Hip-hop dominates Springfest

Hip-hop dominates Springfest

By Samantha Egan

Despite the album title, “Hip-hop is Dead,” of this year’s Springfest headliner, hip-hop will be in full force at Matthews Arena April 14.

The Council for University Programs (CUP) announced the lineup for a hip-hop-dominated concert, which will include Def Jam recording artist Nas, as well as Lupe Fiasco, Gym Class Heroes and RJD2.

Jeff Maimon, CUP concert committee chair said he is proud of this year’s lineup and the process of choosing and negotiating the bands “went very smoothly.”

CUP pursued Nas after his booking agent mentioned he was available. According to a press release from CUP, Nas’ success in the music industry has been apparent for more than 10 years. Nas’ latest album, released December 2006, reached No. 1 on the R’B/Hip-hop charts and was on the Billboard Top 200 for more than three weeks.

The selection of Lupe Fiasco followed soon after, since he shared the same booking agent as Nas. Fiasco has also proven a prevalent face in the music industry with his three Grammy nominations and his album Food and Liquor breaking the top 10 on the Billboard Top 200 charts.

Gym Class Heroes are meant to round out the hip-hop acts with their punk flair.

“We realized it was becoming a hip-hop show and wanted to appeal to as many audiences as possible,” Maimon said.

In the press release, Maimon praised the band’s mix of hip-hop and punk rock, saying their performance is “as unique and energetic as you can get.”

Maimon mentioned it was also important to get a good DJ, therefore booking one was first on his agenda.

“DJs warm up the crowd and keep the crowd into it,” he said. He also mentioned since DJs play all different genres of music, it would further attract a wide variety of music tastes. RJD2 will perform at the beginning of the concert and between acts.

This year’s hip-hop themed concert was not tied to Springfest’s spy theme.

“It’s hard to find artists that fit the actual theme,” Maimon said. “CUP and I decided it doesn’t necessarily have to fit the theme but it is still very much a part of Springfest.”

The concert will be held Saturday, April 14 at about 6:15 p.m., with doors opening around 5 p.m. The 4,000 seats will be equally divided into floor and upper-level seats. Unlike last year, however, the floor will have seats rather than allowing audience members to stand due to a change in Boston fire codes.

Tickets will go on sale March 28 at Matthews Arena and through the myNEU portal. Tickets are $5 for Northeastern students, who will have a week to buy them before sales open to all other Boston-based college students. Non-Northeastern student tickets are $10.

Maimon said he is confident CUP will achieve its goal of selling out the show, despite the diversity of music tastes among Northeastern students.

“Northeastern students are so diverse, it’s so hard to please everyone at the school,” he said.

With a wide range of artists – Dashboard Confessional, The Violent Femmes, Mix Master Mike and Jurrassic 5 – in last year’s concert, Maimon said, in January, it was difficult to keep the arena full throughout the entire concert because students came and went for different portions of the diverse lineup. In Springfest 2005, Moby headlined with Less than Jake and the Dropkick Murphys as opening performers.

Mike Weisberg, a junior criminal justice major, said he was looking forward to the “focused element” of this year’s concert compared to past Springfests.

“I’m a big rock and hip-hop fan,” Weisberg said. “You have Nas, who’s album ‘Hip Hop is Dead’ is great … and RJD2 is a pretty good underground artist. It’s nice they kept it coherent.”

Some students said they felt this year’s concert was a “good mix.”

“I love it,” said Kelly McDougal, freshman criminal justice major . “I like them all.”

Sophmore marketing major Elisabeth Marquis said she was looking forward to Gym Class Heroes and heard Nas’ new CD was “supposed to be really good.”

Other students, like senior music major Zach Bruning, were not familiar with all of the acts.

“I like Nas but the rest of them, I could care less, to be honest with you,” Bruning said. “I’ve never heard of the Gym Class Heroes, but maybe they’ll be cool. It’s good to have a mix.”

Freshman athletic training major Corey Lanois on the ohter hand, said he has only heard of Gym Class Heroes, but still plans to attend the concert.

More information about the acts and Springfest week can be found at www.cup.neu.edu.

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