Mike Floss was the catalyst to the night, starting off with a high energy set that featured heavy R&B beats, influenced by popular artists such as Travis Scott and Lil Uzi. Arriving in Ithaca from Tennessee, Floss brought his innovative and unique sound, inspired by the regressive rap culture prominent in Nashville. Sporting the finest of urban street wear, Floss took the stage in a black and red tracksuit with an embroidered head scarf, belting out his “Freak of the Week.” Floss’s sound radiated throughout Barton Hall, as his opening track surely set the tone for a high energy night. About midway through his performance, Floss pointed to a section leftward of the stage that just wasn’t keeping up with his energy level. He laughed and said, “Don’t worry though. Early in the show is like early in the semester. You can turn that shit around.” Students smiled as they jumped a little higher and sang a little louder.
Floss’s realness and relatability drove the energy upward, completely obliterating the boundary between artist and audience. Floss further tore down this boundary when he climbed down from the stage and blended into the eager audience. “We’re gonna go this way and that way,” he chanted as he danced, both figuratively and now literally moving the audience. Students in close proximity posted Snapchat selfies with Floss in the crowd, making sure to let their friends know that Barton was the place to be for the night, not Olin. Throughout his hour long performance, Floss frequently made references to his humble beginnings, expressing utmost excitement to be at such a university. In one of his bouts of enthusiasm, Floss laughed and said, “When I leave here I get to tell my mom I went to an Ivy League School!”
Following a full set of upbeat records, Floss chose to end with a uniquely reflective and sentimental track about his roots, telling us fans and Cornellians alike that sometimes he too feels lost. Sometimes he too rethinks his career path, as we change our minds and change our majors. He expressed that he often wonders whether or not he should have gone for basketball, with the potential to “make quick mills” instead of going for music. However he affirmed that music is his calling. “Music is what I feel like I’m brought on this earth to do. I want to make my life something when I leave this earth,” Floss said. In speaking to such a corporate-driven Cornell culture, I undoubtedly believe that Floss was able to inspire us often conflicted Cornellians to go for our passions: to find our spiritual callings. “I gotta make this impactful,” Floss said. “I gotta leave with something honest.”
Drake’s “God’s Plan” sounded as there was a sudden shift in energy, signaling the arrival of Playboi Carti. Nervous excitement glazed over the crowd, as Barton’s lights shut and the stage lights glistened.The Atlanta-raised star took the stage in plaid pants, a prominent trend in street wear. He began with one of his most hype tracks, titled “Tats on My Neck,” from his newest 2017 album, Playboi Carti. Energy was still on the rise, as fans patiently awaited his most well known track, “Magnolia,” which hit #4 on US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs back in 2017. “Mosh pit, mosh pit,” chanted Carti, and fans knew it was coming. There was pure revelry and excitement, as strangers danced in unison. “In New York I milly rock, hide it in my sock,” he sang, his ice glistening in the stage lights. Carti proceeded with “dothatshit!” followed by “Fetti” and “What,” with energy on the rise until he bumped his popular “Woke Up Like This” featuring Lil Uzi Vert. During this track, energy peaked as students belted out familiar lyrics, realizing with contentment that this wasn’t another frat party. Carti was here. At the end of his set, Carti repeated “Magnolia,” giving students yet another chance to “milly rock” here in upstate New York.
Overall, Playboi Carti delivered a mixture of his most popular crowd pleasers and tracks off of his new album, illuminating the faces of stressed Cornellians. To fans’ dismay, Barton’s lights suddenly turned on as students reunited with their friends. Some stayed for a photo op with Mike Floss, and others made the familiar trek back to Collegetown or their respective dorms, some stopping for the quintessential Collegetown bagel. All in all, it was another successful installment in the anual Cornell Concert Commision, and the student body eagerly awaits their next musical guest.
Juliette Rolnick is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org