Lyttle ‘turns’ the beat around with some soca and dancehall

Two girls walked into the Recreation Center on Nov. 9, their faces and shirts shining with glitter and marker. They were there to attend the Kevin Lyttle Dance Party, sponsored by the College Union Board (CUB), featuring none other than hip-hop/R&B sensation Kevin Lyttle.

Meredith Brazinski, freshman biology major, showed off the front of her shirt, which said “We” while the back said “Turn.”

Brazinski’s friend Brittany Denitzio, freshman English and elementary education major, showed off her shirt as well, which had a heart on the front and said, “The” on the back.

According to Brazinski and Denitzio, a third friend was supposed to wear a shirt with “KL” on the front and “On” on the back, but she was unable to attend. When standing together, the front of their shirts would spell “We heart Kevin Lyttle,” while their backs would spell out his hit song “Turn me on.”

“We love Kevin Lyttle,” Brazinski said, showing the “K” and “L” on both her and Denitzio’s cheeks.

The concert, in addition to featuing Lyttle, also included the music of the Webster Hall DJs and rapper Mr. Cheeks with guest star BabyDoll.

“CUB has wanted to bring a hip-hop/R&B/rap artist for some time and has had trouble,” Stefan Hayden, senior graphic arts major and coordinator for the event, said. “We felt that Kevin Lyttle was the best option to promote a dance party who is current as well as in the price range of (the College).”

Despite poor attendance and a lack of dancing at the concert, those who did attend said they enjoyed themselves as they cheered for the acts onstage and spent time with their friends.

“Many (were) concerned about either not knowing his name or only knowing his one song,” Hayden said. “(But) CUB acknowledges that Kevin Lyttle’s CD is a solid dance album.”

Lyttle took the stage at the end of the night, playing several songs from his debut album “Kevin Lyttle” and getting the crowd hyped with his unique blend of Caribbean soca, American R&B and Jamaican dancehall. He describes his sound of soca as being a mixture of soul and calypso with the added American R&B.

Throughout his 45-minute set, he danced around the stage and encouraged the crowd to sing along with him. In the end, he invited several girls onstage to dance with him and organized a contest, allowing the audience to choose which girl performed the best.

“(I am) happy to have an album and one song,” Lyttle said. “I like the vibe of touching people in a special way.”

Lyttle, who came from a poor family, has been singing since he was a little boy. As an only child, his parents encouraged him to follow his dream and make his career happen.

His dream has taken shape and, in addition to his enormous success and a No. 1 hit overseas, his self-titled album with songs he co-wrote is now making a big splash in the states as well.

The concert began with the Webster Hall DJs playing club songs for the crowd, including Usher’s “Yeah” and Nina Skye’s “Move Your Body.”

Concertgoers were also treated to free tee-shirts, glow sticks and other prizes from the DJs.

Following this opening, Mr. Cheeks of the Lost Boyz came onstage with older songs as well as ones from his new rap album “Ladies and Ghettomen.” His set featured his DJ, Big Rap, who kept the crowd involved in the performance and who also spins for Hot 97 in New York City. Big Rap will release his own album in January.

Mr. Cheeks began performing in Virginia in 1991 with the Lost Boyz before releasing a solo album in 2001. After the success of his first album and single “Lights, Camera, Action!” he released his second disc this year.

“Whenever a mic was around, I wanted to get the mic,” he said. “I’m in love with the music.”

He included a few songs with BabyDoll in his set. BabyDoll, who has a self-titled album available, met Mr. Cheeks a few years ago in Miami and began working with him after already becoming a fan of his work.

“I love to express myself this way,” she said. “I can write songs and I can sing.”

BabyDoll said she was thrilled to be performing at the College as she prefers performing at schools, where it seems there is a great deal more energy than in other venues.

Overall, the main acts were a success and those in attendance enjoyed themselves.

“The concert was something to do on Tuesday night and I like (Lyttle’s) music,” Dan Beckelman, freshman open options major in the School of Culture and Society said.

“I came to have a good time and because I like to dance,” Karen Frustaci, freshman business major, said