A rainbow of neon lights danced above a sold-out crowd in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom last night.
With their hands swaying in the air, the crowd mirrored the spirit and swagger of the man of the night: Wale.
The United Men of Color (UMC), the concertâ€™s main sponsor, chose Wale to headline its closing concert in honor of Black History Month at CSU.
UMC, along with fellow sponsors Associated Students of Colorado State University and Campus Activities, chose Wale because they thought he embodied the ideals of the organization.
â€œHe doesnâ€™t spread negativity like a lot of other rappers do. He represents black individuals in a positive way, and thatâ€™s the goal of UMC,â€ said UMC member Ermias Hadera.Â
Black Cobain, last nightâ€™s opening act whose name is in tribute to Nirvanaâ€™s Cobain, revved the crowd up with the bandâ€™s â€œSmells Like Teen Spirit.â€
After his set, DJ Omega turned the ballroom into an impromptu nightclub; the beat pulsed and the dancing was raunchier than the venueâ€™s name would suggest.
But mashups of popular hip-hop songs could only keep the crowd entertained for so long, and after almost an hour of no Wale, people started growing impatient.Â His name started being chanted in unison and booing started echoing through the crowd.
Spirits and hands were immediately raised, however, when Wale blasted onto the stage with his song â€œThe MC.â€
â€œI just wanna know what yaâ€™ll feel like hearing right now,â€ Wale said to the crowd after his first song.
The vast majority of students felt like hearing one thing last night: his great lyrics. Wale has a strong following, made clear by his tickets selling out in a matter of hours, because his fans appreciate the originality of his lyrics.
â€œI like lyrical rappers like Wale,â€ said junior accounting major Jheryl Thomas. â€œHe raps about stuff I can actually relate to.â€
It seems quite a few of Waleâ€™s fans are young women who appreciate the general respect for females he portrays in his lyrics.
â€œSo many rappers degrade women, but not Wale, â€œ said University of Northern Colorado student Brittany Cooper.Â â€œHe likes ambitious girls, college girl, like us.
In quite a few of his songs, Wale shows an appreciation for a womanâ€™s intelligence.
â€œIâ€™d rather you tell me to hit you later/ because you gotta finish a paper,â€ Wale raps in his song â€œAmbitious Girlsâ€, which he performed last night.
Wale, whose full name is Olubowale Victor Akintimehin, is not a typical rapper, and his atypical lyrics are what set him apart in the minds of his fans.
â€œHeâ€™s poetic. He speaks about things with meaning, things that can inspire people our age,â€ said freshman economics major Brenna Meade.
Â Without a doubt, Wale inspired many in the crowd when he exclaimed, â€œShout out to all the ambitious girls here. Please, keep this world going.â€
Staff writer Colleen McSweeny can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.