Ludacris, Lupe Fiasco electrify student crowd

One is a camouflage-clad lyrical sharpshooter, a whirlwind freshly blown in from the windy city. The other is a highly accomplished living legend, raised through hot Atlanta summers, sporting a gray-and-white varsity jacket.

Alone, they are Grammy Award winners, film stars and international celebrities. Together, the electrifying combination of Lupe Fiasco and Ludacris injected the Student Recreation Center crowd Friday with a nearly lethal dose of rap and hip hop, as the poetic powerhouses performed deep into the cool February night.

Although tickets were sold in advance, students began lining up in the drizzle more than an hour before the doors opened at 7 p.m. to see one of the the biggest concerts in school history. Energized by free cans of Red Bull distributed before the show, 2,500 students packed the Student Recreation Center to full capacity, awaiting what would be a stellar performance.

Following the opener, a burst of flashing light erupted from the stage and over the crowd. One by one, Lupe Fiasco’s posse came to the stage and the first man of the hour flew from darkness into view and immediately into his opening song, “Instrumental.”

The raw energy generated by Fiasco spilled into the crowd as hands stayed up, waving and pulsing to such songs as “Hello Goodbye,” “Go Go Gadget” and “Little Weapon.”

Following his song “Streets on Fire,” Fiasco said he would begin singing songs that were nominated for Grammy Awards.

Crowd participation skyrocketed when “Kick Push” and “Paris Tokyo” were performed but when the opening piano notes of Fiasco’s monster hit, “Superstar” began to play, there were few who were not singing along with the superstar.

Fiasco closed the show with his Grammy award-winning “Daydreamin,'” leaving the student body excited and ready for the next act.

Not long after Fiasco concluded, the Rec Center was set for Christopher Bridges, a.k.a. Ludacris, to ascend the stage.

With the help of his DJ, he prompted the crowd to scream as loudly as their larynxes would allow before he came out.

Once decibel levels reached their maximum height, Ludacris arrived onstage and kicked off his set with “Southern Fried Intro/Blow it Out.”

Ludacris then proceeded to make everyone in the crowd raise their middle fingers and shout “Fuck you Luda” at him for making them wait, which led into the song, “Everybody Hates Chris.”

Ludacris performed the majority of his biggest hits throughout the night, including “Get Back,” “Stand Up,” “Move Bitch,” “One More Drink” and “Pimpin’ All Over the World.”

The clear highlight of Ludacris’ set was his performance of “What’s Your Fantasy.”

During the song, Shawna, the original female voice on the track, came out to perform as well, and following the end of “What’s Your Fantasy,” Luda handed her his microphone.

Shawna then went into a rap of her own, alternating back and forth quickly between the microphones for an impressive performance.

Ludacris finished his set with the well-known “Money Maker,” and although the crowd screamed for several minutes for an encore, he did not return to the stage.

Attic, a rhythm and blues band comprised solely of students from the College, opened the show with Stevie Wonder’s classic, “Superstitious.” Attic covered several other songs and played two originals.

Senior biology major and vocalist Mina Greiss described the originals as “a blend of classical themes mixed with modern styles.”

The crowd was receptive, energetic and excited for the openers, singing along to the songs they already knew, and listening intently to the ones they did not.

“I thought it went well. We put a lot of hard work into this and were really nervous at first, but when we got on stage, we let loose and everything just fell through,” senior biology major Jeremy Bernardo said.

“We put our best effort into it and we got the best thing out of it,” Greiss said. “This was the best opportunity I’ve ever had. I think they all loved it and I hope they want to see us again.”

For only $15, students were able to see two huge artists, each with their own original style and engaging music perform on their campus – a massive bargain.

College Union Board (CUB) director, senior Katerina Gkionis said, “This was the smoothest and best-run concert that we have ever had. I feel that Attic, Lupe Fiasco and Ludacris all had great energy and really got the crowd pumped up.”

Gkionis also said, “I think students will recognize this as the concert that put (the College) on the map. This definitely made students proud of their school. This is only the beginning of the events that CUB hopes to plan in the years to come.”

Bobby Olivier can be reached at olivier6@tcnj.edu.