Live Last Night: Wale

waleMaking it in the most opinionated city you can make it in. (By Jahi Chikwendiu/TWP)

Rap fans bummed to see the Jay-Zs, Kaynes and T.I.s leave town after an inaugural bacchanal of historic proportions, fret not. Washington finally has a rap star to call its very own. His name is Wale, and after surfing a formidable wave of blog buzz over the past 18 months, he mailed in his official application for rap's A-list at Bohemian Caverns last night.

Wale kicked his set off with a tweak on Young Jeezy's "My President," relishing the inaugural afterglow and updating fans on his credit score: "My president is black, my credit card is too/ But my credit's [expletive] 'cause of that previous dude!" What followed felt like a breakout performance - sweaty, energetic and brimming with a superstar-ish poise that the local rapper had only previously hinted at.

Much of it had to do with the premiere of two new songs set to appear on his major label debut this spring. "Chillin" found him unfurling an avalanche of syllables over a riveting, bass-heavy track while "Pretty Girls" offered a playful, go-go-inspired call and response routine. (The former was produced by Miami hit machine Cool & Dre; the latter by Best Kept Secret, a local duo whose name is about to become a serious misnomer). Other go-go-centric bangers, including "Ice Cream" and "Back in the Go-Go," sounded positively vibrant and "W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E." had the crowd jumping hard enough to make the floor quake underfoot.

After the lurching, anthemic finale of "Nike Boots," Wale seemed reticent to leave the stage, dishing out hugs and high fives to sweaty new converts. But with Jeezy's "My President" thumping on the PA, he eventually sauntered off stage and into a future that never seemed brighter.

-- CHRIS RICHARDS

By J. Freedom du Lac |  January 21, 2009; 12:19 PM ET Live Last Night
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This article doesn't quite capture the full epic nature of this event. We had over a dozen other amazing acts on stage throughout the night including The Mathematicians, Art of Junk, Team Robespierre, True Womanhood, FFFever, Tig Notaro, Love Language, The Laughing Man, and Team Facelift to name just a few. Thanks to everyone who came, more coverage/photos/etc on Brightest Young Things dot com http://www.brightestyoungthings.com/

Posted by: cale | January 22, 2009 11:12 AM

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