Tamar Braxton is at a crossroads. The R&B singer-actress-reality TV star has said that her 2017 album, “Bluebird of Happiness,” would be her last. If true, it would mean the end of a second act in the music business for the Severn, Md.-born talent. These days, Braxton is more focused on the stage (co-starring in Snoop Dogg’s semi-autobiographical musical “Redemption of a Dogg”) and screen (with a role in the forthcoming “GangLand”) than her solo career, so treat this show as a last chance to see Tamar get her life with her music.
Dec. 29 at 8 p.m. at the Howard Theatre. $55-$89.50.
On his song “What Made Me,” Dave East name-drops the rappers that inspired him, shouting out Jay-Z, Nas, Noreaga, DMX and the members of the Lox, among others. That should tell you how the rapper sees himself: as the rightful heir to New York’s hardcore hip-hop and Mafioso rap legends. The 30-year-old spitter split time between Harlem and Queensbridge growing up, and his street-born storytelling has the raw, razor-sharp lyrical approach of his predecessors. And although he eschews contemporary trends for music rooted in the sounds of his youth, East’s New York state of mind garnered him a Nas co-sign and a Def Jam record deal.
Dec. 30 at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore Silver Spring. $29.50.
Now in its eighth year, Wale’s annual New Year’s Day party celebrates the past year and kicks off the new one. The D.C. rap ambassador will be doing both, after building buzz with a trio of 2018 EPs that paved the way for a forthcoming album on a new label. But his party is also about the “friends” of its title. Previous years have featured such heavyweights as Rick Ross and J. Cole, but the show is best when showcasing DMV’s next-up talent. Last year, it was Rico Nasty and Q Da Fool; you’ll have to be at the Fillmore to see who’s up next.
Jan. 1 at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore Silver Spring. $39.50.
Before J Balvin and Bad Bunny made reggaeton and Latin trap mainstream — and even before artists like Enrique Iglesias and Shakira crossed over at the turn of the millennium — there was Ozomatli. The Los Angeles six-piece formed in 1995 and has spent two decades mothering a melting pot of rock, hip-hop, jazz, funk and a variety of Latin styles, including salsa, cumbia and merengue. Along the way, they’ve opened for Carlos Santana and collaborated with Jurassic 5’s Chali 2na and turntablist Cut Chemist, reliably churning out globe-trotting grooves and fighting for the rights of workers and immigrants around the world.
Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. (doors) at the 9:30 Club. $30.