Wale is on the up and up and up.
“Bait,” the new single from the Washington rapper, embodies the sky-touching confidence of a man who just scaled Mount Everest — even if he hasn’t left the District.
He raps about sitting courtside at a Wizards game. Then a strip club on Queens Chapel Road. Then racing his Mercedes through the streets of gentrified Washington.
With go-go band TCB riding the beat like a bulldozer, Wale plays the brilliant, blabbermouth tour guide, daring us to keep up with his hyper-nuanced references to all things hyper-local: The Goodman basketball league at Barry Farm, the defunct local clothing line H.O.B.O., ’80s drug kingpin Tony Lewis and his activist son Tony Lewis Jr.
“Bait” has become Washington’s latest local anthem, spilling out of car stereos and nightclub speakers all across the District. On a recent Friday afternoon, Wale performed it at Yardfest, the annual Homecoming concert on Howard University’s quad. As students shouted along — WORK! WORK! WORK! WORK! — the anticipation for his new album, “Ambition,” felt almost tangible in the crisp autumn air.