Students gathered in the UC Ballroom on Friday, eagerly awaiting the reveal of the Quadmania artist by SEB. Photo by Judy Odili.
It was announced on Friday that rapper and trap artist, 21 Savage, will be performing at the school’s annual Quadmania concert.
This year, the Student Events Board decided to revamp the way they reveal the artist for Quadmania. Instead of the usual five to ten minute reveal of the artist on Commons Main Street, SEB planned and orchestrated a two hour party surrounding the reveal in the UC Ballroom on Friday.
The bright, neon decorations and lights set the tone for dancing before the artist was revealed. A UMBC dance group, Major Definition, took charge of the party’s dance floor, and even performed on stage before the ultimate reveal.
When it was revealed via video that 21 Savage, a 25-year-old rapper who recently made the Billboard Top Ten, would be performing in this year’s Quadmania, the crowd on the UC Ballroom dance floor became electric, brimming with excitement.
Some students were either unaware of the artist or disinterested. For these people, the spectacle of the reveal party felt like a waste of time.
Born Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, 21 Savage was born in Roseau, Dominica, and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. When he was younger, he joined a gang called 21 and participated in drug dealing. It was around the time that his friend was shot and killed during an attempted robbery that 21 Savage decided to use rapping as a way to turn from the risky life he was leading. The first part of his stage name comes from the name of the gang he belonged to, but the latter part “came out of nowhere. [He] was just looking for an Instagram name.”
Savage began making music in 2015 with his debut mixtape, “Slaughter Tape.” He notably worked on this project with only a Macbook and a microphone. His debut studio album, “Issa Album,” was successful on the Billboard 200 chart, making the Top Ten. The leading single on the album, “Bank Account,” was played during the reveal video at the party. Savage was also featured on fellow hip-hop artist Post Malone’s single “Rockstar,” which also topped the Billboard Hot 100 at its highest point.
While learning of Savage’s success was interesting, the selection of this performer did not particularly excite some people at the reveal. Some choose to opt out of attending the Quadmania concerts, finding the Homecoming Comedy Shows to be more enticing. Considering the acclaim 2017’s Homecoming comedian, Trevor Noah, holds in comparison to 21 Savage, it is more likely that people know of Noah because of his TV presence. However, even in other such events involving lesser-known artists, such as 2014 Homecoming comedian Bo Burnham, who had much less TV presence than Noah, people could still come to the show expecting to laugh. Comedy succeeds best with unexpected jokes and commentary. With music, on the other hand, many people already have an idea of what and who they like to listen to, so it can be harder to attain a merely curious attendee.
It also felt as if there was a lack of planning involving the reveal party. There was no post of the party on myUMBC. The event, which was supposed to start at 8 p.m., opened its doors approximately 10 minutes late. The time slot of the event also felt disproportionate to its initial draw, and the actual reveal took about an hour to commence.
Having the artist reveal at free hour, as was done last year, allows the information to quickly disperse throughout the student body, but having the event on Friday night can exclude students who commute, go to work, go to other events, or visit home.
21 Savage will be on tour with Post Malone around the time he will be performing at UMBC. The video that SEB used to reveal Savage’s performance also hinted that he could bring a guest. The tickets for the Quadmania Concert will go live on Monday, Feb. 26.