The Social Committee (SC) has finalized the lineup for Spring Fling, although contracts with the artists are still pending. The May 10 event will feature Talib Kweli, Andrew W.K., and Wesleyan band Red Wire Black Wire.
The SC had originally chosen rapper Cam’ron to headline the day with W.K., but Public Safety and the Office of Student Activities and Leadership Development determined that Camron’s popularity raised safety questions.
“With his new album being released shortly and increased media attention, we had concerns about people from surrounding areas hearing about a free Cam’ron concert and the crowd increasing to an unmanageable size,” said Leilani Kupo, director of student activities and leadership development.
“When the Cam’ron issue came up, I had to tell Andrew W.K.’s agent that the situation was spiraling out of budgetary control, which didn’t make him too happy,” said SC member Jeremey Powell ’08.
Once the SC started looking for another main act, Powell called back W.K.’s agent, who had a suggestion for a replacement hip-hop headliner.
“The first name he mentioned was Kweli,” Powell said.
After contacting universities that had hosted Kweli, Kupo said it was determined that it would be easier to manage the number of people that Kweli would attract.
“The group consensus was Cam’ron, but honestly I think Talib is bigger than Cam’ron,” Powell said. “I really don’t believe it was an issue of popularity, there was obviously some other issue there. But we got it done.”
Kweli started his career alongside Mos Def and DJ Hi-Tek as part of the late ’90s hip hop group Black Star. After they disbanded, Kweli released his first solo album in 2000. He has since released three more albums, the most recent being 2005’s “Right About Now.”
Though Kweli has never reached the sales heights of many of his contemporaries, he has remained a respected critical favorite. Jay-Z famously rhymed, “If skills sold, truth be told/I’d probably be, lyrically, Talib Kweli.”
W.K., a classically trained pianist, started his career in numerous Detroit punk and metal bands. His first full-length album was 2002’s “I Get Wet,” of which Rolling Stone said: “He’s got blood on his face, big disgrace, screaming ‘party hard’ all over the place.”
Wesleyan synth-poppers Red Wire Black Wire will kick off the show at around 1:00 p.m. The group won Battle of the Bands several weeks ago and consists of Douglas Powers Walters ’08, Ted Feldman ’09, Dave Snydacker ’09, Zac Meyer ’08, and Jill Jaffe ’09.
An all-campus barbecue will be available to students for points or meals. As in the past, those who choose to consume alcohol on Foss Hill during the concert will have to present a state ID to receive a wristband.
According to Kupo, neither Kweli’s nor W.K.’s contract has been signed by the artists or the University. Kweli’s contract is currently being reviewed, and the University is currently waiting to receive W.K.’s contract after an incorrect version was sent by his management agency.
Still, Powell is confident the contract issues will be worked out, and this will not be another Cam’ron situation.
“We’re basically 100 percent good to go,” he said. “There’s no reason for it to not happen this time.”