MUSIC

Wale Helps LA Mourn The Loss Of Kobe

Wale’s Wow… That’s Crazy Tour was just what the city needed to deal with the loss of an icon.

When you think about prominent figures in the late 2000s, there are a multitude of significant names in pop culture that come to mind.

For Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant is a name synonymous with the city. And for those in the Hip Hop scene, the Grammy-nominated Wale is one that just has to be mentioned.

Unfortunately, Bryant passed on into the after life this last Sunday, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others in a horrific accident that still has not sunk in.

Just like the rest of the world, many were grieving the loss of the Laker legend. For me personally, I felt that I had lost a part of my family despite ever meeting him.

But when things get hard, it’s how we get up that really matters most. And for many of us, we turn to music as our drug of choice to distract us from the cruel reality.

This week, just three days after that fateful day, Wale made his way to The Fonda Theater in Los Angeles with his Wow… That’s Crazy Tour to help ease that pain. The tour is in support of his most recent album of the same name — Wow… That’s Crazy. In a coincidence, the name of the tour is how many are feeling as well.

And ease that pain is exactly what Wale did for a sold out crowd looking for ways to just to feel normal again.

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And Wale himself was clearly in mourning as well, not only taking to Instagram to post a tribute to the Black Mamba, but even coming out to perform in the WTK color way of the Kobe 8s.

He even said a few things after the first couple of songs to acknowledge the grief and that Kobe had played a significant role in his life as well.

But through the sorrow and hurt, it all did not stop the Maybach Music rapper from doing what he does best: showing his true seasoned talent as a lyricist and performer.

Wale knew that he had to do something special for the city Wednesday night, because it just wasn’t any ordinary time. There were many in the crowd with a hole in their hearts. He had to make sure that LA could get their minds off of such a tragic event with a night that they won’t forget.

And what better way to do that than with the classics hits that’s made Wale a staple in the game over the years.

The entire set reminded me of how nostalgic this man’s track record is. He performed timeless hits like “No Hands,” “Ambition,” “Diced Pinapples,” and “Lotus Flower Bomb.” It truly had me feeling like I was in my teen years.

You can’t have a pit stop in LA without bringing out a local. Specifically, Wale brought out LA native Eric Bellinger for a few tracks to rock the stage. He and Wale have put out a plethora of tracks together, including “Goat 2.0” and the track “Right Here,” which they performed.

But the surprises weren’t over with just Bellinger, as Wale took to Facetime to hit up a very good homie of his, 6LACK to perform their track “Expectation,” sort of similar to how DaBaby had performed through his phone.

But of course, to the crowd’s surprise, as Wale had his phone out as if he was hopping on a Facetime call, 6LACK makes an epic entrance and everybody’s just going crazy at this point.

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And since he was already there in the flesh, 6LACK thought to himself that he might as well put it down one time for LA, performing “PRBLMS.”

To close out the night, Wale tried to keep the trolling up and leave without performing the hit single “On Chill.” Saying goodbye and thanking those in attendance, many in the crowd began calling him out on his bluff, and Wale gave in.

Although the track is in collaboration with Jeremih, Bellinger made his way back on stage to take on the hook, filling in very nicely.

Wale even had a surprise for the football fans in attendance (an extremely random one at that). Heisman Trophy finalist and former Ohio State football player Chase Young came out on stage, as well. The man is simply a beast and is a top 3 projected pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

All in all, Wale reminded us all why he’s been a force in the game for almost 15 years. Not only has Wale transcended the game with his early projects like Shine and The Album About Nothing, but his newest bodies of work have shown his evolution as an artist.

Whether it’s his distinctive flows, amazing lyricism or raw emotions displayed through his live set, the D.C.-based rapper was the perfect cure to the sickness that Kobe’s death has left in the stomachs of many this week.

Follow Wale on Instagram and purchase tickets to the rest of the tour here. Stream Wow… That’s Crazy below.

Contact the writer/photographer Brian Alvarado at brianaustinalvarado@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter/Instagram @visualsnipe.