Every year, the UConn basketball program hosts “First Night,” a fan-favorite evening event where students get exclusive access to watch the men’s and women’s basketball teams scrimmage against each other to showcase their skills. On top of this, students are also often treated to a brief concert performed by a popular artist. Past years have seen artists such as T-Pain, and although there wasn’t a high-interest artist last year, students are hoping for a positive surprise. Who should be this year’s performer? The sports section uses Event Resource’s artist search and a $150,000 budget to figure out who is the best pick, with cost in mind:
Associate Sports Editor
Is he the biggest star? No, but Bankrol Hayden is an up-and-coming star who is attainable and entertaining. He charges just $25,000 to $30,000 according to Artist Search, which is more than reasonable, especially given that UConn invested about $150,000 in Dominic Fike for the UCONNIC music festival last spring. Hayden has over three million monthly listeners on Spotify, which is comparable to some artists charging two to three times more. His songs “Costa Rica” and “Brothers” have each accrued stream figures over 100 million, meaning that a good number of students would recognize his music. The 21-year-old falls into a perfect category of being recognizable but not too pricey, which is exactly what a school should be looking for in this type of performance. The performance also doesn’t have to be super long, so Hayden can simply play his five most popular songs and then not have to worry about the others not hitting with the students.
If there’s one thing that First Night needs at the University of Connecticut, it is a performer like Roddy Ricch. He is in a bit of a dark period in his career right now, but don’t let that fool you — he was easily one of the top artists between 2019 and 2020 with plenty of amazing hits. He’s still a great performer with the catalog to give an excellent performance on First Night. According to Events Resources Inc., the Compton-based artist is looking for anywhere between $40,000 and $50,000. Considering that UConn has paid much more for an artist in past years to come to the cold area of Storrs, I’d say this is certainly within the program’s reach, and it would be another element of interest for student’s to come to First Night to support their basketball program.
I toiled with this idea for hours, considering everyone from Lil Wayne to comedian Andy Samberg (he’s in a band called The Lonely Island, that has to count for something). I also find myself to be a huge enjoyer of memes, both classic and modern. Put those two things together with rappers creating tracks about athletes, and you get Sheck Wes. In 2018, Wes released a song called “Mo Bamba,” named after the current Orlando Magic center whom the rapper knew growing up, and his hit became commonly used in both the college and professional sports world. I did consider Jack Harlow as well, but not even his track about an NBA player gained that much attention. Events Resources says he’s looking for anything between $50,000 and $60,000, and given the current budget to put on such an exciting event, that is an acceptably reasonable price. On top of the Block Party that will take place on First Night, this talent will keep the fans waiting in line entertained until the gates into Gampel Pavilion open at 6 p.m.
A Boogie wit da Hoodie
A Boogie has been a well-known artist for years in this generation, which is why I think students would be very pleased to see him perform at First Night. He has released seven albums over the past six years and has been very consistent in the music industry, with his album “Hoodie SZN” gaining much attention in 2018 with several hit singles. Last year, he announced his college tour where he traveled across the country performing at American universities. A Boogie has performed at sold-out shows, and already has experience in the college world. Personally, I think this is a perfect fit. He has visited some of the biggest schools in the country like USC, UCLA, and NYU, and UConn would be the best new addition — especially for an occasion as significant as First Night. Not to mention, he is totally within UConn’s budget as his price sits around $150,000. In my opinion, I think UConn students will be thrilled with a performance from someone as popular as A Boogie wit da Hoodie.