Earlier this morning, the student organization MUSIC Matters announced its plans for their SpringFest event to be headlined by rapper 2 Chainz. The show will take place April 10, and tickets will be available March 27 through the Michigan Union Ticket Office. The rapper who gave us thoughtful lyrics such as, “She got a big booty so I call her big booty,” will be headlining a whole day of events focused on uniting the campus.
MUSIC Matters has decided to revamp their biggest event in the fashion of South by Southwest (SXSW), the 10-day film, music, and technology festival in Austin, Texas. The festival will be located on the Diag and will extend onto North University Avenue. The layout will feature a large central globe and an open stage area that will host guest speakers and food throughout the entire day. The day is designed to highlight student achievement on campus and to bring the campus together.
Sections of the festival will be organized by five themes: arts, identity, innovation, social justice, and sustainability. These themes have clearly been taken into consideration in the choosing of the artist. This whole event encouraging thought and important change will lead up to a concert headlined by one of the most socially responsible rappers in the game. With the day showcasing student achievement on campus in an effort to feature a sense of unity, nothing brings people together like lyrics such as, “I take your girl and kidnap her / feed her to my mattress.” Doesn’t that just scream those five themes to you? Arts, identity, innovation, social justice, sustainability, and 2 Chainz.
I’m fine with hosting a 2 Chainz concert because he has a group of fans and I’m sure people will go and enjoy themselves, but hosting it as the core of such an event completely ruins the mission of the entire day. Jesal Padania of RapReviews.com said of 2 Chainz’ most recent album: “Can 2 Chainz rap? Yes, of course. But is he saying anything? No, not even once… Albums like ‘Based On a T.R.U. Story’ really make you wonder just how they even come about to existence.”
I’m not looking to criticize the club’s greater mission. Rather, I’m looking to call them out on the belittling effect that bringing in 2 Chainz to headline would have on an event with such noble goals. What if TEDxTalks were followed by performances by Chief Keef? Would they still be as meaningful? Pairing 2 Chainz with an event such as this should have been deliberated over more carefully. The club should have aimed to bring in an artist who matches more accurately with their intent for the rest of the event, or at least an artist with some semblance of social responsibility. Instead, they have chosen to tell us to be inspired and then follow that up by listening to 2 Chainz and his lack of intelligence.
The event will benefit the MUSIC Matters Big Thinkers scholarship, which donates to a summer leadership camp for at-risk youth in Detroit. In addition, the organization is working with the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the Center for Educational Outreach, the Office of Financial Aid, and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to bring in students from Michigan high schools to SpringFest. These students will learn about admissions and financial aid, eat in the dorms, and participate in events during SpringFest.
The idea behind SpringFest is admirable, but to make the headlining event a show by 2 Chainz mocks the ultimate message of the entirety of SpringFest itself.
Written By: Austin D. Johnson