How the Mighty Have Fallen: Spring Concerts, from Outkast to Lil Uzi Vert

Lil Uzi Vert in his "Money Longer" music video.  (screenshot/VEVO)

Oftentimes the University of Connecticut Student Union Board of Governors does good things. This is not one of those times.

Lil Uzi Vert, a man known mostly for his attempt to ruin “Bad and Boujee,” has been announced for this year’s Spring Concert. The only upside of this decision is that it means Fetty Wap isn’t coming back. This makes two years in a row now that SUBOG has booked acts devoid of talent for the Spring Concert – rappers riding their fifteen minutes of fame and popular singles into UConn shows where their name is more noticeable than any modicum of skill they possess.

It wasn’t always like this. SUBOG has delivered before. Imagine being one of the members of the boards who brought Kanye West, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar to Storrs. Consider, for a moment, the adulation SUBOG must have received for those legends, and, additionally, for 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes and Ludacris.

Now, we’re left with Lil Uzi. In the words of J. Cole: “I hate these rappers / especially the amateur eight week rappers / Lil’ whatever, just another short bus rapper / fake drug dealer turned tour bus trapper.”

But I didn’t write this to attack SUBOG, or even Uzi. They’re doing their jobs, and I’m sure there are students on campus excited to see Uzi play the one song they know by him. I suppose I authored this article because I’m dejected and spoiled. My freshman year, I watched the men’s and women’s basketball teams win national championships and my favorite rapper (J. Cole) perform at UConn within a week of each other. Now, the men’s team is losing by 20 on senior night and that guy in the Migos song is gonna make thousands of dollars off my school. Sad.

Accepting change is difficult. My critique of the selection of Uzi may be owed to my aversion to rappers with no message and a minuscule amount of lyrical ability. That type of hip-hop is venerated in today’s culture. It’s unabashed party music, which is okay. My point is, ten years from now, nobody is going to remember Lil Uzi, Fetty Wap or, unfortunately, Schoolboy Q. It’s the tastemakers on the rise, like a Chance the Rapper or Kanye West, the musicians with staying power, who will cause students to reminisce on that one time they saw them at UConn. Kanye and Ludacris came to UConn when they were still making a name for themselves, Kendrick and Cole did the same. It will take research, but SUBOG is capable of pinpointing that sort of act again: maybe Vic Mensa, Anderson .Paak, D.R.A.M. or Aminé, for starters.

It’s worth noting the run of rap music at the Spring Concert. While I applaud SUBOG’s goal to garner as many audience members as possible, there are artists of other genres who could appeal to a wide array of UConn students as well. The Alabama Shakes, John Legend and Jeremih all come to mind.

One last thing: in 2000, at the turn of the century, UConn got to see Outkast and Third Eye Blind for their Spring Concert. That year, SUBOG set the standard on Spring Concerts. Lately, the organization’s fallen far short of that standard.


Sten Spinella is a weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at sten.spinella@uconn.edu.