If social house basements and plates of Super Snack nachos are beginning to get old, students can rest assured that this weekend holds more in store than a typical weekend night. This Friday, the Bowdoin College radio station WBOR will present hip-hop artist Wale (pronounced wah-lay) to the campus.
Friday's concert marks the second of two large-scale productions orchestrated by WBOR. The first was the Broken Social Scene concert that lit up Farley Field house this past October. This wealth of music has been incredibly exciting for Bowdoin, according to WBOR concert director Micah McKay '09.
"This is the first year we've done two shows on this large of a scale," he said. "In the past we've done one big show and then a smaller one. This really isn't normal, and to be able to do two shows of this size is pretty cool for us."
McKay also said that this spring concert offers an exciting opportunity for WBOR to diversify the sound on Bowdoin's campus.
"WBOR hasn't brought a hip-hop artist before, so we wanted to broaden our tastes a bit," he said. "In the past, we've primarily brought alternative indie rock bands," such as Broken Social Scene.
"We thought that this would be a great opportunity for a hip-hop show," he added.
Bringing Wale was particularly exciting for WBOR, as it seeks to fill the void of underground hip-hop shows on the college circuit, according to McKay.
"Wale has been hyped as the next big thing for a while now," McKay said. "He's released several mixtapes, he's had great press, and his shows have been incredibly popular."
Wale's concert presence is one of the reasons WBOR was so eager to bring him to campus.
"One of the main reasons I like Wale, and think he's a perfect fit for the WBOR spring concert, is because he has so much energy," WBOR hip-hop director and Wale enthusiast Hasan Elsadig '10 said. "Just listening to his music puts you in this amped-up mood. Even the slower songs he has are like that."
Known for the energy he brings to his shows, Wale will perform at Bowdoin with a nine-piece go-go band.
"He's basically bringing a funk band from D.C., which is pretty unusual for a hip-hop artist," McKay said. "They'll have great energy, which is different even within the genre. Typically, a hip-hop artist in concert will just play with a DJ, so that's another reason why he's such a force onstage."
This concert is also an exciting musical opportunity for Bowdoin.
"It's great to be able to have Wale here right now," McKay said. "He's done tracks with a lot of famous artists at this point. Justice, Lil' Wayne, M.I.A., to name a few. So he's a pretty big deal in the music business, and has been for some time now."
Wale's success is only increasing, as he is releasing a mixtape at the end of April as well as a CD titled "Attention: Deficit" this upcoming summer.
"It's very likely that he'll just blow up soon in terms of his popularity. It's great for Bowdoin to be able to get him now while we still can," McKay said.
For students unfamiliar with Wale's music, both McKay and Elsadig agree that he is next in the lineage of hip-hop artists like Lupe Fiasco and Kanye West.
"He's Kanye, but not at all. He has his own swag and his own style, at least in the country's hip-hop scene," Elsadig says.
"He plays over tracks, he uses the go-go funk band, he's very heavy on percussion," McKay said. "He's very tied to his roots as a rapper from Washington, D.C. He takes a lot of pride in that and so he uses the musical traditions that he grew up with, go-go being a D.C. creation. It's funk-laden hip-hop."
The concert will be held in Morrell Lounge in Smith Union tonight at 10 p.m. Makio, S-Caliber, T-Throw and the neo-soul Phunky Phresh Band, which features students Hassan Muhammad '10, Peter McLaughlin '10, Scott Nebel '09, Justin Foster '11, and Tony Perry '09, will be opening for Wale.
The show will be free to students and non-students alike.
"We wanted to make it a free show," McKay said. "It's the best space for the concert. We want this to be an active show. We want to see everybody up on their feet."