In the rainy wake of a national tragedy, students got a chance to wave their hands in the air and dance in the rain to the hip-hop beats of Common.
Lawn chairs, blankets, dogs and even a couch littered the West Lawn Monday night as a crowd of more than 3,000 students and community members anticipated his arrival.
Sophomores Shanna Pittman and Ruthie Hubka, a political science student made their way to the concert grounds at 2 p.m. Monday.
“Since it is free, we thought more people would be here already” said Pittman, a technical journalism major. “We thought we would have to compete for space.”
The evening officially kicked off with ASCSU President Jason Green greeted the crowd and asked for a moment of silence in recognition of the massacre at Virginia Tech.
“We need to make sure we have each other’s back and do what’s right,” he said.
Opening act Kenny Leung, a hip-hop artist from Denver, kept the crowd entertained until Common hit the stage at 8:45 p.m.
Noting that hip-hop revolves around break dancing, emceeing, graffiti and most importantly, the DJ, he incorporated all but the spray paint in his hour-and-15-minute set.
Staying true to real hip-hop culture, the Chicago MC stood, arms crossed, face forward in his b-boy stance, and even did some spins on the stage before spitting a freestyle referencing Suite 152 and Old Town.
His DJ, DJ Dummy, stole the spotlight midway through the show, scratching and spinning samples for the crowd to enjoy.
While Common was anything but serious while dancing with ladies from the audience, he did take the time to acknowledge the day’s events.
“We talk about tomorrow, but we never know what tomorrow may bring,” he said. “We’ve got to change this world. There’s too much shit going on not to change it.”
For the most part, students kept their cool behind the barriers, but at least one person was transported to Poudre Valley Hospital due to injuries sustained in the crowd.
“The crowd was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but it definitely got wild, we broke up a couple fights,” junior construction management student Chris Schafernak said.
Despite bringing a big name artist to campus, ASAP and ASCSU have both been criticized for the amount of money that was spent.
With a price tag of $90,000, students were skeptical that Common would be worth the money.
“For a Monday night, I couldn’t find a better way to spend it,” Schfernak said. “I thought it was one of the cooler things they could have done for sure. My buddy was standing next to me and he was hating on it the whole time but everyone else around us was loving it.”
For their part, ASCSU funded the event with a surplus from past years’ budgets. Had the money come from this years student fees, each student would have paid about $4.20 to bring him here.
Though wet from head to toe, Green said the night was a success. One he attributes to Common’s overall message of unity.
“I thought it was phenomenal,” he said. “I thought he said it well that all races and cultures could come and have a good time together. I’m just proud that I could do it.”
Verve editor Liz sunshine contributed to this story.
Campus editor Marissa Hutton-Gavel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.