Preview: Wale at the Newport

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From the January 5, 2012 edition

Three years ago Wale’s slew of inspiring mixtapes, highlighted by the Seinfeld-themed “The Mixtape About Nothing,” showed the D.C. rapper’s potential to break out as a Kanye-style auteur.

Instead, he released a frozen dinner of a major-label debut, “Attention Deficit,” which promptly bombed. Dude was washed up.

Then, by the grace of Rick Ross, Wale signed with Maybach Music Group, released the similarly-faceless (but fun) star-making comeback, “Ambition,” which brings us to his sold-out show at the Newport this Saturday.

Opening is Black Cobain, part of the resurgent meme of rappers repping the late Nirvana frontman (see also: MGK’s boasts of “Cobain’s back!,” Kendrick Lamar’s Cobain shout-out on “HiiiPoWeR,” the ascent of sing-songy Houston rapper Kirko Bangz).