Students jammed the Quad Saturday to watch rapper Redman rock Fall Fest. But the artist stopped less than a half hour into his performance, complaining of a sore throat.
Redman, who was contracted by Program Board for an hour-long set, said he stopped his show after about 25 minutes because he did not want to hurt his throat.
“I was on the road, and I got a sore throat,” Redman said after his performance. “I got a list of shows, so I ain’t trying to, like, stretch it and do too much.”
Students said they were upset that Redman cut short an otherwise enjoyable performance.
“(Redman) got the crowd excited, but it sort of died out at the end,” senior Kate Scully said. “Playing at least an hour would be reasonable.”
Redman defended his decision to reporters and fans gathered backstage after the show. He said he gave a more energetic show to compensate for the short set.
Backed by rapper DJ Kool, Redman performed songs such as “Let’s Get Dirty,” “Rapper’s Delight” and “Let Me Clear My Throat,” after a shaky start with technical problems caused by a blown circuit.
PB Executive Chair Alicia O’Neil said the event was “fabulous.” She said she had not heard that Redman had a sore throat.
GW acts Nine Stories Up and Adam Richman also performed, as well as D.C.’s Bicycle Thieves and Delaware-based Stepanian. PB spent about $35,000 for the group acts, O’Neil said.
According to PB’s Web site, acts at last year’s Fall Fest featuring Cypress Hill cost $32,250.
PB Concerts Chair Josh Bhatti responded to student complaints that the line-up has not been diverse enough in recent years. In the past two years, hip-hop acts Rahzel, The Roots and Cypress Hill have performed at GW.
“Hip-hop has done well here,” Bhatti said. “As many people said, we just had the Roots and Cypress Hill, but look at the draws. It’s been working.”
The week before the event, Bhatti said he was “a little worried” about a lack of publicity for the event. He said PB had been negotiating with Redman during the summer but had not signed him to a contract until last week, so much of the publicity appeared without Redman’s name.
Bhatti said PB picked Redman to spark more interest from students who might have heard of him.
“We considered two smaller (Jurassic 5 and O.A.R.) acts but we thought the school wants a headliner,” he said. “Redman has name recognition and the hit single `Let’s Get Dirty.'”
O’Neil said PB selects its acts by taking a poll and picking the most popular one in the group’s price range. She said Redman did not win the Web poll last spring.
Besides music, Fall Fest featured a variety of free amusements and food, including a four-person bungee device, human bowling, playful boxing, a henna tattoo artist and a tarot card reader. Students received free T-shirts and cups when entering the event, but the giveaways ran out before the main act.
During his rowdy performance, Redman encouraged the crowd to be loud. He also talked about his new movie, How High and suggested students should “bring your munchies and your weed to the theaters.”
But Redman was serious towards the end of the performance, when he praised students for being in college and encouraged them to “stay focused and get your education.”