Rapper Playboi Carti headlines the spring concert
With the sound of an alarm and gunshot sound effects, the crowd at the Bob Carpenter Center erupted into cheers; and with good reason: rapper Playboi Carti was headlining the university’s spring concert.
As the bass pounded in my ears, I watched as Carti jumped on stage and sang his hit songs “Shoota,” “Magnolia” and “wokeuplikethis*” to an intimate crowd of university students and fans alike.
The doors of the Bob opened at 6:30 p.m. and fans slowly began taking their seats, filling half of the arena by 8 p.m. Prior to Carti’s performance, Matt Ox, a 14-year-old rapper and Philadelphia native opened, performing songs from his debut album OX. He took the stage dressed in a neon green track suit with his signature shaggy black hair covering the top half of his face. The audience went wild as he jumped around the stage and finally off of it, running through the crowd of screaming fans.
As Ox left the stage, chants for Carti began and the energy in the room multiplied.
Carti took the stage just before 10 p.m., welcomed by ear-piercing cheers as he walked on stage in a casual t-shirt and pants, his eyes covered by sunglasses. He began rapping and casually nodding to his songs, pausing occasionally to listen to the audience rap along. In between each track, gunshot sound effects would play and vibrate throughout the arena.
Halfway through his performance, Carti leapt off the stage and ran to the bleacher seating, jumping into the crowd to continue his song. He took pictures and videos with fans as they swarmed him on either side.
Bouncing around again, he walked by the first row of fans, close enough for them to reach out and touch him. He then hoisted himself up on the barrier and performed above the crowd, held up by his security team.
The concert was hosted by Academy Entertainment Group (AEG) and was their first major event since becoming a record label.
The group began preparation for the show a year back and began promotion just 6 weeks ago. A day before the event, they announced on their Facebook page that Matt Ox would be added to the bill.
“This is our first major event,” Pierce Ripanti, co-founder of Academy Entertainment Group said after the show. “We think it was lit, people coming out, having a good time, and ideally we want to sell out the whole arena, that’s going to be the next event.”
As Carti began to wrap up his set, an audience member jumped on stage and caught the rapper off guard. The police tackled him quickly and carried him out of the venue.
The concert ended just 2 minutes after; the energy in the room tense after the bold jump by the fan.
As the lights turned on and the Bob cleared out, freshman Natasha Kalwachwala reflected on her night.
“I thought the concert was good,” she said. “I just wish more people came out.”
Her friend, Zoe Singleton, a student at Temple University, said she enjoyed being so close to the performance.
“I thought it was really fun, and I really liked being close to the stage,” Singleton said.
The founders and members of AEG were the last to leave. As they packed up backstage, they reflected on their first large show.
“It was a successful event, lit show, Carti even came into the crowd which was unexpected,” Jonathan Hickman, co-founder of the label, said. “Hopefully we can come back and do something bigger.”