DaBaby comes to ‘Cuse

DaBaby comes to ‘Cuse

Rapper DaBaby performs in Syracuse for student run 4/20 concert at Westcott Theater.

DaBaby performs at Westcott Theater in Syracuse
DaBaby arrives on stage in a full Burberry set as he performs on April 20.

Students and families walking in the Westcott neighborhood this past Saturday may have thought it was a normal afternoon.

However, hiding between the walls of The Westcott Theater was a wild concert headlined by a rapper with a five-times platinum record, complete with student vendors selling their merchandise and an outdoor smoking patio – allowing participants of legal age to celebrate 4/20.

DaBaby, known for his song “Rockstar” and feature on “Levitating” by Dua Lipa, rose to notoriety in 2020 when his music gained traction on TikTok. “Rockstar,” DaBaby’s only number one single, was nominated for three Grammys including Record of the Year in 2021, and went on to win the Billboard Music Awards’ top rap song later that year – complete with a viral TikTok dance Charli D’Amelio popularized to boot.




The concert was off to a shaky start, as the event was neither supposed to headline DaBaby or take place at the Westcott Theater.

Originally, rapper NLE Choppa was set to headline and perform at Castle Court Apartments, better known as “Castle,” a popular tailgating parking lot off campus at SU. After tickets had already been sold, NLE Choppa was rumored to have pulled out, leading the production team to secure DaBaby as their performer and later changing the venue on the day of the event. 

DaBaby has previously faced backlash due to homophobic comments he made during a performance at Rolling Loud in 2021, leading him to pull back from the public eye and see less success on his more recent records. 

In a YouTube interview with The Shop in May of 2023, the interviewer referred to his controversial past as a “sparring match with cancel culture” to which DaBaby replied, “Oh man, I got knocked the f*ck out.”

“I’m this type of person,” he continued. “I’m gonna fight to the tooth and nail, you know what I mean, about my character and me and my intentions. I’m not a bad person at all.”

DaBaby moshes in the crowd at Westcott Theater in Syracuse
DaBaby moshes in the crowd at Westcott Theater in Syracuse.

Saturday’s event was held by a student-run organization named Hush Hush, spearheaded by Syracuse University students Max Lehouiller and Joe Lauria

Lauria explained that organizing the rapper’s arrival and performance was no easy feat.

“Throwing an event like this has been a roller coaster ride,” he said. “So many highs, and so many lows. The week leading up was probably one of the most stressful weeks of my life, but watching the headline act get on the stage and seeing the crowd’s reaction made all meetings, phone calls, low points and countless hours of work worth it.” 

DaBaby took the stage just before 4:20 p.m. in a full Burberry get-up, walking out to a chorus of the crowd chanting “baby,” lead by his DJ, K.i.D.

The rapper came out with a mic in one hand and a joint in the other, and played all of his most popular songs, making up a mere 20-minute set. He closed with “Rockstar,” playfully telling the audience “If you a rockstar put your hands up Syracuse,” whilst in the center of a mosh pit.

Some DaBaby fans in attendance were excited to see him take the stage because of the nostalgia they have for when his music was at in the height of its popularity. 

“We’re COVID seniors and DaBaby was hot in 2020,” SU senior Malena Inchauspe said, explaining how the concert felt like a full circle moment for her college experience.

Beyond the notable headliner, the event also had a focus on showcasing talent from SU students both on and off stage.

SU senior Ashley Girouard was the opening DJ, playing a set as the doors opened and fans started to pour in. Another senior, Aidan Turner, was selling merchandise from his brand Grater Things, which he founded and designed. 

“We’re all about achieving greater things in life,” Turner said when describing his brand. “The most important part of that journey is having fun, making the most of the things you do and the people that you meet.” 

Hush Hush was able to pull off a concert that not only showcased a noteworthy headliner but also displayed the creativity of Syracuse students in a variety of fields, making the event an impressive last minute feat for a student-run organization.