Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion has been making waves in the rap industry since releasing her first mixtape earlier this year, “Fever.” Megan, who is currently a third-year student at Texas A&M, signed to Jay-Z’s label, Roc Nation, before being announced as one of the artists performing at UMBC’s Fall Fest.
On the night of Nov. 21, the line to get into the University Center Ballroom looks more like an amorphous blob. A small handful of student workers affiliated with the Student Events Board verbally chastise concert guests who attempt to cut the line. “For all of you who are cutting the line: Don’t!” a young woman shouts, wrapping her UMBC logo coat tight around her shoulders. And later, paramedics wheel stretchers into the Engineering building to hold on standby. “Just in case,” says a nearby officer.
Luckily, no one is harmed during Megan Thee Stallion’s performance this night, save for those in the front of the audience who push to the stage once the rapper appears, standing six feet tall, and dressed in a blue, revealing two-piece. This identity as a “stallion,” or a tall and attractive woman, is what Meg has built her fan base upon.
She shifted her concept of the “hot girl summer” into that of a “hot girl semester” once she resumed taking classes in health policy administration. She embodies confidence, sex positivity and, not to mention, has an ability to spit incredible rhymes. According to the Student Events Board, all 700 of her Fall Fest tickets sold out in a record time of twelve minutes when they went on sale in October.
Her performance is more intimate than DaBaby’s on account of the smaller audience size and smaller venue. Both artists have collaborated with each other in the past year, resulting in an overlap of fans at each concert. An audience member at both Fall Fest concerts, senior Biology major Darius Mckoy, commented on the difference in venue size, “There’s no way this show sold out! DaBaby’s [performance] was way more packed.”
However, venue locations and ticket numbers were both non-disclosable items of negotiation between UMBC and the external artists. It can also be difficult for UMBC to bring big artists to perform during the spring semester when performers like Meg or DaBaby might choose to play festivals or go on tour.
“The specific location of each performance is based on the contract we have with either artist,” explains senior psychology major and SEB president Mayra Perez-Oliver. “We wanted to make the show affordable and accessible to a large part of our UMBC community so that is another factor that plays into the negotiations,” she says.
She credits Jen Dress, Associate Director of Campus Life for securing the contracts for DaBaby and Megan Thee Stallion. SEB remains optimistic about how the new Fall Fest will continue to improve student life on campus in upcoming years.“The fact that we have the opportunity to bring two great artists in the fall is a blessing,” Perez-Oliver says.
The thousands of students, faculty and alumni who engaged with or attended these new concerts are building important new traditions in UMBC’s fall semester. Fall Fest is giving the UMBC community the opportunity to offset its hard academic life with big musical artists, such as Megan Thee Stallion, who celebrate its hard-working population.