In an era oversaturated with Myspace and Youtube rappers, a talented upcoming emcee has to be exceptional lyrically, production, and image-wise to stand out. And of course, having a competent machine behind you doesnt hurt. Enter Grand Hustle member B.o.B., and buzz-heavy Interscope signee Wale, who both last weekend (March 27) brought their energetic stage shows to Atlantas Loft venue.
After a seemingly endless 2 hour stream of opening acts, the 20-year old B.o.B. hit the stage. Backed by a raucous drummer and handling his own guitar duties, Grand Hustles youngest star breezed through his catalogue highlights Ill Be In The Sky and the frenetic Haterz Everywhere. A witty, affable showman, Bobby Ray kept the crowd upbeat with his self-deprecating humor and acrobatic stage antics.
The Decatur native also used his set to showcase his various comrades from the Grand Hustle family. Killer Mike set a good tone with selected cuts from his Grind series, but the crowds energy began to wane as numerous lesser known Grand Hustle artists devalued and took up the bulk of B.o.B.s set.
However, all was forgiven when T.I., who was sentenced to a year in prison hours earlier, joined B.o.B. on stage for a surprise performance of On Top Of The World. Showing no signs of exasperation at his recent fate, T.I. held regal court during his brief appearance and was genuinely pleased with his camps performances.
Over 4 hours after the doors opened, D.C.s Wale finally blessed the patient but drained crowd. Still, the go-go rhythms of acclaimed band UCB were irresistible, and the show reached fevered pitches courtesy of Wale tracks Breakdown, Ice Cream, and Dig Dug.
Wale also dished out history lessons, quizzing fans on their knowledge of go-go bands like EU and the Junk Yard Band, and even delivering a smoothed out, go-go rendition of A Tribe Called Quests timeless Electric Relaxation.
UCBs own catalogue was on display, as the band answered the calls from PG County ladies in attendance by performing Sexy Lady, which the uninitiated may recall based on similar rhythms to the Systems 80s hit Dont Disturb This Groove.
Surviving UGK member Bun B was the final surprise appearance in an inspired rendition of Back In T?he Go Go. To end, Wale implored the tired but game crowd to give one last effort for his closing hit Nike Boots. The audience obliged, giving the D.C. native a rousing sendoff as he mingled with fans afterward.
Even without the star power of their veteran peers, B.o.B. and Wale have proven to be capable performers with songs that will always translate well in a live atmosphere.
B.o.B & T.I.
“On Top Of The World”
Wale Featuring Bun B, UCB
“Back In The Go Go”
Wale & UCB