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Lupe Fiasco brings high-energy show to Ryan Center, performs classic songs

By Alex McDevitt
On November 17, 2011

  • Lupe Fiasco, with Young Marqus and New Boyz, brings classic songs, new beats to last night’s performance at the Thomas M. Ryan Center. Teresa Kelly

Last night at the University of Rhode Island's Thomas M. Ryan Center, a trio of acts  and many student fans congregated in the Lupe Fiasco Laser's show, for an inescapable fun few hours. If I had to put it into complete thoughts, however, only one question comes to mind: why weren't you there?

The atmosphere of the Ryan Center showed that URI students brought their A-game. Aside from a few technical difficulties at the show's onset, and a few rowdy students, the concert was certainly a jumping success. Literally.

A new up-and-coming rapper, Young Marqus, started off the show before most of the seats were even occupied, and he has the talent to blow up into something successful. At one point in his act, a boo-ing spectator was shown up with Marqus' clear rhyming skills, and he certainly proved why Lupe picked him to go on tour, let alone lead off the show.

Following the new talent came a much more recognizable duo. New Boyz, brought together loud beats and insatiable dancing, giving URI a reason to stand up and prepare for the main act to start. Though their act was shorter than I would have, Boyz did make the crowd wide awake. Of course, "The Jerk" was magnified and carried out, and I even tried to move along with the dancing monster the audience had become.

Before I knew it, the lights dimmed and the five-instrument team of drums, bass, guitar, piano, and violin prepared for what the next two hours would bring. Soon, Lupe Fiasco, one of my favorite rappers in the last decade, came screaming in and energetic—a force to be reckoned with once he stormed center stage. The show had clearly begun.

 Rather then many mainstream artists, Lupe randomized his playing order. 2011's "Lasers" was the highlight of the beats played flawlessly, but classic tracks including "Kick/Push", "Daydreamin'", "Hip-Hop Saved My Life", "He Says She Says", and even an acoustic version of  "Touch The Sky" (minus Kanye West) were played with modern percussions. As an old school Lupe fan, I was more then pleased that he hasn't forgotten his roots, reminded again by his most quoted line of the night: "Don't forget where you came from".

The thing I took from the night, more then anything, was how Lupe reminds all of us that it's his lyrics, not single handily his beats, that get the love. Everywhere I looked, over my shoulder or down on the crowd of moving bodies, the entire crowd was into whatever Lupe was saying. Because all three of his albums were broken down all in one night, it was an experience too boggling to put into words.

 Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night, and why he is indeed a public activist to take notice of, was when he took time out of the show to discuss the Occupy Wall Street protest, and express his everlasting support for a movement with such "beautiful people with beautiful ideas".

Many of the fans just stood there, silent. I, however, took this as a sign that not only as an artist, Lupe Fiasco knows his current affairs. He writes for the helpless. He raps for the world around him.

"Superstar" ended the night in what clearly was a night URI won't soon forget. Truly, the "lasers" in Lupe's mind carry on, and I can't wait to see what he has in store next.

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