Pop Smoke brings hip-hop flair to Afro-Caribbean themed Fall Fest

Rapper joins Kranium and Koffee for energetic sets after lineup change on Saturday

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Students started their Saturday morning hoping to catch a glimpse of Afro-Caribbean artists Kranium, Koffee and Burna Boy at Fall Fest.

While Burna Boy told the Student Association he couldn’t make his scheduled performance due to an illness Saturday morning, hundreds of students still excitedly rushed into the Center for the Arts when gates opened to secure a good view in the show.

Pop Smoke closed the night with a rap act, after openers Kranium and Koffee performed sets closer to the promised Afro-Caribbean theme, and roughly 800 people out of the 1,748 who received tickets stayed to watch the rapper’s energetic performance, according to SA President Yousouf Amolegbe. SA couldn’t determine the exact attendance due to audience members breaking through the entry point when doors initially opened. Amolegbe said the total talent cost for the show –– not including Burna Boy, who was not compensated –– was less than $80,000, while the CFA costs SA between $30-40,000 to rent. 

SA notified all ticket holders about the lineup adjustment through an email and offered full refunds to all who purchased tickets but did not want to attend due to the lineup change. 

While some students were concerned that Pop Smoke wouldn’t match the promised Afro-Caribbean theme, many students remained enthusiastic about the concert. 

Iaisha Johnson, an African and African American Studies major, thought Pop Smoke was an appropriate replacement. 

“I was kind of disappointed that Burna Boy wasn’t coming but Pop Smoke is a valid replacement,” Johnson said, “Everyone in the dorms was dancing and singing [before the show], playing his music. Everyone was hyped.”

Undecided freshman Dephil Jones agreed.

“I feel like the change from Burna Boy to Pop Smoke was honestly something that I’m very much willing to accept. I was excited for it,” Jones said. 

Those who showed up despite the lineup changes were mostly satisfied with Pop Smoke, who delivered a bombastic and energetic performance. The rapper first appeared on stage to dim lights and cell phone flashlights as he poured his water bottle on the audience. He opened his set opened with “Meet the Woo” as he upped the party vibe, calling up students onstage to dance.

“We want to see the UB baddies onstage,” Pop Smoke said, “So if your friend is the baddest b---h, point to your friend right now.”

Sophomore psychology majors Monique Nembhard and Fatoumata Camara, undecided major Ivuoma Kanu, and business major Fatou Diop were among the girls Pop Smoke brought on stage. 

The students were in shock they had the opportunity to dance on stage.

“It was the best experience. I can’t even describe it,” Camara said, “Especially because it was Pop Smoke.”

Senior mathematics major Justin Young also enjoyed the performance. 

“He put on a great performance,” Young said. “He pulled all the girls on stage. I even saw him pull my homie’s girl. I felt bad for him, but it is what it is.” 

Kranium also delivered an energetic opening act, similarly inviting audience members to the stage to dance. 

“Listen, when I’m on stage, it’s p---y time, alright,” Kranium said, “That’s just my thing. Because I just love vagina, that’s all.”

Kranium then pulled two students, including Nembhard, onto the stage for a dance battle. He joined the pair, grinding on and even lifting the girls. The wild set was filled with Kranium’s advice to students sitting in the audience. 

The artist interrupted his set to turn the lights up on the crowd and told them to hold up their middle fingers. Kranium then told audience members to follow their dreams and do what they love.


Kranium stands in front of the crowd.


The energetic, yet inspirational vibes didn’t go away when Kranium left the stage. 

Co-opener, Koffee followed Kranium’s set with her hit single “Burning.” Although it wasn’t apparent given her energy, Koffee announced that she had the flu during the performance. 

“Listen UB, I’m tired man, I just caught the flu,” Koffee said. “I’m going to still come all the way here for performing. I don’t want to give you no boring vibes.” 

Koffee lived up to her promise, jumping off the stage and climbing through the audience while performing her massive song, “Toast.” The singer went to the back of the crowd, taking videos and photos on students’ phones while making her way back to the stage.


Koffee holds a student's phone at Fall Fest Saturday. 


Amolegbe, who students said “did his thing” with the lineup, has high hopes for the upcoming Fall Fest concerts.

“It was a great show and it’s just show one,” Amolegbe said. “I think that the future of the Fall Fest concert series is looking really bright right now.”

SA is considering the possibility of rescheduling Burna Boy for a later date, according to Amolegbe. 

“There have been some very basic beginning discussions of possibly talking about rescheduling him, but that is a far distant thing for us to work on and figure out,” Amolegbe said. 

Julian Roberts-Grmela and Julianna Tracey are editors and can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com. 

JULIAN ROBERTS-GRMELA


Julian Roberts-Grmela is the features editor at The Spectrum

JULIANNA TRACEY


 Julianna Tracey is a freshman music theater and history double major. She’s excited to explore all that the Buffalo arts scene has to offer.