To cap off an exciting week of eco-themed arts and wellness activities aimed at promoting sustainable learning, GreenFest hosted a free concert for students featuring rapper Gunna at the Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theater on Friday, April 8th.
Usually an annual spring tradition at San Diego State, this was the first GreenFest Concert held since Daniel Caesar performed in Spring 2019. Alternative rock band Young the Giant was slated to perform at 2020’s GreenFest Concert before it was canceled, due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. That being said, students were eager and ready for the night’s big show.
Before the concert began, GreenFest held a concert kickoff event at the Aztec Student Union where student musicians set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Starting off the festivities, a trio of SDSU student artists: Alexandra!, Caleb Hampton and GONE performed at the kickoff. Before the artists graced the stage, students in the union spent their time playing air hockey, foosball and ping pong in the union while snacking on free Ike’s sandwiches and complimentary shaved ice and ice cream.
Going first, alexandra! performed a dreamy cover of Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” along with her song “birthday! (I’ll be alright) ”and two unreleased tracks, including“ mystery machine, ”which references the super corny scooby-doo quip delivered by Dr. Strange in“ Spiderman: No Way Home ”(you know the one). Her brief set was lovely and set the tone for the great live music to come.
Hampton followed alexandra! with a performance of a few songs from his debut project “Atuk,” including “Wiseguy” and “Chains” along with several unreleased tracks, two of which he’d finished within 24 hours of his performance. He brought great intensity and passion to the stage, with his song “Pettigrew” being an instant highlight. Hampton steadily rapped his verse along with the guest verse from his friend Dre the Monarch, moving closer to the crowd and cementing himself as an engaging performer.
Finishing off the three sets, GONE sang several songs from his new EP “444,” which was released on March 8. He also performed his single “Bang My Line” which is about being in pursuit of someone who he promises to treat right. GONE’s alternative R&B sound provided a soothing, laid-back atmosphere for students to sway and groove as the sun went down over the union roof.
Following the performances in the union, the doors opened at the Cal Coast for the night’s main event.
Beginning at 8 pm, the concert began with opener Outside the Frame, an SDSU punk rock band and winners of GreenFest’s Battle of the Bands competition last November. The group performed a mix of original material as well as popular covers like “Somebody Told Me” by The Killers and Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire” which got a lot of the crowd on their feet and singing along. Their set brought a lot of spirit and energy that got people hyped for the concert’s headliner.
About ten minutes before Gunna took to the stage, fans inside the pit began rushing to the barrier in front of the stage, anticipating him to come out any minute. After a huge sound like a shotgun blast rang from the stage, Gunna sprinted on stage and began with the track “Poochie Gown” from “Drip Season 4ever.”
Living up to his title as one of hip-hop’s best and boldest dressers, Gunna was styled in the finest streetwear, rocking iced-out glasses, a pink Milano Di Rouge jacket and faded ripped jeans.
Throughout the set, he was subtly dropping indicators about what song he was about to perform, like saying how he was feeling a little hot, five seconds before the beat for “Hot” dropped.
The song many people were anticipating most on the night was Gunna’s Billboard Top 10 single “Pushin P,” a song that grew in popularity for its catchiness and wordplay as well as it found a significant audience on social media (especially TikTok) as a meme. . When the song started playing, people started making “p” shapes with their hands and going absolutely bananas.
From his catalog, Gunna performed many of the songs he’s made with his friend and collaborator Young Thug as well as many of his well-known hits like “Sold Out Dates,” “Oh Okay” and “Top Off.” Each of these songs received a great reaction from the crowd, with the screaming, scrambling and smoking among fans growing by the minute.
There were tons of excitement in the crowd (which was around 80-90% full), even among the fans who seemed like they didn’t know Gunna from Lil Baby. Many fans in the pit were rapping along to every word while others nodded their heads or jumped up and down while having a little fan freakout and rushing closer to get a glimpse of him.
While finishing off his set with “Mop,” Gunna hopped down off the stage in front of the barricade separating him from hundreds of fans vying for his attention. He walked across the length of the barrier and then against his security’s best interests he entered the pit, where fans began pushing and falling over each other to crowd around Gunna before he was ushered back to the stage where he finished the song.
Overall, an SDSU tradition returned, and students partied accordingly.