Big Sean visits “Paradise” for Freaker’s Ball

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Big Sean performs at 2015 Freaker's Ball headlined by Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh. Mohammed F Emran | Web Editor.

With hundreds of Boca girls in the crowd, Big Sean was still missing that one special lady — his girlfriend, a Boca native and pop vocalist Ariana Grande.

Doug E Fresh AKA “The Human Beat Box” punches the air as he completes a long beatboxing session. Max Jackson | Photo Editor
Doug E Fresh AKA “The Human Beat Box” punches the air as he completes a long beatboxing session. Max Jackson | Photo Editor

Freaker’s Ball — Florida Atlantic’s annual hip hop concert — was hosted by Program Board on April 1 at the Student Union Outdoor Stage. With previous performers including Kendrick Lamar and B.o.B., this year’s show presented Big Sean featuring Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick.

“Show tonight went way up!! Thank u #FAU! I love Boca! My girl’s from here n I don’t know if that’s why you guys were so fuckin lit?! but I felt the love! Thanks for knowing every word to every song. Only thing missing was @arianagrande!” said Sean on Instagram.

Known for songs including the Grammy-nominated “Mercy” and Billboard Hot 100 hits, “Dance (A$$)” and “I Don’t Fuck With You,” Sean has become a prominent rapper with the likes of Kanye West and Jay Z behind him.

Doug E. Fresh asked the crowd to “put your hands up if you’re younger than 30.” Mohammed F. Emran | Web Editor

Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick came back together after working with each other on and off for many years. They both found success as members of the Get Fresh Crew in its early years, with records like “The Show” — which reached the top 10 in the UK Singles Charts in 1985 — and “La Di Da Di.” Since then, they have had individual careers, reuniting every once and a while to throw it back to the early days of hip hop.

Frankie Grande attends his first Big Sean concert. Sabrina Martinez | Creative Director
Frankie Grande attends his first Big Sean concert. Sabrina Martinez | Creative Director

As spectators filed in at 8 p.m., DJ Black and White’s mixes and bright lights filled the lawn while the duo called out, “is hip hop in the building tonight?”

Also in the audience was Frankie Grande — Ariana Grande’s brother, known for his time on the hit show “Big Brother.”

“This is my first time seeing Big Sean perform. I am so unbelievably excited, I don’t even know what to say,” said Grande. “I wanna hear, ‘Ass, ass, ass, ass, ass — stop. Now, make that motherfucker hammertime.’ I mean, obviously I love ‘I Don’t Fuck With You’ and all his new stuff, but that was my first song that I loved of Big Sean’s, so that’s what I want to hear the most.”

Around 9:15 p.m., the show began with Doug E. Fresh and a thin veil of smoke — likely produced herbally.

Slick Rick raps to “Childrens Story”, after his wife brought out his “old school” necklaces. Max Jackson | Photo Editor
Slick Rick raps to “Childrens Story”, after his wife brought out his “old school” necklaces. Max Jackson | Photo Editor

Fresh came out with strong energy, shouting into the mic, “Imma get it clear on exactly who I am. I am the originator of the Dougie.” And with “Teach Me How to Dougie” playing, he instantly won the crowd over with his moves.

He maintained a connection with the audience for most of his time on stage by asking them questions and getting them to sing along. “Five plus five equals?” he would call out. “10!” called back the crowd. “What’s the big clock called?” he continued. “Ben!” responded the students.

His main goal was to show the audience what real hip hop was and just a short while later, he called “the greatest storyteller ever” on stage with him — Slick Rick. Rick kept it old school, donning an armful of silver jewelery, his neck dripping with chains. But the crowd didn’t seem to be feeling his vibe as much as Doug E. Fresh.

After a short time spitting lyrics, he stepped side stage and let Doug E. take the reins once more. With the energy back up, the two performers came together for “La Di Da Di” and “Children’s Story.” Doug E. also showed the audience what he could do as “The Human Beatbox,” which they went crazy for.

To round their time on stage out, they got the crowd to dance, showing support for modern hip hop by pulling out songs like Soulja Boy’s “Crank That” and GS Boyz’s “Stanky Leg.”  And by 10 p.m. they were out, finishing by saying, “This show is hot!”

“They really brought it back old school, and I really enjoy old school,” said Ophelia Locke, a senior fashion designer for the Art Institutes who came out for the show. “They got to see the crowd’s reaction to who really knew what real hip hop was and they even stayed true to our generation in saying that it wasn’t trash.”

The crowd prepares for Big Sean as his music starts to play preceding his entrance. Sabrina Martinez | Creative Director
The crowd prepares for Big Sean as his music starts to play preceding his entrance. Sabrina Martinez | Creative Director

After about a 15 minute wait, the crowd — upwards of 1,000 student and guests — was ready for Big Sean. Chanting his name, smoke began to flow from the stage.

Then he emerged. In head-to-toe white on top of the DJ platform, he started his set with his song “Paradise” featured on his latest album “Dark Sky Paradise” that was released in February. The crowd was hyped and joined in instantly rapping every word.

“We smoking that good weed. We partying in this motherfucker,” called out Sean to the crowd as he started his second song “High.”

He kept the energy up, clearly in his own zone. Even when he slowed it down, he held the audience’s attention with stories of his life in Detroit and starting his career. “Where all my dreamers at?” he asked the crowd. “Where all my future millionaires at? I followed my heart, I followed my gut. Follow your heart … Do what makes you happy man.”

Big Sean got the crowd jumping with his song “Open wide.” Mohammed F Emran | Web Editor

Though there was little interaction with the audience, people were happy to let Sean do his thing. In interviews, he has compared his performances to a spiritual experience which could be seen when he got down on his knees as though he was praying during “Burn.”

Big Sean stands on top of the LED screens as he performs his opening song “Paradise." Max Jackson | Photo Editor
Big Sean stands on top of the LED screens as he performs his opening song “Paradise.” Max Jackson | Photo Editor

Students specifically enjoyed the songs he’s best known for, including “I Don’t Fuck With You,” “Clique,” “All Me” and “My Last.”

The concert continued until 11:20 p.m., when he left the stage before an encore. He came back out a couple minutes later to perform “Outro.”

“This is one of my favorite songs. I’ve never performed this shit,” Sean explained. And rounded the night out saying, “I hope you had a good fucking time tonight FAU.”

Overall, students seemed to be pleased with the concert. “I really enjoyed it. I’m glad [FAU] got Big Sean to come out here. It seemed like he really enjoyed where he was and the crowd really enjoyed him too. I’m glad that he was able to perform his new album. I really loved it,” commented Locke.

“The concert was definitely, definitely worth it,” said FAU junior electrical engineering major, James Radford. Freaker’s Ball cost $5 for students and $40 for the general public. “The concert was definitely dope. Big Sean did his thing.”

This is a good sign for Program Board seeing as Big Sean was the most expensive headliner to perform at Freaker’s Ball with a $65,000 price tag according to Program Board. Kendrick Lamar and B.o.B. both showed up for $60,000. Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh came in at $15,000 total.

“We all thought it was great. It was our money well-spent as we did sell out for the first time in seven years — 3,300 tickets sold,” said Setutsi Dennis, the CarnivOWL Chair at Program Board. “We also did read on Yik Yak that there were people on top of the parking garage that didn’t get in, still enjoying the show.”