A lot has changed over the past two years for rapper Wale. After releasing his debut album, “Attention Deficit,” on Allido Records through Interscope in fall 2009. Wale left the label a year and a half later to sign with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group and Warner Bros. Now, he’s gearing up to release his sophomore album, “Ambition,” on Nov. 1.
Wale performed at The Theatre of the Living Arts in front of a sold-out crowd with fellow MMG signee Meek Mill, Pusha T (one-half of Clipse) and Black Cobain, Oct 10.
Black Cobain opened the show with a short set that got the crowd excited for the three big performers that followed. Just 15 minutes later, the show continued with Pusha T and his live band. During his set, he brought out special guests Ab-Liva, a Philly native, and N.O.R.E., much to the surprise and pleasure of the crowd. Pusha T performed many songs off of his debut solo mixtape, “Fear of God,” as well as his two features on Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”
As the drums and keyboards were taken offstage, the energy in the venue began to rise for what would become a Maybach Music Group showcase. Philly’s own Meek Mill began the showcase with a very high-energy set, in which he performed his hit singles “Tupac Back” and “Ima Boss.” Like Pusha T, Meek Mill also had some special guests of his own to bring out during his set. As his DJ began to play “House Party” from his latest mixtape, “Dreamchasers,” Philly native Young Chris came to the stage as he often has when big-time rappers come through the City of Brotherly Love. The two performed their new single with Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson watching on the side of the stage. Meek Mill had the crowd jumping and rapping along with every song that he performed. It was quite shocking to see the reaction of the crowd during his set.
After Meek Mill wrapped up his set, the fans became even more excited because the headliner of the show was getting set to come to the stage. Around 11 p.m., Wale stepped onstage to “600 Benz” from the Maybach Music Group compilation album, “Self Made.” He went on to perform a total of four songs from his debut album, including “Chillin” featuring Lady Gaga, and the last song of his set, “Pretty Girls.” As a throwback, Wale performed “Nike Boots,” one of his hit songs that helped him get to this point of his career.
Halfway through his set, Wale brought Young Chris back out to perform two songs, including “Philly S–t.” During the second half of his set, Wale performed his new single, “Lotus Flower Bomb,” which will be featured on his upcoming album, “Ambition.”
Toward the end of the show, Wale brought his unique go-go sound to Philadelphia with “Bait” from his latest mixtape, “The Eleven One Eleven Theory.” At this point, Wale had everyone in the crowd bouncing with him as Black Cobain joined him onstage for the up-tempo party track. After closing the set with “Pretty Girls,” Wale came back out for an encore in which he performed his verse on “Make It Rain” as well as Waka Flacka’s “No Hands,” where he let the crowd rap the first half of his verse.
From the moment he stepped on the stage, you could tell Wale had complete control of the crowd. He maintained the energy throughout the set and put on a great show for the sold-out crowd at the TLA along with Meek Mill, Pusha T and Black Cobain.