It was a bright and sunny Friday afternoon. The birds were chirping, some students were still in class learning, and one of the biggest turn-ups of the semester was lurking.
From open to close, the genre for this year’s Art Attack festivities was rap. Before the concert began, a couple of student journalists were picked to attend a press conference featuring Wale.
We were told in advance that Big Sean would not be available to talk to (most likely having to do with his recent break-up with “Glee” star Naya Rivera, I’m sure his people didn’t want to risk having one of us ask about it) but getting the chance to pick the brain of Wale, one of the most successful rappers in the industry right now, was something which still got a lot of us excited.
The press conference was scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. but as 6:30 turned into 6:40, and 6:40 turned into 7:00 p.m.; our hopes and dreams of meeting the Nigerian-American rapper in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity began to fade away. Wale was the perpetrator of what is commonly known as “CP Time”.
There was still some hope that we may get to meet up with him for five minutes but the organizers at SEE, the group who was in charge of the concert, urged us to enter the concert and watch the opening act while we wait.
As we walked in, the intensity of the crowd was evident (as seen in the Vine above). The aroma of Mary Jane, someone considered as a buddy to many students on this campus, also filled the air as anticipation loomed for this end of the year celebration to begin.
For most people, standing onstage in front of this type of crowd would be extremely nerve-wracking and torturous. That didn’t seem to be the case for the first act, D-Cal, though.
Before the show started, D-Cal could be seen walking near the dressing room very antsy. He spoke to a fellow student journalist from UMSuccess about how nervous he was for his moment of glory. But when his time to arrive on stage commenced, anything which could’ve held him back from giving a stellar performance was left backstage.
D-Cal alongside hypeman Mike and DJ Reddz from 95.5 WPGC, seamlessly rode the crowd’s wave of energy leaving no hints of anxiety.
D-Cal was also gracious enough to weave in some of UMD’s other well-known hip hop acts into his performance including spoken word artist Kosi and female lyricist O-Slice.
Taking a page out of Ellen’s notebook, D-Cal’s hypeman Mike alongside the other performers onstage took advantage of their moment in front of the bright lights to take a selfie together with the thousands of students in attendance.
There were some profanity-laced mini-rants here and there which seemed more forced and less natural but overall, it would be hard to find anything negative about D-Cal’s performance. He lived up to the hype. All he needed is the crowd’s love and he got it (Find out more about D-Cal through this profile from UMD SBS).
Once D-Cal’s performance finished, we were informed of what seemed inevitable at this point: We wouldn’t get the chance to speak to Wale. Too bad the DJ didn’t give any of us time to mourn our loss.
The party at Byrd Stadium continued to get louder and more lively. After a 20 minute wait, part one of the main show set foot in his hometown and started a riot.
“Get me doe! Get me doe,” Wale exclaimed. The prince of Prince George’s County flowed to a DMV vibe and performed local hits such as “Sexy Lady” and “Clappers”. It was hard for Wale to hide his excitement of being back home, so much so, that he decided to jump into the stands and greet fans.
Wale performed a well curated mix of his songs from past and present but at times he seemed more like a hypeman than he was focused on getting his rhymes together. Towards the end, the performance seemed a bit more rushed than it should’ve been.
Despite the scurry, something which I appreciated was Wale letting members of his entourage hop on stage and giving them their own 15 seconds of fame. Not too many artists are that selfless to share their stage with unknowns.
I also commend Wale for going into the stands and greeting students who weren’t able to get close to the stage. It provided intimacy for everyone in the audience no matter where you were.
I also loved how unfiltered he was, calling Terp students: “You smart motherfuckers”.
Next up was the son of Detroit, Mr. Sean Anderson.
At this point, as was expected, the crowd started to die down and lose energy. But somehow, Big Sean single-handedly got the crowd back on it’s feet to cheers which seemed even louder than before.
Some members of the crowd began throwing their glow-in-the-dark lights at Big Sean, who had been at College Park since 2 p.m., but the distraction didn’t seem to faze him at all.
The worst part of the concert, at least from my vantage point, came during “Mercy”. The Terrapin females near the front of the stage couldn’t hold their shrieks of excitement as the speakers blared in unfathomable volumes. Thank God for the earplugs which I discovered next to the stage, or else I would most likely be typing this while experiencing the aftereffects of hearing problems.
The lights show and graphics which were alongside Big Sean enhanced his set. It gave off the vibe that we were taking part in a selective, invigorating showcase. Big Sean was already transferring his energy to the crowd through osmosis and the lights which surrounded him added to the potency of his performance.
By the way, my hearing issues got worse during “Ass”. But don’t worry, I’m fine now (lol).
If Beyonce was performing it would’ve been fine, but I personally wasn’t a fan of some of Big Sean’s suggestive sexual nuances (I have no problem admitting the double standard I have, haha).
I know the ladies differ from my stance…..especially some of the ladies in the press section, but I won’t name any names, lol.
Overall, I would have to say that this concert was an absolute success. It was controlled chaos at it’s best. Major props go out to SEE for putting on an amazing show.