Big Sean to headline UB Fall Fest, hip-hop genre continues streak

Jeremih and Tink to also perform


Hip-hop has continued its dominance of Fall Fest.

The Student Association announced Thursday that rapper Big Sean will headline this year's Fall Fest on Sept. 12. Rapper Tink and R&B singer Jeremih will also perform. With the lineup, SA has continued its trend of holding Fall Fest as a hip-hop themed concert. The previous three Fall Fests have featured hip-hop artists, including last year’s performances by rappers T.I., Schoolboy Q and Bas.

Fall Fest is SA’s annual concert held in conjunction with a spring concert called Spring Fest. The concerts, like SA, are funded by undergraduate students through the mandatory student activity fee of $104.75 a semester. All undergraduate students get into the concerts for free with a student I.D.

SA revealed the lineup on social media throughout the day Thursday, starting with Tink at 2 p.m. and ending with Big Sean at 8 p.m. Many students were aware that Big Sean would headline Fall Fest before SA made its announcement Thursday night, however, as Ticketmaster had listed his Sept. 12 performance at Alumni Arena on its website earlier in the evening. 

Big Sean, born Sean Anderson, is a high-profile rap artist whose career has been built over four mixtapes and three studio albums, most recently Dark Sky Paradise. Big Sean’s humble beginning from Detroit, Michigan only makes his success even more impressive.

As the story goes, Kanye West was doing a radio interview in Detroit and Big Sean stopped him outside the station to rap some bars for him – two years later, he was signed to West’s GOOD Music.

Now, Big Sean has collaborated with every big name rapper out there, including Kanye West, Jay-Z and Drake, and is in the conversation for the modern day’s best rapper. He has been signed to GOOD Music, Def Jam and Roc Nation.

Jeremih is a Chicago-born R&B artist perhaps best known for his single “Birthday Sex,” released from his first self-entitled album in 2009, which earned him his deal with Def Jam Records. His most recent hit was “Don’t Tell ‘Em,” which peaked in the Billboard Hot 100 in 2014.

He has further garnered acclaim with his 2010 album All About You, and especially with his free mix tape in 2012, Late Nights with Jeremih.

Since 2011, Jeremih has been working on his third album, Late Nights. The album has had a rocky rollout with the label, with the release date being pushed back multiple times. Jeremih has been quiet, but busy during the constant shuffling of his album’s drop date, collaborating on music projects with artists such as John Legend, J. Cole and Future.

But, Jeremih, 27, now has a release date for his third studio album. After years of waiting, Late Nights is due Sept. 4.

Tink, born Trinity Home, is a promising, up-and-coming artist from Chicago. She is just 20 years old and is personally mentored by Timbaland, who signed her to his label Mosley Music Group in October 2014. Her debut album, Think Tink, is due out in September.

Tink is becoming known both for her impressive vocal range and sharp, lustrous rap style. Her songs “Million” and “Ratchet Commandments” exhibit her growing talent as a vocalist and rapper, respectively.

Most impressively, Tink was profiled in XXL Magazine, one of hip-hop’s most prominent publications, for their annual XXL Freshman list. The list is one of the most anticipated list of up-and-comers each year and one of the most consistent predictors of future fame. Amateur rappers hotly contend for a spot. Some previous rappers on the list include Chance the Rapper, previous Fall Fest headliner Schoolboy Q, Danny Brown and Kendrick Lamar.

This year, Tink was featured on the list, alongside 2015 powerhouse Fetty Wap, Raury, OG Maco, as well as a few others.

The genre choice of Fall and Spring Fest is often scrutinized by students, with some who feel hip-hop too often dominates, while others who disagree when SA changes it up with acts such as The Band Perry, a country band, for the 2014 Spring Fest. It’s a widely-speculated topic too. One year, in 2013, students made fake Fall Fest posters that duped a number of students into thinking Drake, Big Sean and A$AP Rocky were performing for Fall Fest.

SA has tried to remedy these concerns in recent years with a student survey of what genre they would like and the addition of Electric Tundra last year - an electronic music and dance concert in the spring.

This article has been corrected. An earlier version stated that Big Sean signed to GOOD Music two weeks after meeting Kanye West - it was two years. 

Brian Windschitl is the senior arts editor and can be reached at brian.windschitl@ubspectrum.com