Washington, D.C. native, who often engages both fans and critics on Twitter, also discussed the wide range of feedback he receives. “I wake up every morning to ‘I love you, you’re the greatest’ and ‘I hate you and wish you would retire.’ I’m looking for a little reality in there.”

Asked how he would fare if he could cut himself off from the opinion of millions, Wale responded, “I think I’d be one of the most successful rappers alive.”

Some of the most jarring criticisms come from his hometown, Wale explained. “When it comes to, like, finding new acts or things like that, people’s expectations for me are unrealistic sometimes. I’m but a man. They think that I can change the whole universe, sign everybody from D.C., if I don’t put every Go-Go band on every song…it’s just unrealistic expectations.

Watch a portion of an interview below:

Wale’s The Gifted is his third studio album, and his second on Maybach Music Group. The album drops Tuesday (June 25), and features Cee-Lo Green, Meek Mill, Lyfe Jennings, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, 2 Chainz, Jerry Seinfeld, and more.

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