It was pouring buckets in NYC and Wale fans still wanted to see him shine.
The Shine Tour brought Wale’s fifth album to life and a taste of Chocolate City to the Big Apple. Starz “Power” series actor/musician Rotimi kicked off the tour with some curvaceous dancers and a lot of gusto. His LL-Cool-J stimulated record “Doin’ It” set a sexy tone, as men plotted on their after party with an ample amount of eye candy to select from. As lusty as the venue became Rotimi managed to switch gears and take the time to thank God and Wale for the opportunity to perform, also filled with pride, being a native of the nations’ capital.
However, the hometown love didn’t stop there. Emcee Chaz French jumped on stage with his freshly inked Motown Records contract. His thick beard and jumpsuit brought some bad boy edge to the stage, but he assured the ladies, “This isn’t a romper.” Irving Plaza exploded in laughter. His song “Way Out” proved some lyricism to the tough New York crowd, but “Aquafina” was the clear favorite. In awe of the response he received, he humbly acknowledged, “I remember begging for shows.” Today he is with arguably the biggest hip-hop sensation to come from Washington D.C. Not too shabby, but the concert-goer’s momentum got grander for better-spirited musicianship.
We The Best artist, Kent Jones, received some “major keys” earlier in the year with a platinum record of own, produced by DJ Khaled himself. His latest record “Sit Down” is climbing up the charts, but there were quite a few tracks that made the crowd dance. The Epic Records newcomer has already collaborated with some of the greats, to include, Queen Latifah, Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe and mega-producers Cool & Dre. What many fans didn’t realize, is Kent Jones is a stellar pianist. He played the keys to his most notable record to date, “Don’t Mind.” This was a nice touch before the main event – Wale!
The spotlight hit DJ Money and he began to spinning fan favorites from “Attention Deficit, “Ambition,” “The Gifted” and more, before Wale sprinted from backstage for NYC. “Running Back,” from the rappers’ recent album “Shine,” was Wale Folarin’s shows’ opening track. Fans didn’t miss a single Lil Wayne (featured) lyric, and Wale beamed. The self-proclaimed poet added a bit of nostalgia – songs “Chillin” and “Bait” had New Yorkers DC chillin, and fluently sputtering Wale’s hometown’s twanged vernacular. With his long dreads failing he yelled, “This is a real hip-hop show,” as his security began to block the mob of fans attempting to hop the gate in front of center stage.
The Shine Tour’s opening act Rotimi joined Wale on stage, and belted out the chorus on the song, “Thank God.” A relatable track for those who bypassed bonds they once craved. Still, what was most apparent was the blatant joy Wale felt and unrolled throughout his set. Recently, the artist became a father. He mentioned his overwhelming love for his baby girl and respect for his friend (the mother of his child) several times throughout the show.
But his admiration for past lovers wasn’t always so sweet. The audience growled the lyrics to “The Break Up,” as Wale reaffirmed loudly “Fuck My Ex.” I, too, barked in agreement. The audience amused as ever, got out their feelings as his band’s lead singer, Tre, sang the hooks to the softer and more sexually charged songs. “Diced Pineapples,” “That Way,” “The Matrimony” and “That Body,” transcended the evenings’ vibe. And Folarin returned to the stage for “Lotus Flower Bomb,” yelling, “I got hits!”
But New York’s Latino-heavy crowd was evidently waiting on his latest affectionate track, featuring J Balvin, “Te Llamo,” because they went haywire when Wale changed languages. Even Wale bounced up and down with enthusiasm rapping about his Brooklyn-based Boricua bae – he didn’t miss a Spanish word, and smoothly rolled all his r’s. New York cosigned!
Yet, Wale still wasn’t pleased. He leaped over the security gates and walked through is raging fans. His security could keep the women from reaching for him and Wale was a gentleman about it. He yelled “I’m doing Go-Go shit! I’m headed to the back. Ya’ll been too cool all night. Everybody hands up.” And just like that, many New Yorkers heard Go-Go music from the District of Columbia for the first time. NYC let loose and went on to repeat after Tre, as he instructed them what to sing. His percussionist went crazy and Wale hit a spliff, then jumped on top of his engineers’ booth to witness the mayhem he created. Folarin stayed true to his D.C. roots and let New York City experience his hometown’s culture.
He continued on declaring, “I felt like Ambition was a great album. I felt like Gifted was a great album. I felt like The Album About Nothing was a great album,” he persisted. “I wanted to make an album where I can go on stage every night and fuck with my n*ggas.” Joe Budden suddenly appeared on stage, and professed his respect for Wale, requesting he rap the sunny song, “Fine Girl.” Wale accommodated, making the women wind from left to right. This is a guaranteed summer favorite. But it was only right for him to end off with his radio smash, “PYT,” because every woman wants a man who will “do anything for her.”
He is more than a rapper with catchy gimmick lyrics. Wale is a true artist. Often times the musicians with considerable affluence do not go as far (number-wise) as the artists who keep their music undeveloped or elementary. His un-remorseful showmanship proves his dexterity isn’t for those with thoughtless preferences. Wale is unfazed by critics and underrated alongside today’s Top 40 favorites.