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Wale chooses whaletail over showmanship

By Bryan Menegus, Staff Writer

Despite the previous rescheduling due to inclement weather, the Wale (pronounced WAH-LAY) show took place Sunday as planned, beginning with a dance routine from Imani. They delivered a frenetic performance on the floor of Hofstra USA over a medley of various hip-hop hits, rearranging themselves into different formations between song segments.

The stage show proper began with solo rap act Mike Petrow, whose rhymes were nearly as thin as his frame. At one point he compared himself to yeast, as evidenced by his desire to ‘rise.' Petro frequently took time between verses to encourage audience participation, but the repetitive break in momentum was met with lukewarm reception. His four songs focused mainly on positive things, like finding nice girls to date and helping yourself, seemingly making Petrow the first artist to bridge the gap between hip-hop and motivational speaking.

Mounting the stage after Petrow's set was C4, who had seemingly grown from a movement into an army. Their normal cast of characters was bolstered by "The Crack Peddlers," a group of four musicians (Mike Ceglio- guitar, Marc Butcavage- drums, Adam Jacobson- bass, Jesse Shusman- keyboards) who supplied live music for the Movement on several songs. As well, Erin Willet and Hofstra rapper Pat Childers (Lieutenant Headtrip) made guest appearances.

C4's set was a game of middle grounds. Their sound was somewhere between modern, hard-hitting hip-hop, and the group thought collaboration of old crews like A Tribe Called Quest. They easily transitioned between rap and soulful croons, and they were equally comfortable performing over computerized beats or live musicians. It was a balancing act that they showed a remarkable mastery of. Following C4's stellar set was supposed to be Wale, but instead concert-goers were "treated" to a mash-up set by the headliner's DJ. Half an hour of nonsense later, Wale took the stage in a Yankee's cap and canvas jacket, speaking mainly in fragments. After his first song, he requested that the barriers in front of the stage, which are used to allow photographers to take pictures, be taken down. He complained that their presence struck him as "really fake," and that he wanted to "smell ya girls." This sort of behavior quickly became standard, as Wale broke away after nearly every song to request bottled water, or pool sympathy from the audience while he regaled them with tales of his childhood and his absent mother.

His candor and poor showmanship came off as the entitled ranting of a prima donna, unaware of his own unimportance. Wale's main focus seemed not to be putting on a good show, but getting the show-goers to put out. Had his initial rescheduling been instead a cancellation, in no way would the night have suffered from his absence.

Wale performs at Hofstra USA (Sean M Gate/The Chronicle)

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