The Arena at the Don Taft University Center was packed with music and energy on March 23 for the annual Shark Jam concert, featuring rappers Kendrick Lamar and Busta Rhymes.
According to the Office of Student Activities, which planned the event, about 1,800 tickets were pre-sold. Rhymes and Lamar performed their R&B and hip hop hits, as the audience cheered, danced and sang along.
Shiva Morristetty, freshman biology major, said that “School pride skyrocketed with this concert.”
The crowd was mostly made up of NSU students, though students of nearby universities also attended. Staff and faculty also enjoyed the concert, with VIP seating in the arena’s club room.
Rhymes sung many of his old hit songs and the audience cheered as he performed humorous skits and tricks. Lamar delivered a high energy performance and ended his set with a shout-out to college students with a GPA higher than a 3.0.
Frankie Demma, a freshman legal studies major said about Busta Rhymes’ performance, “Busta is a really good performer and gets the crowd going … He was a little [vulgar], but it didn’t bother me.”
Students swayed and danced to the beats, as the stage and surrounding walls of the arena were transformed with special effects lighting and bass sounds reverberated through the entire University Center.
Mega Mangapuram, sophomore biology major, felt that the concert brought the university community together in a “unique and fun way”.
Daniel Brookins, a junior double majoring in philosophy and legal studies, also felt that the concert boosted Shark pride, though he wished attendance was higher.
“The only thing I would change is I wish more people would have come.
Bringing two big name rappers to campus increases Shark pride, as students can tell their friends, ‘Guess who came and performed at my school.’ I really wish more people would have come out; that way, it would have had an even larger community feel.”
Many concertgoers flocked to the University Center around 5 p.m., as the two artists arrived. Doors to the arena opened at 7 p.m., though the concert did not start until 9 p.m. Schoolboy Q, a rapper from California, played hit songs as the concert’s opening performer and DJ, keeping the audience energized during the wait.
As students waited, many, such as second-year physician assistant Brad Dunlap, expressed excitement over the artists.
“Busta Rhymes is old school and Kendrick Lamar is the new stuff. So it’s cool how they are mixing the old and the new,” said Dunlap.
The concert even had presidential seals of approval, as SGA leaders were delighted with the choice of artists.
Undergraduate SGA President Christopher Mignocchi, a junior double majoring in exercise science and legal studies, said “I am a fan of Busta Rhymes and I am impressed that Pan SGA and [the Office of] Student Activities were able to get this level of an act.”
The College of Osteopathic Medicine SGA President Carasa Lippman, third-year medical student, said, “I really applaud Pan SGA for bringing such a great act to NSU. I have always been a fan of Busta Rhymes.”
Down in the first row of the arena was Ben Sloan, a sophomore biology major and avid rap fan. Sloan said that he and his friends had waited near the Arena Box Office an hour before it opened a few weeks earlier to get the best possible tickets.
“Kendrick Lamar is the realest rapper in the game right now,” Sloan said. “He is responsible from bringing back rap. The fact that he is at Nova is sick, and this is probably the best thing ever that’s happened to Nova.”
Graduate Assistant for Special Events Michelle Canales, a first-year graduate student in College Student Affairs, helped plan the event and said “I think these two artists are a good representation of people that are a bit older and our current generation of college students. We wanted to attract both types of college students to enjoy themselves for the concert.”
Given that Trey Fongz and Wiz Khalifa were the Shark Jam performers in 2011 and 2012, respectively, this was the third year to feature hip hop artists.
Many Students hope that next year’s concert will feature an artist of a different genre. Sophomore biology major Michelle Nguyen suggested “Call Me Maybe” singer Carly Rae Jepsen.
The artist for next year’s Shark Jam will be selected by student vote in the fall.