Students weigh expectations before Lil Baby concert


Zach Lewis

Lights, beats and hip hop echoed through the Whittemore Center Arena last Friday night as students and Durham community members united to for UNH’s annual spring concert hosted by the Student Committee on Popular Entertainment (SCOPE), headlined by rapper Lil Baby and opener J.I.D.  

As hundreds lined around Memorial Field waiting for the concert, the Hamel Recreation Center turned away concert goers that tried to use the restroom there. Some pretended to exercise but their jeans and tube tops gave them away to the staff at the gym. In front of Memorial Field, Delta Xi Phi was fundraising for multi-cultural awareness by selling grilled cheese sandwiches for $1. 

As the doors opened and attendants were let inside, every concert-goer was extensively patted down. There were police from all over the state, from Laconia to Newmarket, that helped provide security for the event. Stacey Hall, the director of Campus Recreation, mentioned that the police department looks at how security is handled at other venues where the artists have performed to help gauge the resources they will need for the evening. She stressed that it was the typical amount of security for a concert though. 

The crowd grew as well as the excitement.  

“I really wanted to see Lil Baby because he’s like a top 50 artist right now. Plus, J.I.D. is real cool and I want to see what he’s like,” sophomore zoology major Josh Lockwood said. His friend, Mike Mickewicz, a home healthcare provider and recent UNH graduate, expressed greater interest in seeing the opening act.  

“I just came to see J.I.D. mostly. He’s one of the up-and-coming rappers. I think he has a lot of potential,” Mickewicz said. “He’s super dope.”   

Sophomore animal science major Teagan Rhoades held a similar sentiment.  

“I like J.I.D; I kind of like Lil Baby but I’m here to see J.I.D.,” Rhoades said.  

A DJ started off the night at 8 p.m. to pump up the crowd for the two rappers. Intense bass rumbled throughout the arena. During the first hour, several concert-goers were shuttled out of the floor pit for various reasons, while paramedics and police on the scene worked to detain those seen as a disturbance in the eyes of the law.  

The first hour also saw a barricade on the front left side of the floor break open, causing various security team members, police, SCOPE, and Whittemore Center employees to rig a cinch strap to two added pieces of barricade to hold the crowd inside. 

After the DJ set, chants for J.I.D. filled the arena. He came on-stage and performed to loud cheers and applause. After his first song he addressed the crowd.  

“Alright, check this out,” the opener told concert-goers. “Hey y’all on my right side, right side over here, make some m*****f****** noise! People make m*****f****** noise! What’s up?”  

Thundering applause responded to his inquiry as he added, “We’ve got some good vibes here. I know it’s cool to be together. This next song is for all the underdogs.”  

J.I.D. performed his hits, tried out a new song that he was working on and even performed “Off Da Zoinkys,” a single off his new album Dicaprio 2, that involved a video with the star of the movie Baby Driver, Ansel Elgort.    

J.I.D. also disposed life advice for his fans and attendees.  

“This s*** is all about activation. If you in school, if you taking care of your job and s***; make sure you take care of that s***. Just get some m*****f****** money. That’s all I ask y’all. Just know that I support y’all to get some money,” J.I.D. proclaimed to loud cheers. “Just take care of responsibilities, bro. It’s 2019, it’s the year of activation. So, let’s do that s***, right, I’m trying to do that s*** for myself so make sure y’all do it for yourselves. Cause all of y’all got like super-star, genius level talent. I can tell, I can see some of your faces, like, you really look cool and you’re really smart and s***.”  

J.I.D had an energetic performance, and during the brief intermission, most people tried to find water to cool off. People were excited for Lil Baby to come to the stage and concert-goers talked about their favorite Lil Baby songs.  

“It’s obviously the most played one, but either ‘Drip Too Hard’ or ‘Ride My Wave,” Kimmy Cooper-Henry, a sophomore majoring in pre-law and political science told The New Hampshire.   

Despite arriving nearly 10 minutes following the start of his set, Lil Baby appeared to ardent applause and performed his latest and greatest hits while seamlessly segueing between each number. Those sitting alongside and in the bowl cheered, danced, and sung along with the rap artist. While Lil Baby did not say much to the crowd himself, he let his music do the talking for him. 

When the concert finally ended close to 11:30 p.m., it took around student workers, including first-year mechanical engineering major Noah Phillips, three hours to shut everything down after all the attendees left. Phillips added that they’d most likely finish around 2:30 a.m. 

SCOPE puts on a concert in the fall and spring semester every year at UNH