Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Blackalicious brought West Coast beats and high energy to the Swarthmore campus on Saturday night, as the hip-hop group performed in front of an enthusiastic crowd on the LPAC Main Stage. Joining the group were two opening acts, Zion-I and J-Live. The performance was the college’s fall Large Scale Event, and it certainly lived up to its billing.
Festivities for the LSE took place all day on campus. Before the show, from 3:30-7:30, the LSE Committee hosted a pre-party BBQ in Wharton Courtyard. After the show, an after-party was held at Phi Psi fraternity.
The show began at 9 p.m., yet people began lining up for the event an hour before the doors opened at 8:30. While some chose to sit down and watch the show, many students stood in front of the LPAC stage to watch or dance. Many students who were not even hip-hop fans showed up.
To start the show, LSE Committee chair Martyna Pospieszalska ’06 took the stage and introduced the first opening act, Zion-I Group. The San Francisco-based group came out the gate and surprised the entire audience with their fun, fast-paced performance. After the show, many thought that Zion-I’s performance was almost as good as Blackalicious’ and a few even thought they were better than the main group. One highlight of the duo’s act was MC Zion’s light-speed freestyle rapping, which wowed the audience.
After Zion-I finished their set, J-Live performed as the night’s second opening act. While the Manhattan-based rapper did not wow the audience in the same fashion as Zion-I, he still delivered an impressive set. One outstanding moment from J-Live’s performance was when he took over the turntables for a song halfway through his set.
At around 10:45, Pospieszalska came on stage to introduce Blackalicious. The highly anticipated main act did not disappoint. The San Francisco-based hip-hop duo, consisting of rappers Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel, performed mostly songs off their just-released album The Craft, including “Powers” and “Your Move.” The duo’s performance also emphasized audience participation. At one point, Gift of Gab led the crowd in a rendition of the A-B-C’s, and at another time, he led a negative chant about President Bush that cannot be reprinted here. In addition, the crowd chanted many of the songs’ choruses.
After Blackalicious finished their main set, they came back to perform two more songs for an encore, including “Chemical Calisthenics.” Blackalicious and its opening acts delivered exciting, upbeat performances that pleased the Swarthmore crowd, and this fall’s LSE was a highly successful event. The spring LSE certainly has a tough act to follow.