Rap star Wiz Khalifa finally hit the Events Center stage Sunday night, a month after the Student Association Programming Board announced he would be headlining Binghamton University’s second fall semester concert.
This was the second major concert that the SAPB has showcased this semester, but the Pittsburg native definitely still brought the crowds, along with his hip hop crew Taylor Gang.
“We overcame a lot of setbacks early in the year with the flood to bring two concerts, a festival, two comedy shows, two lectures, a Mario Kart surprise and a foam party to campus,” said Catherine Cornell, vice president for programming of the Student Association.
Khalifa has had an impressive year, with two Grammy nods for his album “Rolling Papers,” which was certified gold in June. His twitter account, @realwizkhalifa, has nearly 4 million followers.
“It’s a great idea having him,” said Toni Salama, a senior majoring in biology. “The suspense and the word spreading online made it more exciting. It was a surprise.”
According to Cornell, $15 student tickets sold out online earlier this month. The SA sold around 4,100 tickets, including $27 regular-priced tickets. Lighting and sound were done by Binghamton Sound, Stage & Lighting.
The night began as early as 5:30 p.m., when the more dedicated Wiz fans, like Simone Murray, lined up at the Events Center door.
“I bought my tickets at the online presale,” said Murray, a freshman majoring in biology. “And I’ve been here since 5:30.”
The Taylor Gang, featuring Chevy Woods and Joell Ortiz, hit the stage at 8 p.m. The duo rapped both mix tape tracks and cover songs, while simultaneously chatting up the crowd. Between songs, Ortiz exclaimed, “Long drive up here. Lot of fucking dead deer.”
At 9:40 p.m., Wiz Khalifa emerged. The crowd roared as he busted out some of his newest tracks, including his latest “Young Wild & Free” and “Five O’ Clock.” Wiz was comfortable on stage. He didn’t hold anything back, using the mic stand as a phallic object and thrusting it at the audience within the first 15 minutes of his set.
Instead of playing the “Which side of the gym is loudest,” game, Khalifa gauged the crowd by screaming out, “Who brought the best weed?” He performed his biggest hits like “No Sleep,” “Roll Up” and “Black and Yellow.” While the set spanned an hour, the star’s shirt was off by the 40-minute mark.
Jodi Ezratty, a senior majoring in biochemistry, was pleasantly surprised by the rapper’s performance.
“Wiz is a good dancer,” she said. “He had a cool vibe that I wasn’t expecting, and I’m going to listen to more.”
Some students who were expecting a second coming of Drake found themselves disappointed. Drake’s sold-out concert last fall was so hyped that students were camped outside the Events Center as early as 5 a.m. For many fans, Wiz wasn’t on that level, performing for only an hour — less than the opening act — and often singing shorter versions of his songs.
“He didn’t live up to the hype,” said Tyler Helmrich, a freshman majoring in mechanical engineering. “He didn’t sing much, just pointed the mic at the crowd.”
According to Cornell, Wiz was the second most requested act in the SAPB’s email survey, next to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Also, tickets for the show were the lowest priced ever for an Events Center concert. Many students agreed the concert was a lot of fun.
“Look out for the next survey being sent out over winter break,” Cornell said. “Spring Fling is my favorite holiday and I’m going to make sure it’s fun for everyone.”
After an entertainment roster as unpredictable as ours this fall, it will be exciting to see what’s next.