Photo and story by Isong Maro / Contributing Writer
Middle Tennessee State University students flocked to Murphy Center in the bunches for this year’s traditional spring semester concert, put on by SPARE. The slated headliners were new-wave rappers Lil Yachty and Blackbear.
The headlining performances were preceded by an MTSU student hip-hop artist going by the name Qualls who—alongside his live band—served as the opening act for the event. Qualls delivered a somber set rife with introspective lyrics and mellow instrumentals reminiscent of a J. Cole or Kendrick Lamar performance, something traditional hip-hop heads likely appreciated.
Minutes after, Blackbear took the stage with his band that was comprised of a drummer, a bass player who doubled as a keyboardist and a sound engineer. The rapper rattled off hits from his earlier projects as well as most recent as he urged the crowd to turn up with him.
There was a bit of confusion after Blackbear’s set as word got around that Lil Yachty had not been spotted yet. Prior to Yachty’s performance, his DJ warmed the crowd up with a selection of songs that included a remix of Kendrick Lamar’s “m.A.A.d City” and Travis Scott’s “Goosebumps.”
The crowd was ecstatic when Yachty finally took the stage. He—like Blackbear—also performed songs from his earlier projects as well as his most recent one, “Lil Boat 2.” Yachty’s set ended up being the highlight of the night as not only did the crowd rock with him, but they also formed a mosh-pit on the floor when he requested. He also came down from the stage and into sections of the crowd at certain points during his set.
Yachty concluded his set by asking his DJ to play songs by other artists that he felt the crowd would rock along with. His DJ obliged and played a selection of songs that included Drake’s “God’s Plan” and songs by Memphis artist BlockBoy JB as Yachty danced along with the crowd.
Despite the earlier concerns by some MTSU students regarding the popularity of the scheduled performers when they were first announced, going by the turnout and overall atmosphere that the concert created, this was definitely one of the better spring shows hosted by MTSU in recent memory.
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