NOTE: It was a full on party in the venue, so some of the songs were missed in my notes
On Friday, November 10th, the Kennedy Center hosted a debut headlining performance by the Grammy-nominated, multiplatinum hip-hop artist Wale. The DC native took his audience on a musical journey through his career, including celebrating the 10th anniversary of his gold-certified album, The Gifted. The Kennedy Center continued its tradition of showcasing Hip Hop excellence with this event.
When my companion and I arrived at the venue, DJ Money played music from Wale's mixtapes and lesser-known songs from his discography. Although the show was scheduled to start at 8 p.m., it didn't begin until around 9:10. The night's host was Chico Bean, a comedic superstar and fellow native of Washington, D.C.
Chico Bean entertained the audience with jokes about his upbringing in Washington, D.C. He then roasted some audience members before introducing the man of the hour. Wale, dressed in a stylish denim outfit, received a standing ovation when he took the stage. Wale was accompanied by three background singers, a full band, and, to the surprise of many in the audience, violins and cellos.
Wale's charismatic presence and boundless energy commanded attention when he stepped onto the stage to "Ambition," effortlessly engaging the crowd. His passion and enthusiasm set an unforgettable tone for the night. The carefully curated setlist comprised old favorites and new hits, ensuring that fans from all eras of his career were fully immersed in the show.
The songs played at the concert deeply resonated with the crowd, eliciting solid emotions and filling the venue with an electric energy. Wale has found a comfortable niche by collaborating with R&B crooners. Although Miguel and Jeremih were absent at this show, Tre formerly of UCB provided vocals. Some of the highlights of the concert included "Lotus Flower Bomb," "The Way," and an impromptu cover of The System's "Don't Disturb This Groove."
Throughout the performance, Wale's ability to transition between different musical styles was showcased seamlessly, keeping the momentum and captivating the audience. His dynamic performance style was impressive, bringing his songs to life with flawless execution. Wale effortlessly switched between rapid-fire delivery and smooth melodic verses, leaving the audience in awe.
He displayed his craft with precision and skill and engaged with the audience in a way that established a personal connection with the music. Wale even surprised the crowd by inviting Tiara Thomas to join him for a soul-stirring performance of "Badd."
Wale ended the night with a captivating "Sue Me" and an energetic "No Hands" performance. His dedication to his craft was evident, creating an electric atmosphere. With his unique blend of artistry and showmanship, Wale validated that he shows no signs of slowing down.
Final Grade: B+