Published: Monday, April 30, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
It was an ugly prelude.
A lackluster Fall Fest, internal disputes, and the notorious scandal surrounding treasurer Sikander Khan have stigmatized this year’s Student Association. The ill will seemed to spill onto the crowd, as it grew increasingly restless in the moments before the opening act.
Then New Boyz took the stage, and the agitation turned into celebration.
SA held its annual Spring Fest Sunday at Alumni Arena. UB students praised the lineup during the weeks leading up to the show and they didn’t leave disappointed. New Boyz, Fabolous, Tyga, and Rick Ross had the attendees in a frenzy during the five-hour show.
A-West’s opening set was effortful but standoffish, as he sprayed the crowd with water because of their unfamiliarity with his music. The audience remained fairly hostile after the end of his performance, resulting in increased shoving within the crowd and a physical altercation.
The bad taste vanished as soon as the New Boyz hit the stage. Instead of solely relying on their hits, or freestyling off other artists’ beats, they decided to perform songs from their new mixtape, The Foolies.
After the show, New Boyz recognized the fact that they were experimenting with their new works for the eager audience.
“I think they felt it, but they didn’t know the words, so they got to listen to it first,” said Ben J, one half of New Boyz. “We don’t necessarily have one sound. I know a lot of people know us from that ‘jerking sound,’ but with the second album we did more like pop music and took that overseas, and then when we did The Foolies mixtape. It’s more urban, more street, you know? So a lot of people mess with us.”
The popular songs they did play were a hit with the fans. “You’re a Jerk” and “Tie Me Down” got the fans going, as people formed small circles to dance and have fun.
Headliner Rick Ross made it to the stage, despite news of canceled shows due to health concerns earlier this month. The Teflon Don opened his show with radio-hit “I’m a Boss” with two gleaming Jesus piece chains hanging from his massive neck. Ross then segued into his verses on fan favorites such as “9 Piece,” “I’m on One,” “I’m Not a Star,” and “B.M.F.”
Ross connected with the audience throughout his 45-minute set, with some even calling it the best performance of the night. Ross took a moment to acknowledge the college students in the crowd and advise them on their future endeavors.
“To be rich forever you got to be rich with ideas,” Ross said. “You got to be rich with concepts.”
The audience made efforts to connect with Ross during pieces that weren’t radio-friendly. Ross performed tracks “New Bugatti” and “Stay Schemin’,” off his 2012 mixtape Rich Forever, and before rapping the mixtape’s title track.
The show’s highlight came near the end of his set. Fatigue had caught up to the larger than life rapper as his bulging eyes struggled to keep focus. But the Boss took energy from his adoring fans and performed two more songs to end his set.
Though performing earlier in the night, Fabolous had the loudest crowd reaction out of the five performers. The hype reached its peak when the rapper performed throwback hits from the mid aughts. “Young’n (Holla Back)” had the audience waving their hands in unison, while “Into You” was pure nostalgia.
The crowd was so lively that when Fabolous questioned the Buffalo audience about whether or not they heard “Breathe,” an urban classic, it came off as an absurdist statement rather than a rhetorical question.
“It brought me back,” said Alisha James, a junior communication major. “It made me happy and got me hype. So I enjoyed it.”
Tyga’s set, which came right before Ross’, started slowly at first. But when he played his hit song “Faded” the crowd suddenly came to life.
He pranced back and forth on the stage and was openly interacting with fans. He let some fans sing words to his songs and was the only artist that was up close and personal with his followers.
Right before he played his biggest hit, “Rack City,” Tyga selected 15 female fans to join him on stage to dance with him while he performed his hit. They reacted in the exact way normal fans would: by grabbing his chest and gyrating around him. He still managed to bob and weave through the throng of eager females.
Surprisingly, Tyga wasn’t completely satisfied with his performance.
“I think it could’ve been better,” Tyga said. “But the energy was crazy. You never know what to expect going to colleges. This is my first time in Buffalo and I think it’s great.”
The fans weren’t as critical, however, as they left Alumni Arena ecstatic about the stars they’d just seen.