Concert review: Wale at The Ritz Ybor, Ybor City

Fresh of the release of his debut Maybach Music-backed LP, Ambition, Wale took the stage at The Ritz Sunday night for a brief, energetic performance rife with this new material and a handful of past hits.

Wale's set was concise and to the point; minimal banter between songs, tracks cut to one-verse lengths, perfect for the attention deficit (coincidentally, the name of his first LP)-addled. He's definitely a force, however. I was a little dubious seeing his 20-deep crew lining the back of the stage, but for the most part, they laid off.

And when they didn't, it kinda worked. His hype man bounced around, spit a few end rhymes here and there, but nothing obnoxious, and made it a point to, well, get the crowd hyped. Dude was good.

Then, for songs like "Lotus Flower Bomb," "Pretty Girls" and "Passive Aggress-her" — which feature R&B crooning to break up the verses — Wale had the backing of another crew member (wish they said his name) with some serious pipes. Instead of falling back on a pre-recorded track, Wale's accessory singer belted it out just as good, maybe even better, than some of the recordings.

Wale & aforementioned Co. rifled through a slew of tracks from Ambition ("Chain Music," "Slight Work"), the Eleven One Eleven Mixtape ("Bait") and 2009's Attention Deficit ("Chillin," "90210") with fervency and presence.

The chorus and Wale's spot on Wacka Flocka's "No Hands" wrapped up his brief, hour-long set. Despite the shortness, his Sunday performance worked to affirm Wale as among the more capable of big names in hip hop today.


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