With three albums under his belt, Wale is working to solidify his spot as one of the best rappers of this era.  As he performed to a packed crowd on the eve of his highly anticipated album, The Gifted, release, he left fans and peers in awe of his intense vehemence to prove himself, a new legend.

Wale’s fans lined up around the corner of the NYC’s Best Buy Theater last night.  Donned in everything from red “W” snapbacks to MMG sweatshirts, it was evident that Wale had true supporters in town.

Once inside, DJ 5’9” warmed up the crowd with Notorious BIG’s “Get Money” and Trinidad James’, “All Gold Everything.”  Then, just as the crowd grew weary of songs they could listen to on their iPods, DJ 5’9” switched to the intro of “Love Hate Thing”, Wale’s latest single from The Gifted.  Fans screamed as Wale walked out on stage.  In true “New Black Soul” form, the rapper wore a red kufi while he welcomed the crowd with the acapella version of “Legendary”, from his second album, Ambition.

One song later, and every crowd member was a rapper.  Waving their hands in the air in correspondence to the beats blasting from the surround-sound speakers, their passion was just as explosive as Wale’s on-stage persona.  As he performed “Chain Music,” he found himself holding his mic out to the audience while his fans rapped his entire verse.  He stared, turned to the audience and said, “I’m 28 years old and I’m on my third album. It’s all because of y’all man, thank you.”

Wale yelled “Turn the f*@k up!” as he shut the stage down with “Rack City,” “Bait,” “Slight Work” and  “Back To Ballin,” in which he brought out fellow DMV native and newest Roc Nation Sports signee, NBA superstar Kevin Durant. His excited fans had no idea that KD would be first of the many guests that night.  Wale later brought out Ali (Travis Porter), the winner of his $25,000 scholarship contest, and Jadakiss to perform their hit “600 Benz.”  Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night came when Jadakiss invited Styles P and Sheek on stage to perform The Lox bangers such as “I Get High” and “All About the Benjamins.”

His set continued with songs from The Gifted, like “Rotation” “Simple Man” and “Bricks.” Then, it was time for female appreciation, as he reassured his lady-fans that he was still single. MMG’s poet performed “Lotus Flower Bomb,” “Diced Pineapples” and of course, “Bad.”  And just when we thought there were no more guest appearances left, Wale brought out DJ Khaled to introduce his newest single “Clappas.”  Wale and his friends danced on stage and the whole environment transformed into a DC gogo club.  As his popular verse to “No Hands” ended the show, Wale thanked some of his most supportive fans:  “Man, I know who I put my album out for, and the truth is, we all gifted.”—Gia Peppers (@MahoganyPepper)