Urban Arts Fest at UC Irvine Last Night

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Albert Chen
Urban Arts Fest
April 6, 2011
UC Irvine


The crowd got hyped last night as hip-hop artists Fashawn, Dom Kennedy, Cobe Obeah and Yancy Deron made their way to the stage. At first, it didn't seem as if the room--with a maximum occupancy of about 1,000--would fill up. But around 7 p.m., the room became stuffy and inundated with enthusiastic hip-hop fans.     
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Albert Chen
Cobe Obeah
Host Nduka Unaka encouraged audience members to showcase a few dance moves on stage.  For a while, it seemed as though I was at a stand-up comedy show, especially when one guy went on stage flapping his hands and awkwardly contorting his body.

Yancy Deron performed a couple of songs off Sweet Sixteens including the song "Flash" off of his album, The Underdogs. Some of the guys in the crowd couldn't keep their eyes off the woman strutting on stage as Deron was singing.
    Fashawn who performed songs off his popular album, Boy Meets World, and provided an interesting spin on the song, "Day and Night." It seemed like there were definitely more ladies edging towards the stage and throwing their hands up in the air while some of the guys were just texting the night away.

That all changed though, when the words "free" and "t-shirt" were uttered.
    I admit --Fashawn's hit song, "Life as a Shorty" was definitely well worth the watch in person. He started off by dedicating the song to "those who didn't have it easy while growing up." (If you haven't seen the music video, you should definitely watch it--it has some crazy cool beats and storyline to it.) The DJ later took it back old school with Fashawn's song, "Samsonite Man" which got the crowd thirsting for more.
    When Cobe Obeah came on stage with his fresh black Nikes, the crowd seemed to fall into a trance, especially when he started freestyle rapping  acapella. He would constantly jump up and down on stage to keep the audience from dozing off. Obeah used Florence and the Machine's "Cosmic Love" with his own flow; towards the end of his performance, he said, "Hip-hop ain't dead. Five years ago it had a heart attack. Now it's time to put it BACK!"
    It seemed that most of the
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Albert Chen
Dom Kennedy
 students were at the show solely to see Dom Kennedy, who performed last.
    Before he performed, he did a little tribute to Nate Dogg with his song, "Regulate" playing in the background as the crowd cheered and waved their hands. Technical difficulties made for a start and stop performance, but once it was on, it was ON. Several die-hard Kennedy fans could be seen reciting lyrics while jamming to the music.  Some of the songs he performed were "Menace Beach," "Locals Only" and "A Leimert Park Song" off "From the Westside With Love" and "25th hour." All in all, it was great seeing four great hip-hop artists at one  event.
    
Critic's Bias:  LOVE these four artists. Just sayin.'

The Crowd: Mostly college students and a few non-UCI students. At times, it felt like the crowd wasn't enthused as they could have been. Maybe it was because some of the students just came out of a torturous three-hour lecture or what not. But by the second half of the event, it seemed like they were ready to party.

Overheard in the crowd:
"I need to piss so badly, but I'm gonna hold it until Dom Kennedy performs!!"
"This is sick. After this show, I'm going to go get a burrito."
"How do you spell Fashawn? I'm going to look him up right now."

Random Notebook Dump: I must not have gotten the memo, because there are so many people with Angels hats in the room.




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