For the most part, the excitement at the 2018 Brookfest occurred offstage. The annual spring concert featured entertaining, relatively uneventful sets from headliner 21 Savage, EDM artist Crankdat, rapper Jay Critch and last-minute substitution, A Boogie wit da Hoodie.
Less than four hours before the doors were set to open at the Island Federal Credit Union Arena, the Undergraduate Student Government posted on Facebook that “due to unforeseen circumstances,” scheduled opener Trippie Redd would not be performing.
“No worries, we have another SPECIAL GUEST lined up!” the post read. “Stay tuned for more information!”
Within 40 minutes, a second post went up, announcing Bronx-based rapper A Boogie would replace Trippie Redd. On April 4, the day of Brookfest, Trippie Redd was seen hanging out with Lil Yachty in Atlanta in social media postings. Just around the time he was scheduled to perform in Stony Brook, the rapper posted a collaboration with Lil Yachty — a remix of Three Six Mafia’s “Who Run It” — on Soundcloud.
“It was brought to my attention 2 hours before doors open,” Vice President of Student Life Jaliel Amador said in an email. “Fortunately, our concert agency worked hard and found someone nearby to take his place. A Boogie happened to agree to a 1 hour set for 30k (meanwhile he’s been passing on 80k offers). For a few minutes I thought I would have to deal with a lot of unhappy people.”
Trippie Redd was also set to receive $30,000, but will no longer receive payment, Amador wrote. 21 Savage was paid $117,000 for his appearance. Openers Jay Critch and Crankdat received $10,000 and $15,000 respectively.
While some complained on social media about the last minute lineup change, others were thrilled by the addition of A Boogie. The rising star of the New York rap scene performed at Brookfest a day after celebrating his four platinum plaques and gold certification at Atlantic Records’ midtown offices.
“I was a big A Boogie fan so I was really happy when they switched him in,” senior technology systems major Arsh Farrouq said. “[The crowd was] definitely most active during A Boogie. He had the most hits, the most songs that everyone knew. And even if you didn’t know them, they sort of had that vibe that you could get into.”
A Boogie’s entrance drew the strongest crowd reaction by far, and his hit songs like “Jungle” and “Drowning” excited the audience out of the lull they frequently reverted to throughout the night. A Boogie performed 20 of his songs for his 50-minute set, including new single “Nonchalant” that dropped on March 30.
A Boogie was the final opener of the night and his departure from the stage was supposed to cede way to headliner 21 Savage’s set. Instead, EDM artist Crankdat came back on stage to announce that the Atlanta trap rapper was delayed 20 minutes. The 21-year-old DJ out of Cleveland had already performed a well-received set for over an hour as students entered the arena at the night’s start. Upon his return, he was greeted by boos.
Finally, Amador took the stage at 10:20 and announced that not only would 21 Savage be onstage soon, but that the University Police agreed to extend the concert an extra half hour to 11:30. 21 Savage did take the stage within a few minutes and performed a 40-minute set to a thinning crowd, with the show officially coming to an end by 11:10. USG reported 3,134 tickets sold.
“When it got to 21 Savage, it kind of calmed down a little bit,” junior physics major Che Lewis said. “But I more think it was because it was a lot of artists at one Brookfest showing, so by the time you got 21 Savage it was kind of that people were tired and not really that he was a bad performer or anything.”
A day removed from the music video debut of “Bartier Cardi,” his collaboration with rapper Cardi B, 21 Savage put on a perfectly serviceable performance. The trap artist has the reputation of a disappointing live performer, but he brought energy to the stage even as the crowd slowly dwindled to half of its full strength as the night wore on.
Brooklyn rapper Jay Critch performed earlier in the night, but his set was limited to only 16 minutes after he was delayed by “car issues.” The offstage excitement continued as Jay Critch finished his set and walked past freshman business major Tyler Vogel.
“I turn to talk to one of my boys in the crowd and I felt something hit the side of my head,” Vogel said. “I turn around, I looked at the ground, I saw the microphone. I’m like ‘whoa I got hit by the mic.'”
Vogel tweeted about the incident, tagging the rapper in his post. “Broooo it slipped,” the rapper tweeted by way of explanation.
Broooo it slipped https://t.co/VisC5BLT5j— Jay Critch (@jaycritch) April 5, 2018
Vogel laughed the accident off. Bar waiting on line outside the arena in the 40-degree weather, the whole concert was a great experience.
“Honestly, there wasn’t any unenjoyable part of the night,” Vogel said. “I just hope the next couple concerts are like that too.”
Correction: April 9, 2018
A previous version of this article incorrectly listed Jaliel Amador as the vice president of Student Affairs. Amador is the vice president of Student Life.