When asked how he felt about the April 8 concert, an event staff member for Dooley’s Ball echoed the sentiments of many Emory undergraduates, replying, “Not good.” The lights manager arrived three hours early to prep for the concert, but when Ty Dolla Sign showed up, the rapper only wanted red and white lights — no effects. The Dooley’s Week concert was already off to a rough start, not even factoring in the Migos fiasco.
Doors opened at 8 p.m., but with a poor student showing, opening act Bockarie “Boregard” Amara (17B) didn’t arrive onstage until nearly two hours later. Fresh off a Tuesday performance at Couchella, Amara and his crew performed Boregard’s “Action!” which has over 4,000 hits on SoundCloud, to kick off the event.
For one of his final songs, Boregard carried around a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton and rapped about different women named Hillary. He closed with a song titled “Obama.” Meanwhile, a resident of Few Hall angrily slammed down his window and turned off his dorm room lights. Though the songs contained clever verses and rousing baselines, the topics themselves made it clear that Boregard was out of new material.
The main act, Taylor Gang rapper Ty Dolla Sign took to the stage at 10:45 p.m. and played for a full 45 minutes. It took a few songs for the crowd to respond enthusiastically, but since no one expected much from the last-minute headliner, the concert was a pleasant surprise.
Hits like “I Think She Like Me” and “Paranoid” warmed up the audience, while Ty Dolla Sign’s live performance of “Or Nah” had the crowd screaming and dancing along to the lyrics. “Saved” was another popular anthem of the evening, not in the least because it seemed as though Dooley’s Week had actually been saved. The live versions of those songs were even better than their recordings; no one really expects a rapper to have a singing voice, but this one does. After taking his shirt off (a move that drove freshmen girls dizzy), Ty Dolla Sign didn’t rap; he sang.
His voice wasn’t auto-tuned, nor did he play a recording of his songs. Instead, he performed chord modulations, falsettos and live remixes of his own music. At one point, the rapper even interrupted his performance for a guitar solo. When he picked the microphone back up, he and his DJ took a break from the music to ask the audience to put their cell phones and lighters in the air. Ty Dolla Sign’s DJ then told the crowd to keep them up if they were STD-free. Hands remained in the air, but audience members looked at each other in confusion.
It was an unusual pause in the otherwise lively concert, which got even rowdier when the headliner brought out Rae Sremmurd, a rap duo famous for hits like “Come Get Her” and “No Flex Zone.” Together with Ty Dolla Sign, the group performed “Blase” from Ty Dolla Sign’s album Free TC. Ty Dolla Sign then gave Rae Sremmurd the stage, at which time they performed “Black Beatles” and an encore performance of “Blase.”
The rappers then exited the stage to a roar of applause. SPC members looked relieved. It was a difficult week for everyone, but this concert was just the right fix.
So thank you, Ty Dolla Sign, and thank you too, SPC.