Hundreds of students dressed in Alabama State University apparel eagerly shuffled into the football stadium as the rap and rhythm and blues music played on the evening of Oct. 12.
Waiting for a very important alumni to perform, Grammy award winner and former ASU basketball player, Tauheed Epps, famously known as 2 Chainz, graced the stage with his music catalog and had the crowd blazing. This was the first rap/rhythm and blues concert to be held in the Hornets’ football stadium.
Performing on an elaborate stage built on the football field, the rapper focused on tracks from his Billboard Hot 100 hit singles and kicked off the performance with his recent single featuring Lil Wayne, “Money Maker,” with a music video that celebrates the lifestyle and pride of historically black colleges and universities.
The event was masked mandatory and there were many safety precautions enforced. The seating was spread out to every other row and each person in a row had to be 6 feet apart.
Many students that were fans of 2 Chainz were excited that he came back to ASU and performed a private concert specifically for them.
“It made me feel special, like I am somebody,” said sophomore Nia Phillips. “For 2 Chainz to come out here during COVID and actually hold a concert for ASU students really exemplifies that ASU is where it’s at.”
Others spoke upon the legacy that they want to leave after seeing 2 Chainz come back to his former school and perform.
“I am so glad that 2 Chainz came back and represented this university proudly and he gave really thought-provoking messages about standing out and being different,” said junior Jacob Black. “His messages really touched me personally, and I hope that one day, after I graduate from this university, I can be a well-established alumnus that can give back to my school and community.”
After performing some of his Billboard Hot 100 hit singles, “No Lie,” “I’m Different,” and “All Me,” 2 Chainz brought out rapper Skooly, an Atlanta based artist who performed a melody of his songs while the crowd sang along. Along with Skooly, he also brought out another new artist named Sauxe Paxk.
From the low crowd reaction, not too many people were excited to see Sauxe Paxk perform, however, rapper Skooly was welcomed with a large cheer from the crowd. He made sure to let everyone know where he was from, Atlanta, Georgia, as many students in the crowd were from there too. “Skooly definitely came through with repping his Atlanta pride,” said senior Asia Thomas. “I’m from Atlanta and I made sure to rep my pride along with him. Really, a great performance.”
Even between his breaks from one song to another, 2 Chainz reminded everyone in the audience to remain socially distanced and to remember to vote for this upcoming election. “I just wanna say make sure y’all are socially distanced so that we can keep this party turnt! Also, don’t forget to vote because our voices matter!”
After 90 minutes, the concert wrapped up with “It’s A Vibe.”
However, as student fans left the stadium, Dr. Quinton T. Ross, Jr. made a special appearance on stage. “Hold on everyone, give me one second,” Ross announced the 50 Under 50 alumni award for this year.
Many fans averted their attention back to the stage as Ross continued to describe the recipient of the award. “This person played on the basketball team, held an academic scholarship, and was a community leader. Could everyone please give Mr. Tauheed Epps a strong hornet cheer for being our 50 under 50 recipients for his excellence in the music industry and in the black community!”
Not only did Epps receive the 2020 50 Under 50 alumni award, but his wife, Kesha Ward, who also attended ASU, received the award alongside her husband.
Once the crowd was gone and 2 Chainz left the stage, he took photos with the current men’s basketball team. In addition, Mo Williams, former NBA player and ASU’s head coach, gave 2 Chainz a signed basketball.
If the pandemic is still present for the spring 2021 semester, Student Government Association (SGA) president, David Hammond, said there might be “another parking lot concert.”