This past Thursday night, Malcolm X House put on its first ever “Rolling Wes” show, a concert in honor of Black History Month that paid homage to the famous Rolling Loud music festival. The show was a fantastic combination of hip-hop and R&B covers and original performances by an extremely talented set of Wesleyan artists, followed by an incredible performance by the night’s main act, Chicago native tobi lou.
The first artist to perform was Samia (Samia Dudley ’20), who sung her heart out to covers of hits by both Summer Walker and SZA, filling the room with passion and energy that got the crowd immediately involved. Next was Key (Kioni Marshall ’22), whose appearance at Rolling Wes was her first time performing in front of an audience and who came through with an amazing remix of “I Get The Bag” by Gucci Mane ft. Migos. Not only did she rap effortlessly on a beat, but she also got everyone hyped up and excited for the acts to follow. Next up, Cicero Presley (Jace Arouet ’21) and Pablo Lee Davis (Angel Santana ’21) brought a new meaning to the term dynamic duo. Presley rapped along to some incredibly creative Pablo Lee Davis beats with a unique style that even incorporated electric guitar at one point in their performance.
Jo Seph (Joseph Godslaw ’23) performed a few dope originals, showing off an impressive range of vocal as well as lyrical ability. Starting with upbeat bangers, he transitioned into more boom-bap lyrical songs in the middle of his set, then cooled down the vibes with a slow and melodic final tune.
“It was a lovely experience, I felt my spirit liberated,” Jo Seph said. “That moment on stage, nothing else matters, only true joy and happiness, because you know that your art is being appreciated by many. That feeling is priceless, and it’s something I would love to experience forever.”
The final Wesleyan act was Tyler (Tyler Jenkins ’22), who performed a beautiful original that got the crowd in their bag, but then brought the vibe back up with an awesome rendition of “High Fashion.” He was then joined by Dach (Dachelle Washington ’22), who added a unique vocal layer to their performance, ending the opening acts on a high note.
As tobi lou ran on stage, the crowd immediately roared with excitement. Tobi lou came out wearing a bandana, pink hoodie, and sparkling pants, and this outfit was a perfect parallel of the energy he brought to the stage.
“It was the best concert I’ve ever been to,” Ethan Brill-Cass ’23 said. “Getting to be that up close and personal with an artist I’ve admired for years and in such a great environment is unparalleled.”
Tobi lou brought people up from the crowd to do the TikTok dance to his hit song “Buff Baby” while he performed alongside them. Later in the show, tobi lou also brought an audience member on stage just to let him show off his moves. Fittingly, tobi lou ended the concert by jumping into the crowd, inciting chaos and excitement in his wake.
“I would say it was one of the best experiences I’ve had,” Nina Hirai ’23, a long-time tobi lou fan, said. “Getting to share such an intimate space with a performer that I’ve admired for so long was life changing, and the energy in that room was extremely unique.”
Tobi lou told the crowd that he was an introvert and usually liked to stay inside and cook up music all day, but he really appreciated the Wesleyan crowd and the opportunity to perform there. He even pushed to perform a final song after the event was being shut down, an effort in which he was successful.
The incredible job that X House did in bringing this event together cannot be overstated.
“We wanted to host an event that highlights the musical talent that exists on our campus, and we wanted to top it off with an artist who people know and love,” Inayah Bashir ’20, one of the hosts of the event, reflected. “With the generous help of [Director of Student Activities and Leadership Development] Joanne [Rafferty]…, we were able to secure tobi lou. We worked with the concert committee to secure the funding and it all came together Thursday night.”
Nathan Kolodney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.