While police patrolled outside of Wale’s free show at New York’s famed Highline Ballroom hosted by MySpace last night (November 2), anticipation was thick in the air as people blasted the rapper’s Ambition album, released earlier this week, in their cars. And while others patiently waited in line for the doors to open, crowds swarmed around Wale’s tour bus hoping to catch a glimpse of the Maybach Music Group star.
Inside, Miss Info stepped on stage to hype the crowd up as Funkmaster Flex did a five-borough New York role call on the mic. Twenty minutes after midnight, Maybach’s DMV rapper hit the stage as the lights fell across the stage. Coming out to Rocky’s “Eye of the Tiger”, Wale dropped his first rhyme to “Legendary” off his latest set. He was joined by his MMG brethren, Stalley and of course the Bawse, Rick Ross.
The sneaker head then slid right into the triumphant “Beautiful Bliss” off his Interscope debut, Attention Deficit. “Fuck that, let’s get into some shit,” he bellowed before rocking the crowd to the ambitious anthem, “600 Benz.” The packed house rapped along to every word as the superstar-in-training churned on the mic. Rocking an army fatigue vest with a wool beanie, its clear Wale had the crowd in the palm of his hand. “I got a 100 on the dash young / y’all ain’t killers, ya’ll got hundred yard dash guns,” he rhymed.
“Chain Music” put the crowd in a trance as Ross remained on stage watching his protege put in work. “Chain so big might pop my collar,” chanted the multi-floored crowd in unison.
“I wanna do a song from Eleven One Eleven, is that okay?!,” Wale asked as he segued into “Fuck You”. “Can we smooth it out for the ladies?,” he eventually perused, as Ne-Yo hit the stage singing the melody to the smoothed out, “White Linen.”
Wale ran through his catalog of hits including, “The Break Up,” “Lotus Flower Bomb” — for which he brought out Miguel — “Tats On My Arm,” “Nike Boots,” and more.
Halfway through his set, the PG county MC did a shoe check with the crowd, looking to see who was rocking the latest kicks. “Let’s do this one more time for the fly niggas one time,” he said before transitioning into the self-made cut “Fitted Cap,” to much fan fair as Meek Mill and rumored soon-to-be MMG signee French Montana joined him.
Taking a quick breather, Wale asked French and Meek Mill if they wanted to perform. French stepped up to the plate to hype the crowd with “Choppa Choppa Down,” to loud roars. But the biggest reaction came when the instrumental to “I’m a Boss” dropped and Philly’s Finest took the mic.
To wrap the show, Wale let his hair down and gave Highline some “Bait” with Black Cobain serving as his hype man. But before he could leave the stage he had to “Make It Rain” with “No Hands.” It was clearly and ambitious night for Wale — pun intended — but, no task too big for him. —Amber McKynzie and Ralph Bristout