ComplexCon returns to Long Beach Nov. 6 - 7 with hosts J. Balvin and Kristen Noel Crawley, performances by A$AP Rocky and Turnstile, and more shopping and drops.

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Three years after appearing in The Source’s “Unsigned Hype” Column in June 2005, Wale emerged fully-formed as a rapper on 2008’s Mixtape About Nothing. Waxing philosophical over Seinfeld samples and go-go production, the charismatic DMV rapper submitted thought-provoking commentary on topics like celebrity and race, the latter of which he broke down in a relatable and believable way on mixtape standout “The Kramer.” And while critics wanted to label Wale a “conscious backpack rapper,” he was too entertaining for it to stick.

Shortly after the dropping the tape on May 30, 2008, Wale became an indie darling, with the internet embracing him as the great rap hope, a welcome answer to hip-hop’s ringtone era. At the time, the hyperbolic claims were reasonable; arriving months ahead of Drake’s So Far Gone, Nicki’s Beam Me Up Scotty, and J. Cole’s The Warm Up, the tape positioned Wale as a leader of hip-hop’s next generation.