There is something beautiful about Wale.
Sure, you can focus on his distinctly African face; it is bold, regal and projecting an image of God that is essentially bottled up in all that is presented by a young Nigerian king, embodied in the swag of his DMV roots. But that is not it. One possibly could focus on his locs, his gear, or his smile. Might not be wrong there either. But what makes Wale beautiful, causing you to stop and exclaim the title of the tour, is how uniquely affirmational to Black women the music curated for this concert is and how such a score is necessary for Hip-Hop to redeem the Black woman from the bowels of current-day rap music.
The Wow… That’s Crazy tour launched on Jan. 15th, the 112th anniversary of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. So what?
Well, since his tour was an ode to Black women, why not start on the day that epitomizes the origins of African-American women uniting in sisterhood to affirm themselves. Of course, his team did not have it at the front of mind when planning the series of concerts but… wow… that’s crazy when you think about the two events lining up side by side. Energetically it makes sense. Wale’s close alignment with the HBCU experience oozes in everything that he does– in every musical morsel of the concert.
The Brooklyn Steel venue was perfect. Sold out, in every inch of the place pulsated with women excited to hear him perform. Over 1,800 people cramped in resembled homecoming at one of his alma maters, Virginia State University or Bowie.
The deejay set the tone of the night.
DJ Money rocked a set appropriate for the County of Kings. Brooklyn was appropriate to be the first stop on the tour. It was filled with folk from all over… well kinda. Most of the people in the audience were women, women of color. With each spin, whether Pop Smoke or Biggie, you saw them shaking their hip and throwing back their heads in ecstatic approval. His best set was his old school R&B set when he mixed 80s, 90s, and early 2000s sing-a-longs, daring you to remember where you were when those joints came out.
It was just the right amount of foreplay over an hour to get the crowd ready for The Source‘s 2006 “Unsigned Hype “Alum to come and rip the stage.
While from the time he stepped on stage the crowd went bonkers, there was a level of freedom that Wale exercised when he dropped a song from his new album, Wow… That’s Crazy, entitled “Debbie.” First… Puff’s voice transcends over the assembly like the Voice of God and says, “Half the n*ggas in the world can’t dance…” and then the beat drops. When the chorus hit all the ladies sang each word to the top of their lungs, but more importantly they internalized the lyrics:
“Dance with me, yeah, it’s so hard to fall in love
I know you need, yeah, a man that can play his part
I need your body to follow
I ain’t gonna be the one that’ll break your heart
God made a goddess, grab my arm and know that I got you, yeah”
If you have never heard this jam, it is one that is simply infectious. Check out Malak Lunsford rocking to this song in this dance video moment:
Keeping with this dance vibe, he dropped his 2016 “My PYT” and performed a rendition so dope that even MJ would have taken note (we saw that moonwalk!).
Another oldie but goodie he included in the set was “That Way” which featured Jeremih and Rick Ross. While almost 10 years old, the song still hits and reminds you why you purchased your ticket to see one of the most underrated rappers in the culture. If that jam didn’t remind you, again the goo goo eyed attendees starring into the stage direction like he was singing directly to them might.
At this point, while we all know that we are at his concert, we realize that Wale is all of our boyfriends. He makes you feel like that. Quite honestly, the concert experience might translate differently to the bruhs in the audience, but there were at least 1500 women in there who expected to leave with a ring by the time he transitioned into “The Matrimony” his 2015 hit song with Usher.
The concert is an ode to women, Black women. Black women who normally will cut you for calling them the “B” word but feel the intended compliment when he performs “Illest B*tch” single, but elevated when he segues into “Black Girl Magic” off his new album.
Over and over “Wow… That’s Crazy” as a tour and album feels like church… feels like Oprah… feels like joy. Song after song… nope… experience after experience… the intentional love that he has for his people, for the content and context of the music and the veneration of Black women was there.
Fans took to social to give their remarks!
On the most sacred day of the AKAs… a day potentially trumped by a crazy president’s impeachment trial… a day when more evidence is coming out about the predator R. Kelly and how he brainwashed and exploited a whole bunch of little girls… a day when at least sevens songs dropped about gang members gangbanging chicks to get them in the set… a day when women are killed senselessly… Wale saves the day- shifting our attention from the obvious hate the world haves for us to one where we can openly love ourselves and know that a real Black man loves us too… nothing crazy about that.