B.o.B to headline Big Blue Bash

B.o.B, who rapped hits like “Headband,” Airplanes,” and “Nothing On You” in the early 2010s, is set to perform this Friday. Photo courtesy of Flickr/Mark Guim

Anderson Haigler | Arts&Culture Editor | The USD Vista

Rapper set to turn back the clock this Friday for a throwback performance with opener Sage the Gemini

After several suspenseful weeks, the performer for the homecoming concert has been announced and the artist may take Toreros back to their middle school days. B.o.B, an Atlanta rapper, will headline the Big Blue Bash next week. Sage The Gemini, who has rapped hits like “Gas Pedal,”  “Red  Nose,” and “Now and Later,” will open for B.o.B.

Two students, Matt Fairorth and Jawara Mills (Unknown), will also open for the concert, collaborating on throwback covers and original songs. The theme of the concert is “throwback,” and B.o.B certainly fits the bill. 

The rapper experienced success in the late 2000s and early 2010s with hit songs like “Nothing On You,” “Airplanes,” “Headband,” and “Magic.” B.o.B’s lyrical rap skills paired with  easy-going pop sound endeared him to listeners. Collaborations with artists like Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Bruno Mars, and Hayley Williams gave his music crossover appeal with fans of many genres. 

Torero Program Board (TPB) Concert Coordinator Kalley Kenny spoke about what students should expect from the event. 

“This year the theme is throwback, and we were trying to think of somebody that students really listened to in that 10-12 year old range,” Kenny said. “He’s got a lot of songs that everyone knows, like ‘Headband,’ and he has a lineup that fits the throwback theme well. For the openers, we really wanted to get students collaborating together.”

Booking a big name headliner such as B.o.B represents a successful search by TPB, but the process hasn’t always been as smooth. 

“Each potential performer we consider has to be reviewed extensively, which means that we have to submit to the university a writeup that looks at all of their lyrics, which have to be PG-13, what they’ve done in the past, whether they’ve been arrested, and their views and values,” Kenny said. “We also have to consider whether the artist and their music fits the USD mission statement.” 

This process may ensure that performers align with USD’s values, but it can also prevent TPB from booking larger, more popular artists as many other universities have done. The University of California, San Diego, for example, routinely hosts artists including Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa, and Snoop Dogg at their annual Sun God Festival. 

Artists like these may not align with any university’s values or mission statement, but separating school values and performer values allows for artists to perform who have more widespread appeal with students, especially in today’s rap-centric college landscape. Although it was not the case this year, TPB coordinators have had to refrain from booking artists in the past who were available to perform because their music and lyrics did not meet USD’s moral standards.

“Last year we had Anderson Paak ready to commit to performing, but he was unwilling to modify his set list to accommodate the school’s request, so we had to find another performer,” Kenny said.

Rapper Sage The Gemini will open for B.o.B.

This situation did not come as a shock to senior Christine Fitzpatrick.

“I was pretty disappointed that he couldn’t come here, because I would’ve been really excited to see him, but I wasn’t surprised,” Fitzpatrick said. “I listen to a lot of his music and I’m familiar with his lyrics so I can see how the university, being a Catholic institution, wouldn’t want somebody like Anderson Paak to perform.” 

Fitzpatrick offered a similar take on Paak’s apparent refusal to alter his setlist. 

“I’m sure that being an artist he wants to stick with what he does and how he does it,”  Fitzpatrick said.

The booking of B.o.B, however, seems to represent a step forward for the university to have bigger-name artists perform. 

“We wanted to get somebody that everybody would come out to see,” Kenny said. “I hope all the students are pretty excited about it, because I know I’m very excited for it.”

Fitzpatrick shared similar feelings regarding B.o.B’s upcoming performance.

“It’s kind of cool because he was super popular a couple of years ago, so I’m sure he will play a lot of good throwbacks,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’m definitely excited.” 

This Friday night, Toreros are sure to have a good time at the Big Blue Bash as B.o.B and Sage The Gemini turn back the clock on Torero Way.