Waka Flocka Flame came to Edmonton and all of Union Hall was abuzz [Review]
Edmonton, AB – ‘Twas the night Waka Flocka Flame came to town and all of Union Hall was abuzz. Despite performing with Steve Aoki at the EXPO Centre just a few short weeks beforehand, as well as performing at Encore back in April, an impressive crowd still awaited the rapper.
Taking the stage before 1 a.m., he kicked it off by performing his entire verse (along with relevant ad-libs) from Borgore’s “Wild Out”. Some hip-hop heads may balk at the idea of starting a set with an EDM track, but there is something inspiring about being able to get an entire crowd hyped enough to jump on command when the drop hit, especially considering the command is coming from a force of nature like Waka Flocka Flame. While it was an impressive opener and a good taste of what to (possibly) expect from his upcoming rap-EDM album Flockaveli Psychotics, it was also a red herring in that it gave us the ideal version of Waka the performer: energetic and loud as fuck. The rest of the set went by with scarcely a word from the rapper, who relied heavily on pre-recorded vocals and the faithful crowd that he was played like putty. Yet, it was hard to tell if anyone was really upset by this.
The set touched upon the main corners of Waka’s discography. Where else can you hear songs like “Hard in the Paint” or “Took Off” without needing to suppress the urge to go nuts? The crowd seemed happy they finally had a prophet to properly guide them into the land of the turnt. Men were roaring at every possible moment they could, jumping up and down and pushing everyone around them (except the females). That latter distinction is important because the amount of thirst levels displayed were unreal. If you walked into the crowd, you either would have been impregnated or you would have unintentionally impregnated someone.
Any fan might tell you: Waka Flocka Flame is not exactly renowned as a lyrical wordsmith, but the man can bring energy like the best punk rock bands can. Even on cruise-control, he can still control a crowd like it’s nothing. But then again, how easy would it be to get hyped when you have a massive black guy with a microphone jumping around right in front of you? Essentially, that’s what happened when Waka decided to spend a good portion of the set off the stage and on the dance floor. Every step he took transformed a part of the dance floor into a mini mosh pit. Everyone pushed everyone around for a chance to be near Waka. If he were to be graded on performances, he’d probably get a solid A for interaction.
Finally, he returned to the stage, with the entire crowd following suit. Attendees were climbing over rails and stage monitors. There were more people on stage than there were on the floor. A few boys grabbed some mics and played hypemen while the rest were content to dance away. With so many people on stage, you’d be hard pressed to notice that Waka left. But leave he did, leaving his DJ to keep the mass of swaying bodies dancing.
The antics of the concert did bring up an important question: is it really necessary for a rapper like Waka Flocka Flame to be on point with his raps even if he is putting out more energy to light up a small town? Was engaging directly with fans an easy way to cloud the fact he wasn’t exactly putting out his A+ material in terms of delivery? None of that was of any distinction to the crowd that he impressed at Union Hall. He wilded out and so did they. It’s why Edmonton continually has love for the Big Homie Flock.
Review and photography by Jibril Yassin for HipHopCanada