Mar 292011
Authors: Colleen McSweeney

When the Association for Student Activity Programming started planning tonight’s hip-hop concert, it knew a conventional stage just wasn’t going to cut it. 

So tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom, an innovative 360-degree stage will be the platform for multiple hip-hop artists, including CSU’s own Black Prez. 

Throughout the past two months, students may have seen ambiguous posters plastered around campus showing the outline of a man and the words, “They’re coming to CSU.” This, of course, got many students asking, “Who are ‘they’?”

And that’s exactly what ASAP Concert Coordinator Loren Martinez wanted.

“We wanted it to be mysterious –– we wanted to get people talking,” Martinez said.

It turns out the man outlined in the poster was the concert’s headliner Black Prez, and “they” are the diverse group of acts, including a live graffiti artist, performing tonight.

Black Prez, or Joshua Madry as his professors at CSU know him, is currently working toward his master’s degree in education and human resources. But outside of class, Black Prez is making himself known around Colorado as a popular force in the rap community.

“A lot of students wanted him,” Martinez said.  

Junior journalism major Brian Hanlin is one of those eager students.

“(Black Prez) has some really sick beats,” Hanlin said.

There was even a university campaign, albeit unsuccessful, to get Black Prez to open for the Ludacris show in Moby Arena last semester. 

“I’ve been rapping my whole life,” Black Prez said to the Collegian. “I still have recordings of me when I was three years old rapping Snoop Dogg songs into a recorder that my dad bought me.”

In addition to Black Prez, the Denver based hip-hop band Big Wheel will perform tonight, as well as 17-year-old rapper Cam Meekins, whom ASAP is flying in from Boston for the show.

The host of tonight’s show will be DJ Verja. He will keep the crowd entertained between sets and emcee for the concert’s dance battle. Any attendee will be able to enter the battle, and whomever the audience votes as their favorite will win $300.

Tonight’s show will be illuminated by the same lighting company that worked for the Ludacris concert.  

Jolt, a live graffiti artist from Denver, will be lit up next to the 360-degree stage as he creates a large CSU– themed piece of art.

“This is not going to be your typical concert,” Martinez said. “It’s going to be more of a festival type atmosphere. We’re really trying to expose the positive side of hip-hop.”

The concert is sponsored by ASAP, Scene Magazine and the non-profit organization Hip Hop Congress, and the $6,000 cost was partially paid for with student fees.

 Tickets will be available for $5 at the door, which opens at 6:30 p.m.

Staff writer Colleen McSweeney can be reached at

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