Baba Folarin is set to drop his sixth studio album, Wow…That’s Crazy, tonight and it was only befitting for him to perform at his home state right before he delivers the album to his day one fans. I’ve seen Wale perform at least 7 times now, and I have to say, last night was one of the best concerts he’s put on. Things were different. The mood, the energy, even the lighting/stage set up, it was different. Wale seems to be in a good space in this album rollout, with the exception of his alleged tracklist and cover art leaking a week early, but that didn’t stop him from giving the fans what they came for.

The crowd was packed and the energy was high. After a medley of classic Wale tracks played by DJ Money, he finally came out and he looked like a man on a mission. If you’ve been to a Wale show, you know there’s a reason why everyone rushes to be in front. He sees everyone. Beyond that, he makes it an effort to not only remember you but call you out and have you rap his lyrics.

After starting with some songs from his old albums, he performed “On Chill” twice, and the crowd knew every word (as they should as it’s the #1 song on Urban Radio). He also, of course, ran through his usual suspect of songs, that he almost has to do in the DMV including “Bait”, his verses on “No Hands” and “That Way”. But then he did something I was not expecting. He performed “Legendary” from the Ambition album, which is one of my all-time favorite songs from him.

At this point in the show, I didn’t know what to expect but I was on my toes. He eventually brought out Friend of the Tribe, Mannywellz, out to perform their collaboration, “Love and Loyalty“. He also divulged that Manny has some other writing credits on another song on his album (Go Manny!). Just when I thought the surprises were over, he brings out Phyno to perform the song they also have together, “N.W.A.” Not a lot of people were familiar with the song, but there was, as always, a small pocket of Nigerians who somehow flocked together during this time to turn up together to see our Igbo brother on stage.

But it didn’t stop there, Wale tells the crowd he was supposed to be off the stage 20 minutes ago but, he introduces his “little cousin”, Teni (he actually prostrated to her). Yes, Teni Makanaki, who was already on stage, starts to perform “Case” and I was hype. Naturally, the rest of the crowd wasn’t too hip but you could overhear some comments from people enjoying the song.

Wale’s true skill lies in crowd participation. Jumping in the audience, turning up with fans, and allowing the ladies to sing their hearts out. His songs allow his fans to have a good time, while also listening to introspective lyrics to leave with. In his discography, there lies more than enough chart-topping hits and even more thought-provoking lyrical content for the conscious listeners. Will his next album provide the same satisfaction as his concert? Find out tonight!

All Photos by Ayo O.

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