J. Cole and Wale's What Dreams May Come Tour Kickoff (and a Rick Ross Cameo) in Miami
Photo by Kodak Lens
J. Cole and Wale
What Dreams May Come Tour
James L. Knight Center, Miami
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Better Than: Any evening when Rick Ross doesn't suddenly emerge from the darkness. Which is most nights for us.
J. Cole and Wale are both men who, only a handful of years ago, you wouldn't have recognized in the slightest. But damn, have they been on their hustle. Armed with their own unique and uncompromising styles and a dedication that never stalls, each of these MCs has rocketed through the ranks of fame.
It's a dream come true, but dreams are nothing without nightmares, and their co-headlining What Dreams May Come tour is all about these struggles. Last night, they celebrated the first night of their shared success at the James L. Knight Center in Miami, kicking off with special guest appearances and lots of theatrics.
Both stars do a good job toeing the line between pop sensibility and real street cred, and the crowd, filling the 4,600-capacity theater, seemed locked into that same aesthetic.
By the time Wale took the stage at 8 p.m., the venue was just a couple hundred shy of a packed house. People lingered in beer and chicken wing lines as the first booming chords split the air. But white flashes brought the fans back to their seats and then to their feet, while Wale wasted no time, going straight into his verse off the stripper-love anthem "No Hands."
The rapper paraded back and forth across the stage in an all-white suit, sometimes joined on the stage by a singer or a fellow MC. He kept the energy up through tracks "Slight Work" and "The One Eye Kitten Song." His presentation was simple but flashy with lots of lights and a backdrop border that changed colors to set the mood for every cut. And the D.C. rapper was noticeably riding the hype, leading the crowd in a chant of "Turn the fuck up."
He communed with the crowd, sharing weed with fans and passing the mic to some girls in the front row. He slowed it down, upped the drama, and sang under the spotlight. He let his feelings out on "Ambition" and "Rotation." He teased the ladies, admitting that he wanted to take someone home, saying, "I could meet my future wife."
He slowly built the tempo back up with "Vanity" and "Pretty Girls" before dropping it hard with "Clappers." But no doubt, the highlight of the night came after "Lotus Flower Bomb" when Wale said he'd made a promise to celebrate the first stop on his tour by performing the biggest hit from the Maybach camp, whatever it happened to be.
"The biggest hit in Maybach right now is without a doubt 'FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt,'" he said as the crowd roared to attention. "Let's do it like the fat boy was here."
The dark beat thundered out, and Wale began to dance. Everyone was excited to sing along, but the energy exploded as the fat boy himself wandered out of the darkness and onto the stage. Ricky Rozay set the whole place on fire as he jumped and roared into the mic. Miami was fucking with him, he's totally got it.
They ran through a few more rhymes before Ross said his goodbye.
"This is Miami. This is the 305. This is the home of Maybach Music," he said. "One more time for Wale. This guy is an icon."
Wale finished his set with some old-school jams and satisfied the crowd with a little encore of his "Rack City" remix, then it was about an hour between acts for bathroom breaks, or more beer and chicken, while Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City played over the speakers.
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