Wale may not be new to the game, but he’s new to the fame. His opening set for Jay-Z last night at Baltimore’s First Mariner Arena proved that Wale is a fast-rising star.
Sure, he was only about 40 miles from his Maryland hometown just outside of Washington, D.C., but the crowd sincerely gave him all of their love and energy.
If you caught his performance at the 2009 BET Hip-Hop Awards, which aired last night for the first out of a million times, you got a taste of the big-band sound and energy that Wale delivers. Multiply that by five and you have his 15-minute opening set in Baltimore.
Wale’s set overshadowed the next act, the Pharrell-led rock/rap/electronica fusion band N.E.R.D. Pharrell was continuously asking the crowd to stand up. Perhaps they were saving their legs for Jay-Z’s set, which nearly everyone stood through. Or maybe they were tired from dancing in the aisles with Wale and his go-go band, UCB.
But it was probably more of a problem with N.E.R.D’s material that doesn’t get any radio play, so you basically need to have the album or frequent the club to know their songs.
Later in the show Jay-Z presented his new artist J. Cole, who only got a polite round of appluase from the audience. But in his short time onstage, delivering a verse from "Every Day a Star is Born," J. Cole proved that his time is definitely coming.
As of today (push backs are a daily occurrence lately), Wale’s highly anticipated debut album "Attention: Deficit" is scheduled to drop November 10.
- Sabrina M. Parker