Live music. Neon lights. Happy fans. Marijuana clouds.
Roughly 15,000 music fans filled Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome on Friday night, April 29, for this year’s Block Party, hosted by University Union. While the headliner may have been three-time Grammy Award nominee Kid Cudi, the real show consisted of the opening acts: Tinie Tempah, Damian Marley and Nas.
Doors opened at 6 p.m. Fans trickled in over the next two hours or so. British rapper Tinie Tempah commanded the stage just after 7 p.m. in front of a thin audience. Smoothly rapping over well-known songs like Far East Movement’s “Like a G6” and Chris Brown’s “Look at me Now,” he had the crowd jumping out of their seats and dancing along. His set lasted about 30 minutes.
The energy in the room only grew as three-time Grammy Award winner Damien Marley and nine-time Grammy nominee Nas graced the stage. A fiery blend of reggae and hip-hop, the duo dominated underneath bright lights of red, yellow and green. Lighters waved and smokers puffed.
Marley and Nas performed a few songs from last year’s
full-length collaboration album, Distant Relatives, like “As We Enter” and
“Africa Must Wake Up.” They also performed individually. Marley had fans in a
trancelike state slowly swaying while Nas had them shouting his skillfully
written lyrics to notable rap tracks like “Got Yourself A …” and “If I Ruled
the World.” Together, they performed a two-hour set, complete with energetic
dancers and a dizzying flag-twirler.
And then, there came Kid Cudi. He paraded around the stage, constantly giving accolades to his band and trying to convince himself that he was in front of a high-energy crowd that wasn’t quite. The band, consisting of a guitarist, drummer, keyboardist and deejay, overpowered him. With Cudi’s head buried into his mike, his voice was muddled and his sound was like a chorus of groans.
He opened with the unmoving “Revofev” off his latest album, “Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager.” The crowd was silent and seemed confused—strikingly in contrast with its loud chanting of “Cudi, Cudi” leading up to his appearance. The atmosphere improved after he performed popular sing-along tracks like “Soundtrack to my Life” and “Erase Me.” Fans seemed interested, rushed toward the stage and formed a crowded semi-circle around the rapper.
Just when Cudi seemed to have Syracuse going, he ended his set. He finished off with “Pursuit of Happiness,” thanked whatever was left of the crowd, and disappeared within seconds. There was no request for an encore.