Let’s take a trip back to 2003. Invader Zim was still on the air, our parents still loved each other, and 50 Cent was running the game. Last night, University Union’s Block Party reminded us of at least one of those things.
Before we talk Fiddy, let’s remind ourselves of some of the other acts that were on the bill.
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Rae Sremmurd. You may have thought that it was just one dude with a weird name, but you definitely know the chorus to “No Flex Zone.” This hip-hop duo consists of brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy, weighing in at a combined 180 pounds, 10 feet, and 39 years. And they’re fucking awesome.
These fuckers are literally the coolest. Two kids from Elvis’s hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi have been able to make a living by lovingly crafting banger after banger under the tutelage of Mike WiLL Made-it, an ATL producer who has produced hits for names like 2 Chainz, Juicy J, and Rihanna.
Despite my adoration for the duo, it’s still very important to point out that they’re young. Their act, although passionate and spirited, is simply just not there yet. They can rile up the crowd and get everyone singing along to the hits, but had a really hard time bringing it all together in the end. In a set full of stage-dives, declarations of underaged drunkedness, and repeatedly stated desires for the crowd to go “three crazy,” there was very little of actual substance.
The hits sounded largely the same as they do on the radio, which is cool and all, but I was hoping to see them change it up a bit and flex their artist muscles. But hey, they’ve got time to change it up and make it work, and I think we’re all excited to see what they can come up with next.
After Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy left the stage, Kygo showed up, which was neat I guess. Kygo is doing really well right now, and his music is really, really cool, despite being incredibly gimmicky. Yeah, when you remix songs that everyone knows all of the words to and keep the verses in tact, people are going to sing along. This isn’t to say that the 23-year-old Norwegian DJ isn’t incredibly talented in his own right, but he’s definitely found a niche that works for him.
His visuals were, for the most part, terrible. Cheezy-looking images of mountains and the lyrics to Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire” flashed on the monitor as he began his set, which didn’t bode well for the rest of his performance. To be perfectly frank, I thought that his visuals were about as ill thought out as possible.
On a more positive note, Kygo really does have some seriously good music. On the first really nice day of the year here in Syracuse, New York, I was sitting on my friend’s roof overlooking campus while listening to BBC Radio 1. The station played about 30 minutes’ worth of Kygo mixes, and I really did feel like I was in paradise. His tracks have this awesome summery feel to them, and would be enjoyed best while driving with the top down late at night.
His remix of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” is amazing in that it manages to be even more basic than the original, while his remix of Marvin Gaye’s 1982 smash hit “Sexual Healing” is about as on point as it gets. Say what you (or I, for that matter) will about Kygo, but he’s the only person I’ve ever seen who can get a bunch of dudes to hold hands in a circle while losing their collective shit. If that’s not musical prowess, I don’t know what is.
After Kygo wrapped up his set, the University Union President and Vice President came on stage to hype up the audience for FIFTY FUCKING CENT.
To be honest, I don’t really have much to say about Mr. Cent and his G-Unit. He rolled onto stage geriatrically squad deep, and bombed. I don’t even really know if this reflects poorly on Fiddy, or on us as concertgoers. We were about nine hours into the day’s live music, and we were fucking tired.
As the set went on, more and more people began to gravitate towards the free water being offered off to the side, and the temptation of a nice section of wall to sit against was sometimes too great to ignore.
The average age of a Block Party attendee is slightly below 20. This means that most of us were floating between the ages of seven and nine when “In Da Club” went double platinum. After half a dozen songs that nobody in the audience was old enough to remember, 50 cut the music and started talking to the crowd.
“I’m just gonna notify you right now that this is the good part,” he said.
So what was the other part? The bad part? Why isn’t it all the good part? And it’s not like he even started playing songs that we knew after this declaration. He went right back into a selection of his deep cuts that nobody, barring those with a degree is G-Unit history, could possibly remember.
Towards the end of his set, Fiddy once again addressed the crowd.
“How much did you pay for those seats?” he asked, directed at those who were unfortunate enough to be sitting in the stands. “I hope they were free.”
Yeah, okay. Paying for concert tickets sucks enough on it’s own. Nobody needs to be reminded BY THE PERSON THAT THEY PAID TO SEE that they wasted their money. Hey Fiddy, maybe it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate if even you think that tickets to your own shows are a waste of money. I hate that I really don’t have anything good to say about his set, but I really do think that he was highly disrespectful and non-engaging.
Candy shop was aight tho.
Can’t get enough of Mayfest/Block Party? Maybe you don’t remember them? Check out our recap of the whole day.
Photo by Jackie Frere