Hoards of students and townies alike gathered last night inside the Carrier Dome to listen to the musical stylings of Kenny Beats, Rico Nasty and Khalid in celebration of University Union’s annual Block Party.
The stands already began to fill before Mr. Beats hit the stage.
“Can you fucking hear me?” He shouted before blasting YG’s “Big Bank,” followed by frat party favorite “Thotiana” by Blueface and later, bops by Shoreline Mafia and Lil Uzi Vert, among others.
Beats finished with Ella Mai’s “Boo’d Up,” — “If you don’t like this song, you’re probably a virgin,” he said.
Beats recently produced Nasty’s latest project, “Anger Management,” released on April 25. “Anger Management” marks the pair’s first full-length collaboration. Beats also whipped up a multitude of tracks on her first album, the aptly-titled “Nasty,” which came out last June.
Maria-Cecilia Simone Kelly — alias: Rico Nasty — was next up. She opened with “Cold,” the premier tune off of “Anger Management.” She bolted on stage, the Dome lit with phone flashlights. At first, Nasty was loving the crowd, but the crowd was not loving her.
“She’s too aggressive,” said one audience member, though the same would never be said of a male rapper.
“Where the energy at?” She asked less than halfway through her set.
A sound flub-up put an even greater damper on her performance. But just as Nasty broke into an acapella version of “Smack a Bitch,” the sound magically reappeared. Though still, she could not gain traction. Understandably, she simply could not give her all to a crowd that gave her nothing in return. However, the crowd erupted into screams when Khalid joined Nasty on stage in a show of moral support.
Once Khalid took the stage himself, the energy was electric. For the first time that night, everyone in the stands stood. The twenty-one-year-old R&B singer recently released his sophomore album, Free Spirit, and embarks on a tour next month with former Syracuse student and bedroom pop sensation Clairo as his opener.
Khalid, donning a Syracuse sweatshirt, undoubtedly benefitted from the spoils of tour production: his set was complete with sleek visuals, a full band and a group of back-up dancers appropriately dressed in orange and blue garb.
Khalid busted out all the hits, some old (“Young Dumb & Broke,” “Location”), some new (“Talk,” “Twenty One”). Khalid’s vocals remained strong throughout, and when amplified with a live band, almost outshined his recorded sound.
In front of a digital sunset and a flurry of laser beam-like lights, the crowd sung along for Khalid’s performance of “OTW” minus 6LACK and Ty Dolla $ign. Completing his set with “Better,” it was difficult to leave the Dome in a bad mood. Underneath gloomy skies, the tired masses dissipated into the night, leaving that evening’s festivities behind.