Immediately upon entering the Grand Maple Ballroom for the Wiz Khalifa show Sept. 23, it was apparent that the typical motherly fears about a hip-hop concert were realized.
Tightly-packed groups of students, interlaced with clouds of marijuana smoke and chatter of excitement, stood around waiting for the concert to start.
The opener for Khalifa, Yelawolf, was recently signed by Interscope Records.
Yelawolf paced back and forth defiantly as he unloaded a skilled, fast-paced rap riddled with graphic and suggestive lyrics.
Beyond his mohawk and lean tattooed body, Yelawolf combined his thickly-drawled southern slang and automatic rhymes performing such songs as “Pop the Trunk” and “You Ain’t No DJ,” a song he recently cut with rap superstar, Big Boi.
Some students were very pleased with the opener, while others made it a point to be vocal about their disapproval.
“A bunch of people were booing at Yelawolf,” senior Justin Leveille said. “I was really disappointed to see everyone booing. Yelawolf killed it and no one seemed to notice or care.”
According to Leveille, people were too focused on the headliner to appreciate a good opener.
“Apparently the kids booing him offstage had never been to a rap show before,” he said.
Some students, however, insisted that he was just bad.
“[Yelawolf was] by far the worst insult to rap and hip-hop that I’ve ever seen in my life,” junior Jirias Charabati said. “It made me want to cry.”
Either way, when an altercation with a crowd member caused Yelawolf to leave the stage and punch a student, Leveille felt things went too far.
“You should not take to violence,” Leveille said. “You go to a show to rap.”
Finally, answering the calls of hundreds of anxious students, Wiz Khalfia took the stage at 10:30 p.m., wearing a backpack and his trademark pirate-logo chain.
He jumped right into his set list with the jams off his recent mixtapes “Kush and Orange” and “Burn After Rolling.”
The show was made possible by the Ski and Snowboard Club (UVM SSC), UVM Program Board (UPB) and SA concerts.
“[Greg Ramey of UPB] really pulled this whole show together,” Vice President of UVM SSC Will Curchin said. “Also the SA Concerts Crew, and the Davis Center Technical staff.”
Some students hope to send a message to SA concerts about future bookings.
“Tickets sold out in three days out of the box office, 10 days before the show,” Ramey said. “Next time we are going bigger. From Wiz to Yelawolf, there is a lot more to come.”
The high demand for the show went even beyond the box office as some students took up unconventional ways to get a ticket.
First year Lauren Donahue got her ticket by winning a contest on Ramey’s company Hungry Headies’s Facebook page.
Other students paid much higher than the original $7 ticket price.
Students were posting on the Wiz Khalifa event page up until the day of the show, offering to sell and buy tickets for up to $60 each.
“These tickets were in real high demand,” Leveille said. “[People were] selling tickets from $7 to $60. [It definitely sends] a message to Program Board that rap shows is what people want. Hopefully that will influence Springfest and other concerts to come.”
Curchin agreed that more acts of this genre should come to the area.
“I’d love to see more hip-hop acts come to UVM and Burlington,” he said. “I know it’s been said for years that Burlington’s role as the in-between city for Boston [and] Montreal brings the good stuff, but let’s actually make that reputation worth something.”