"Schooboy Q, T.I. and Bas prove to be 'men of the year' at Fall Fest 2014"

More than 8,000 students attend annual fest


A rookie, a rising star and a veteran performer.

Each at different point in their careers, the three men – T.I., Schoolboy Q and Bas – performed three sets, each distinctive in sound and style, yet equally entertaining. The rappers enthralled a crowd of thousands at the Student Association’s Fall Fest 2014, proving to be ‘men of the year’ for all in attendance.

Schoolboy Q and T.I. blurred the lines between party and concert, turning Alumni Arena Parking Lot into an explosion of flashing lights, thumping bass and twisting, dancing bodies.

The audience wasn’t alone in dancing, each artist vigorously danced and hopped about the stage. The three acts drew an expansive audience, filling the parking lot for the annual fall concert. Ab-Soul, who was slated for the lineup, did not perform. SA has yet to say what kept the performer from UB.

There were 8,324 people who attended the concert, according to SA President James Ingram. Nearly twice as many concertgoers attended this year's Fall Fest than in 2013 – that concert featured rap artists A$AP Ferg and A$AP Rocky.

The most dedicated fans showed up at the gates around noon, immediately after the final preparations for the concert were finished. The first 150 people were rewarded for their hustle and given a free bucket hat – which has become Schoolboy Q’s signature – by SA.

As the day went on, fans continued to slowly add to the length of the line and quickly the free bucket hats were doled out, dotting the heads of numerous concertgoers.

The line only continued to grow as the night progressed, wrapping around the lot and eventually spanning the entire length Alumni Arena.

Many of the fans who lined up early said they excited to see Schoolboy Q.

“Schoolboy Q is the realest in the game right now,” said Rajiv Shanbhag, a sophomore engineering major. “His lyrics may not be that great but as a person he is real, and that’s what matters.”

Andy Gozenpud, a freshman business administration major, was confident Schoolboy Q would have a show like no other. Before the show, Gozenpud anticipated Q would have a live performance that could not compare to any of the other artists he had seen.

A Jumbotron next to the stage provided entertainment for the enthusiastic crowd, giving close-ups of fans dancing to music and candid shots.

Before and after opener Bas, DJ Bandana, a local DJ from 93.7 FM, kept the crowd from getting restless by playing a set to fill the silence, ensuring the crowd didn’t lose its energy between performances.

After Bandana’s pre-show antics, Bas took to the stage, delivering a fast-paced and lively performance. He had a charisma that surprised much of the audience and got them dancing.

Bas’ set was filled with improvised rap and songs off his album, Last Winter. Between songs, Bas joked with the audience. He described how it felt to finally be performing at such a large show.

“It’s something I can’t take for granted,” he said. It finally feels like “we’ve made it,” he added.

Ab-Soul was set to perform next, but instead the audience was surprised to have Schoolboy Q walk onstage. Ab-Soul, unable to attend, was replaced – Q was given a longer set that took care of Ab-Soul’s absence.

Bas may have inspired people to get moving, but Schoolboy Q made them really go crazy, kicking off his set with a single from his first mixtape, Habits and Contradictions, called “Hands On The Wheel.”

Q, for the remainder of his set, focused on his latest album, Oxymoron. He played a majority of his set list from the new album, performing hits such as “Collard Greens,” “Gangsta,” and “Studio.”

His talent as an entertainer was best found in the silences that accompanied song breaks. He talked to the crowd, attributing his success as a musician to the people who take the time to support him by coming to his shows. He went on to add how the support from his fans helps him to support his family, pay rent and stay clothed.

“Your happiness is my happiness,” Q shouted to the crowd.

His genuine love for his fans was endearing and reciprocated.

“The verses are sick, the things he says speak to me,” said Rohan Sment, a sophomore business major. “Also, his hat is off the hook.”

After his sentimental moments, Schoolboy Q would jump right back into his music.

By far his most popular performance of the evening was “Man of the Year,” his hit single from his newest album ended his set as enthused fans sang and danced along.

After Q’s lengthy set, co-headliner T.I. followed with an equally as impressive show.

The veteran artist performed an eclectic mix of songs that originated from the early 2000’s to the present. He brought back his own classics including “Whatever You Like,” but also made sure to play some of his newer songs such as “No Mediocre.”

Not only did he perform a wide range of his own music, but he also covered songs like Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and A$AP Ferg’s “Work (Remix).”

T.I. had audience members singing along for his entire set and the covers gave the audience a chance to enjoy T.I.’s music, while keeping his bass-leaden rap songs from becoming repetitive.

Caleb Spall, a sophomore electrical engineering major, said he preferred T.I.’s style to anyone else’s.

“I like T.I. better than Schoolboy Q,” Spall said. “He’s been around longer, and I like his sound much more.”

T.I., like his co-headliner, spoke to the audience about more than just music. He encouraged fans to forget about the haters and keep moving forward.

By the time T.I. ended his set with a duo of his most popular songs, “Live Your Life,” and “What You Know,” the crowd was coming down off a jam-packed series of intense and highly touted Fall Fest performers.

The sky over the stage was illuminated with fireworks as Fall Fest 2014 ended.

This article has been updated with new information.

email: arts@ubspectrum.com