Ohio Union Activities Board’s Welcome Week concert brought several big names to the Ohio State campus and provided students with a high-energy opening to the new school year.
Those who made their way to the South Oval had the opportunity to see two of hip-hop’s most popular current acts, 2 Chainz and Big Sean.
Though both artists are on Kanye West’s music label, G.O.O.D. Music, Big Sean and 2 Chainz performed their sets separately. With the sun beginning to set, 2 Chainz made his way to the stage and performed his verse from the summer hit “Mercy.” Considering he was able to provide arguably the strongest verse in this crowded song, choosing the track to open his set was a sensible decision.
Much has been said about 2 Chainz’s lack of complexity and sophistication in his verses. While he is not Big Daddy Kane, 2 Chainz brings an energy and refreshing exuberance to his music and performances that go a long way toward making up for a lack of lyrical talent. As he implored the crowd to yell out his trademark call, “2 Chainz,” it was apparent that we were seeing a musical artist who has paid his dues through years in the industry and was enjoying the arrival of his moment in the spotlight. Enthusiasm such as this is palpable within live performances, and 2 Chainz routinely delivers. His performance Thursday night was no exception.
If there was a complaint to be had, it would be that 2 Chainz musical catalog is currently not deep enough with popular music. He only recently released his debut album; so while he did feature standout tracks such as “No Lie,” “Beez in the Trap” and the aforementioned “Mercy,” his other songs failed to fully engage the crowd due to a lack of exposure. But 2 Chainz remained fully committed to his performance of these songs which in turn kept the energy of the show continuously strong.
Whereas 2 Chainz is still building up his musical repertoire, Big Sean’s more established track list allowed him to take his performance to another level. An evening outdoor concert is assisted by the cover of darkness, which benefited Sean as opposed to his counterpart. However, Sean’s talent is evident no matter the time of day.
As he opened with his verse on the G.O.O.D. Music track “I Don’t Like,” Sean effortlessly got the crowd hyped up and singing along with the words. He then transitioned into the good-time anthem, “My Last.” As he moved back and forth with an obvious confidence and swagger, I wrote two words in my notebook to sum up Sean’s presence on stage: natural performer. Sean paused his set to take pictures to post to his Instagram account and interacted frequently with the crowd. His charm was engaging to those in attendance. Again, a natural performer.
While Sean made his way into popular culture with club hits like “Dance A$$” and “Marvin Gay and Chardonnay,” he still possesses a high amount of lyrical talent and ability. When Sean dipped into his extensive mixtape collection to perform tracks from before he achieved fame, it only served as a reminder of his versatility and ability. He then transitioned to his verse in Meek Mill’s standout track “Burn” as well as his bars on Wale’s “Slight Work.” His full collection was on display Thursday night.
If I were to nitpick, it was awkward when Sean performed 2 Chainz’s verse on “Mercy” in addition to his own. Why not bring 2 Chainz out again to perform his verse? Considering he was there, it would have been a strong send off for the two artists that had provided such an entertaining show.
Complaints were few and far between, though, for the concert that 2 Chainz and Big Sean put on Thursday night. The show delivered the promises and expectations that come with a show headlined by such heavyweights within their music genre. With their high energy and engaging performances, they treated OSU to an exciting start to the semester.