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Feed the Animals by bringing them The Cool

Lupe and Girl Talk rock the Spring Concert

by Morgan Little,
  • Photo by Ashley Barnas

  • Students wrapped around Young Commons from Alumni Gym to Belk Library by 7 p.m. waiting to get into the gym for the concert. Photo by Ashley Barnas

  • Photo by Ashley Barnas

  • Photo by Ashley Barnas

  • The shadow of Lupe Fiasco projects on the crowd in Alumni Gym as he performs. Photo by Ashley Barnas

  • Photo by Angie Lovelace

  • Photo by Ashley Barnas

  • Photo by Ashley Barnas

  • Lupe shakes hands with event security staff at the end of his performance. Photo by Ashley Barnas

  • Photo by Ashley Barnas

  • Photo by Ashley Barnas

  • Photo by Ashley Barnas

  • Photo by Angie Lovelace

  • Lupe leaps on top of the speakers during his performance. Photo by Ashley Barnas

  • Photo by Ashley Barnas

  • Photo by Ashley Barnas

  • Photo by Ashley Barnas

  • Photo by Angie Lovelace

  • Photo by Angie Lovelace

  • Photo by Angie Lovelace

  • Photo by Angie Lovelace

As much as he tried to dismiss the notion, Lupe Fiasco is a superstar. He had no reason to fear, the cameras were abundant and the crowd was completely devoted to him.

"Wanna believe my own hype, but it's too untrue," Lupe raps on "Superstar," but anyone in attendance will have trouble believing that the hype could have possibly surpassed the product. The spring concert this year was a far cry from its previous incarnations, replete with elaborate lighting, a projector screen and the kinetic musical ringmaster known as Girl Talk (or Gregg Gillis off the stage).

Yes, it started later than the tickets claimed, leaving some people confused as to what was taking so long. But with both performances lasting more than an hour, the entire crowd thrashing about in the epileptic frenzy that has become Girl Talk's trademark and Lupe deftly guiding the audience from technical difficulties to soaring choruses, Elon got what it hasn't gotten out of a spring concert for years: A truly great show.

Girl Talk, flanked by his skeleton-masked hellions launching toilet paper into the crowd with leaf blowers, bouncing around a laptop held to a weighted table, dove straight into his mash-ups, mixed live on the stage.

For the uninformed, Girl Talk is a bizarre musical Rumpelstiltskin. He brings songs to their lowest, most simple levels. A riff here, a beat there, he takes these components, which alone are incomplete and meaningless, and then spins them into gold.

Take the song, "Here's the Thing," which he performed at the concert. It begins with Chicago's "Saturday in the Park," combined with Quad City DJs' "C'mon N' Ride It," then moves on to couple Kelly Clarkson with Nine Inch Nails and MC Hammer.

It's a sound that's simultaneously completely identical and individual. Yes, dancing to Girl Talk is essential (especially for the lucky few got to perform on the stage), but the key to the music is in the creative freedom it ultimately grants the listener. With a typical song, there's one key memory associated with the track in its entirety, there's one main emotion.

With Girl Talk, there's a kaleidoscope at work. With so many popular songs blended together, listeners project their own experiences and preferences onto Girl Talk. And if something doesn't work, another combination is right around the corner. Although it's hard to see anyone having a problem with Earth, Wind and Fire combined with Ludacris.

Lupe was a completely different performer. Although the energy of his swagger matched that of Girl Talk's trashing, and his spitfire delivery at times matched the beats Girl Talk put down, his music comes from a completely different place. He had a simple answer for where his inspiration continues to come from.

"The world and its terrible ways," he said, building upon the socially conscious lyrics that provide the backbone for songs such as "Little Weapon" and "Daydreamin'."

Lupe's set was fantastic. By the end of the show those who didn't know him were trying their best to catch onto his choruses to sing along with the diehard fans.

But most people knew how great Lupe would be on stage, the question that most fans had on their mind was of his future. For quite some time, Lupe has talked about making his third album his final production, a massive three-part piece known as "LupE.N.D" which would have a continuous storyline and a wide cast of characters, similar to his second album, "The Cool."

"I felt like I wouldn't have that much more to say," Lupe laughed, going on to talk about how his label, Atlantic Records, wanted to cut down on such an ambitious endeavor. Now, Lupe's next album is titled, "Lasers," and will be "going back to what works, making more records like 'Kick, Push.'"

While trying to stay ahead of the trend, Lupe ensured that he wouldn't be straying too far from his roots, and there would be no auto-tune to be found. But, and he promised this with an excited grin, there would plenty of surprises in both the sound and guest appearances.

Lupe attributes hip-hop to having saved his life, for all of its shallow tendencies and his frequent criticisms of its minutia. And Elon can thank the Student Union Board, Lupe and Girl Talk for saving the spring concerts from a cycle of bland artists and instead putting an anarchistic musical deconstructionist and a masterful rapper in their place.