Wale & Friends

Today's often narrow-minded mainstream rap production is offset by the uncommonly rich instrumentals Washington D.C. rapper Wale (pronounced "Wah-lay") has thus far selected for his records. The sounds on his most recent release, Ambition, were crafted by a handful of emerging stars (Lex Luger, Tha Business) along with a number of as-yet lesser-known talents, who couple a fair helping of live-sounding instrumentation and backing vocals with full-bodied samples that are basically tailor-made for club-spins and live performance. Though his verbiage tends to stall on tired, overblown vanity rolled downhill from the rest of the hoard, the Maybach Music (Rick Ross' label)-signed MC can surprise with thoughtful lines like "This is anti-Mark McGuire/It takes patience for power" ("Legendary"), and just-left-field-enough-to-work brags like "Fuck rap, I get pussy off a haiku" ("Focused"), as his beats jump from Carribean-dipped crunk to a mellower strain of R&B-rap and back again. With Black Cobain, Logics, Luck-One. TODD HAMM

Fri., Nov. 25, 7 p.m., 2011

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