By GRACE HOWIE
On Thursday, March 30, the University of Mary Washington welcomed Waka Flocka Flame and D.R.A.M. With the help of volunteers, the Campus Programming Board transformed the Anderson Center into a concert venue fitting of these two rappers.
Waka Flocka Flame opened the show accompanied by DJ Whoo Kid. Senior Cole Hodges said that he had never gone to the spring concert before but came specifically to see Waka Flocka Flame, as did many. The rapper is well-known and drew a large crowd, and many who went to the spring concert last year, like sophomore Nabeel Mirza, noted that the crowd was much larger this year.
“[I was] surprised UMW was able to get Waka,” Mirza said.
Waka Flocka Flame exuded the energy one would expect from his music, never ceasing to hype up the crowd and even trying to start a mosh-pit. Throughout the set he stood on the speakers, ran across the stage and even ended up in the middle of the crowd. His set featured all the classics a Flocka Flame fan would have hoped for and even featured an, perhaps accidental, acapella version of his hit ‘No Hands,’ which the whole crowd gladly joined in on. It seemed to be an error on the sound side, guessing from the slightly panicked look on the DJ’s face, but Flocka Flame performed like a professional and seamlessly played it off and it ended up being one of the greatest moments of the night.
D.R.A.M. followed, wearing glasses and a red hat that stood out in comparison to the rest of his dark outfit. He started his set by saying, “If you love your Momma let me hear you,” and repeatedly focusing on the idea of love throughout creating an inviting and inclusive atmosphere.
The artist is less known in comparison to Flocka Flame, but as Mirza stated “he’s pretty new and up and coming,” so the school might be ahead of the game on this one.
Throughout the set he showcased his vocal ability, even boasting, and mentioning his NPR tiny desk concert halfway through his set. What Flocka had in energy, D.R.A.M. had in artistry. He showed that he isn’t just the rapper many would think he is, but rather he is a singer, proving he deserved his self-appointed title of someone who “does real a** music.” He was accompanied by a live set-up of drums, guitar and keyboard, along with a DJ. The addition of live instrumentals gave a completely different concert-going experience compared to Flocka Flame and with this contrast, somehow D.R.A.M. while less known, felt like a more authentic performer, and I’m sure he left with new fans.
The last song he sang was the song everyone knows him for; “Broccoli.” He began it as a softer smoother version than what most of the crowd is used to, until it progressed into the familiar melody and everyone sang along causing it to be one of the best final moments of the show. He ended the show by promoting himself and encouraging the female members of the crowd to hit him up.
Compared to the spring concert in past years, the combination of these artists was an improvement as the stylistic similarities proved to be a success when paired. It also lessened the mass exodus between sets as those who liked one stayed for the other and vice-versa.
Freshman Adam Thomson was surprised by the quality of performers CPB was able to book for the concert, saying “How on earth did we get [them], this being a small school and all. [I] never thought we’d have someone like this here, and the fact I got to see both for five dollars.”
One thing that was repeated constantly when talking to concert-goers was that while the show itself and the acts were incredible, the crowd was not.
UMW junior Freshta Fazli mentioned that people kept stepping on her feet and pushing each other. One concertgoer even unhooked her bra, and she said this had a negative impact on her experience.
She wasn’t alone in this. Freshman Hailee Morse saw a fight in the middle of the crowd, and her friend got hit several times despite not being involved.
Freshman Maddie Williams said she has been to many concerts before but never rap. She didn’t expect a rowdy crowd, and she got shoved around from every angle.
Overall, CPB put on another great spring concert. With the weight of Waka Flocka Flame’s name and how current D.R.A.M. is, it will be hard to top next year.