Students began to fill a sold-out DPAC at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 12 for SUAB’s spring concert featuring D.C. rapper Wale.
Each attendee received a multi-colored flashing lightstick. Students waved them in anticipation until DJ Artie V began his opening performance at 7:50, which was scheduled to start at 7:30 and to last 30 minutes.
Students jumped and danced along to the DJ’s set, which featured remixes to popular songs as well as mashups of multiple songs. Artie V mixed these songs live on stage with a digital turntable and launchpad connected to a MacBook Pro.
One song that got the crowd moving and waving their lights was his mashup of the vocals from Beyoncé’s “Formation” and the instrumental track of “HUMBLE.” by Kendrick Lamar. The in-your-face piano-driven beat produced by Mike WiLL Made-It fit surprisingly well with Beyoncé’s vocals, especially during the song’s chorus.
Another crowd pleaser was Artie’s trap-flavored remix of “Bad and Boujee” by Migos. The remix of the song was much more aggressive than the original’s minimalistic beat.
One song that caught much of the audience off guard, but nonetheless satisfied them in the end, was a remix of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” by James Carter and Levi. The already-danceable lead single off Sheeran’s latest album was made even more so thanks to the driving synthetic bass and introduction of a more urgent drumline. Once the chorus hit, there was no stopping the audience from jumping along and waving their glowsticks.
The audience didn’t remain this enthusiastic, however. Around 8:30, 40 minutes into Artie V’s set, around half of the crowd had returned to their seats, their lights remaining motionless, while many began to chant, “Wale! Wale! Wale!”
Not long after, Wale’s hypemen arrived. The crowd went wild, but Wale didn’t take the stage just yet. A second – unnamed – DJ got behind the turntables as Artie V said goodbye to his audience.
After a cinematic choral intro, the second DJ transitioned into a remix of “Mask Off” by Future. While the original song has a toned-down beat which prominently samples the slow flute melody from “Prison Song” by Tommy Butler, this remix did away with that in favor of heavy driving synths mimicking the same melody.
“Mask Off” then transitioned into another remix, this time of “iSpy” by Kyle featuring Lil Yachty. By this time, the crowd was once again mostly back on its feet.
Wale finally took the stage at 8:50, over an hour behind schedule. He opened with the song “Fishing” off his 2011 album “Ambition.” Once again the lights in the audience began to wave back and forth uncontrollably.
When the intro of “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” by Steam began, many audience members were confused. But, the diehard Wale fans cheered as it marked the beginning of one of his breakout singles, “Chillin” featuring Lady Gaga. Lyrically, the song is both a moment of braggadocio for Wale and an ode to his hometown of Washington, D.C. While the song shows off Wale’s knack for wordplay, where it really shines is in the instrumentals. The heavy vocal samples from Steam are turned into their own instrument and had the crowd moving more than almost any other song Wale played.
He then transitioned seamlessly into his featured verse from Rick Ross’ “Diced Pineapples,” a much slower and more sensual song than “Fishing” or “Chillin.”
Wale asked the audience if he could play a few songs off his new record “SHiNE.” The response was a resounding “yes” with a few shouts of “We love you Wale!”
With the audience’s permission, he then played two of the singles from the new album – “Running Back” and “Fashion Week.”
“Running Back” displays Wale’s ability to adapt to trends in mainstream rap. Wale embraces the rap sub-genre of so-called “mumble rap” popularized by rappers such as Future and OG Maco. However, the track is still in Wale’s distinct style.
“Fashion Week,” on the other hand, shows off Wale’s vocal chops as he gave a solid performance with much more energy than the studio version of the song.
Before performing the song “The Girls on Drugs” off his 2015 record “The Album About Nothing,” Wale informed DPAC that he “low-key corrupted [his] lungs yesterday,” since it was 4/20. He then reminded students that it’s possible to do well in school and smoke marijuana in moderation.
During “The Girls on Drugs,” Wale walked up and down the aisles in the auditorium as security held concert-goers off of him.
After his 50-minute set, Wale pulled a chair up to the edge of the stage and signed autographs for a large portion of the audience.