'My happiness is your happiness'

My first Fall Fest reminded me to embrace the little moments

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The Spectrum

Last night, I bopped to Bas’ “Charles De Gaulle To JFK,” danced to Schoolboy Q’s “Break The Bank” and sang along to T.I.’s “Whatever You Like.” And I enjoyed every second of it. Sadly, I did so without a bucket hat on my head.

I, like many of more than 8,000 people who attended Fall Fest, left with many fond memories and a positive fest experience – immediately making me regret that this was my first fest.

As a senior, Fall and Spring Fest have never interested me. Even as someone covering the event for The Spectrum, I dreaded having to go. I’m not the biggest fan of rap; I knew little of Bas and Schoolboy Q’s music and hated the idea of being surrounded by the thousands of people who packed the area surrounding the stage – let alone the indescribable volume of music that radiated from it.

With the exception of being squished between thousands of people I’ve never met, I quickly got into the music, enthralled by each performer’s set like the majority of the audience. I still can’t get Schoolboy Q’s rapid delivery of “Gangsta” and “Man Of The Year” out of my head. His music has been on repeat on Spotify all day, while I struggle to comprehend the magnitude of the audience last night and the blaring music that filled the concert as each artist performed.

The line seemed small standing in the queue an hour before the gates opened, but by the time we got inside the crowd piled up and didn’t relent until it reached Alumni Arena itself midway through Bas’ performance.

As thousands packed Alumni Arena Parking Lot, the bass blaring from the speakers was powerful enough to make my skin move and my vocal chords vibrate. It sounded like I was talking through a fan.

The crowd and the music weren’t the only things that got to me – the performers did, too.

Between each song, Bas and Schoolboy Q paused to talk to the thousands of people that had gathered to see them perform alongside the less humble T.I.

Bas thanked the audience for letting him perform in front of a crowd; the caliber of which made him realize, like an epiphany, that he had “made it.” Something he said he would never take for granted.

“We’ve made it,” the rapper said a few times midway through his act.

Schoolboy Q followed Bas in a similar fashion, commending the audience for willingly admitting they had pirated his music but then thanking his dedicated fans for supporting his music.

Q’s lyrics, movement and ability to enthrall the audience, got me into his performance like few artists ever have.

“My happiness is your happiness,” he said when he thanked his supportive fans for helping to pay for his daughter to go to school, for putting a roof over his head, for clothes on his back and for his signature bucket hats on his head.

Both performers came off as genuine and companionate, connecting the audience between songs that transfixed them as they dancing and singing along.

While Bas and Q’s messages were ones of compassion and thankfulness, T.I.’s message was don’t let haters get to you and strive to improve yourself day by day. Still genuine, but his words lost their meaning when he boasted about how much better his forthcoming ninth album, “Paperwork: The Motion Picture,” will be compared to the rest of the music on the market today.

If you don’t care about haters, then why hate on people you already see yourself above?

But these points were lost on me when I thought about how much fun each performer was having on stage. While he was singing his way through “Live Your Life,” on the way to closing his set, T.I. didn’t care about how he looked, dancing like a loon and talking about “bad b****es.” He was having a great time despite singing a song he’s sang thousands of times, in front of an audience that was big, but not nearly as big as some of the ones he was accustomed to.

It’s little moments like this that provides brevity to the façade artists like T.I. attempt to pass off as their genuine self: the cracks in their hard-hitting, ‘gangsta’, no-nonsense lyrics that make going to concerts like Fall Fest worthwhile.

Through Bas, Schoolboy Q and T.I’s lyrics, asides and energetic, movement-heavy performances, it became clear success comes to those who take it in where ever they can, regardless of whether it comes as a smaller artist, a rising star or a veteran performer.

It’s all about the little moments, even at a concert with thousands in attendance. But it also comes to those who remember how they got it and remain loyal and thankful to the people who got them there – haters or not.

Stop following mediocrity and being afraid to live your life. The rest will come with time.

email: jordan.oscar@ubspectrum.com