Popular hip-hop artist Waka Flocka Flame will be back at Ohio University to perform at Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium for the second time Saturday as part of the OU Performing Arts and Concert Series.
Waka Flocka is returning to Athens after his public appearance in 2015. In 2015, Waka Flocka performed at OU and was a huge hit. He treated everyone in charge with respect, and even played basketball and partied with students, Dr. Winsome Chunnu-Brayda, director of the Multicultural Center, said.
“He was amazing,” Chunnu-Brayda said. “You can tell he has performed at several universities.”
What: Waka Flocka Flame
Where: Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium
When: Saturday, 8 p.m.
Admission: $25 remainder seats, $40 first 10 rows
Chunnu-Brayda said Waka Flocka was excellent with interacting with students and matching their level of energy. Most artists come for the performance and do not interact with students on a personal level, Chunnu-Brayda noted.
“He got here early, he played basketball with kids at the courts in front of the front four,” Chunnu Brayda said. “At the courts, the kids were inviting him to Sibs Weekend parties. He actually showed up to some.”
Chunnu-Brayda said she and Waka Flocka spent some time together upon his arrival the last time he was at OU and took a selfie together.
“It was an amazing experience working with him,” Chunnu-Brayda said. “We interacted personally, one-on-one, because when an artist comes, it is my job to greet them.”
There are certain artists who students get especially excited for, and Chunnu-Brayda said students absolutely loved T-Pain as well as Waka Flocka. She said both of their concerts had cool stage lights and their big hit songs connected with students well.
“It was a great concert. Actually, it was an absolutely wonderful concert.” Chunnu-Brayda said. “MemAud was full. The energy … the whole thing was just beautiful.”
Corbin Marsh, assistant director of programming, said the campus involvement center has been wanting to hold a big hip-hop show for a while, and this year it is.
“We are working off of sort of a division-wide push to do some big, unique programming the first month of school,” Marsh said. “It helps students feel welcomed here on campus, gives them things to do and it brings like-minded people together.”
Marsh said the Waka Flocka concert is a big deal for the Performing Arts and Concert Series because most of the performers are country artists. It is working to bring in more hip-hop artists to appeal to students with different tastes. Marsh said he noticed most students at OU seem to be interested in hip-hop.
“One thing we keep in mind when hiring artists to perform is the price students are willing and able to pay,” Marsh said. “If an artist asks for too much, we don’t expect students to pay above $50 to $60 when they have tuition and more to worry about.”
Although Waka Flocka is mostly known for his older music, such as his hit songs, “No Hands,” “Hard in da Paint” and “For My Dawgs,” he dropped his sixth installment in April of Salute Me or Shoot Me that did not get as much recognition.
Whether students enjoy his music or not, there is no doubt they will feel the excitement when Waka Flocka Flame is in Athens, and appreciate his personality. Most students were in middle school when his biggest hits released, and may remember hearing them at awkward middle school dances.
The concert is an opportunity for students to go out and enjoy listening to Waka’s music as well as meet new people who have the same interests.
“I am excited to be going to the concert,” Erykah Soria, a freshman studying special education, said. “Aside from the music and performance we’re getting, I’ll get a chance to socialize in an environment where everyone is having fun and there together.”
Macie Hartley, a sophomore studying pre-medicine, has been a Waka fan since she was young and is looking forward to his performance.