Binghamton University has a tradition of having artists play on campus right before they make it to the big leagues. Most of them already had one or two hit songs under their belts when they arrived here, but some achieved further stardom after performing at our very own Events Center. Here’s a look back of some of the artists who gave BU students the bragging rights of saying they “saw them before they were famous.”
In our most recent fall concert, California rapper Amalaratna Zandile Dlamini, known as Doja Cat, performed to a small but dedicated fan base of students as the opening act for Gucci Mane. At the time, Doja Cat was known for her viral 2018 song, “Mooo!”. Many students came dressed in cow ears or cow-printed shirts while Doja Cat herself was donned in leopard print from head to toe. While many who attended the concert were already fans of her music, little did they know she was going to be even better known when her second studio album, “Hot Pink” was released less than a month later. Users of the social media app, TikTok, created viral dances to songs like “Say So” and “Like That,” which features Gucci Mane, while “Boss Bitch” and “Cyber Sex” also became popular audios for videos on the platform.
Riding high on his hit songs “Congratulations” and “rockstar (feat. 21 Savage),” which released less than a month beforehand, Syracuse-born musician Post Malone performed at BU’s fall concert in 2017. The concert was a big deal to many at BU, with tickets selling out in a matter of minutes and some being resold online for over $100. During his performance, Malone hyped up the audience by interacting with them, introducing himself with his real name, Austin Richard Post, and thanking the crowd for “getting lit” while he sang with a cup of “apple juice” in his hands. While Malone was already a well-known artist, his fame grew bigger with the release of his second album, “Beerbongs & Bentleys,” which was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2019 Grammys. Additionally, “rockstar (feat. 21 Savage)” was nominated for Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance and “Better Now” was nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance. With his third album, “Hollywood’s Bleeding,” released in 2019, Post Malone has now reached phenomenal stardom and might go down in history as one of the defining artists of this decade.
Baltimore-based rapper Barrington DeVaughn Hendricks, also known as JPEGMAFIA or Peggy, already had a loyal but small following before he performed in the Undergrounds in 2018 as part of a Binghamton Underground Music Presents (BUMP) show. Known for his politically charged verses, Peggy was born in Brooklyn and served in Iraq for four years, and later gained acclaim in 2018 with the release of his album “Veteran.” In the Undergrounds, Peggy’s BUMP show turned into a mosh pit within the small and intimate area. In 2019, Peggy released the album “All My Heroes Are Cornballs,” which gained more critical acclaim for its experimental hip-hop and punk sound and debuted at No. 105 on the Billboard 200. He is still releasing new content, including several “quarantine visuals” in which he creates documentary-style episodes with music. The episodic series, called “How To Build A Relationship,” features casual conversations, friends and other musicians like Omar Apollo, Kenny Beats and Danny Brown. While not a chart-topper yet, JPEGMAFIA is on the road to fame through his thought-provoking music.
Donald Glover is known for his many talents, including acting, comedy, directing and rapping. Before his rise to fame as Childish Gambino, Glover was known for his comedy chops as a writer for the television show “30 Rock,” and as Troy Barnes in the comedy television show “Community.” When he performed for BU’s fall concert in 2012, Gambino had only his debut album “Camp” under his belt, which debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200. Those who attended the concert were fans already, leading to Gambino saying, “Give it up for yourselves for being the fucking dopest audience. I love [BU], you guys know the fuckin’ words to my songs. That’s crazy.” Less than a year later, Gambino released “Because the Internet,” which included hit songs like “Sweatpants,” “3005” and “Crawl.” Since then, Gambino has made big strides in the music industry with “Awaken, My Love!” which includes the iconic song “Redbone.” Gambino found further success with the 2018 song “This Is America” with politically charged lyrics about police brutality and gun violence in America. Childish Gambino is now a legendary artist who only grew bigger after his BU performance.