WERW brings hip-hop acts to Schine Underground to kick off semester
WERW kicks off fall with hip-hop acts at Schine Underground
Between songs WIKI sipped from a 16-ounce Coca-Cola can, smiling and proudly showing off his missing front teeth. He was casual on stage, and so was the crowd that watched him perform.
WIKI and Troyce Pitones played in Schine Underground on Thursday, Sept. 27 for student-run radio station WERW’s Fall Launch Party, an annual event that brings trendy artists to Syracuse University.
For past events, WERW has hosted indie acts such as Porches, LVL UP, and LGBTQ-friendly band PWR BTTM, before the indie rock community was rocked by sexual assault allegations against lead singer Ben Hopkins. Tonight’s show, firmly in the hip-hop realm, differs from previous launch shows the radio station has staged.
Originally, WERW had booked Chynna to open for WIKI, a mellow hip-hop and rhythmic rap artist from Philadelphia who grew up from releasing her music on Soundcloud. She released a single this summer, “leo season,” which drew her nods from Pitchfork, Interview magazine, and Refinery 29 among others. However, in a tweet posted just an hour before doors opened at 8, they announced that Chynna would not be performing, citing “unforeseen issues with travel.”
WERW Radio regrets to inform you that Chynna is unable to perform at tonight's Launch Party due to unforeseen issues with travel.
Troyce Pitones will be performing in Chynna’s place as an opener. He has a killer DJ set in store that'll open for our headliner WIKI. pic.twitter.com/bXjz5izhQG
— WERW (@WERWradio) September 27, 2018
“Not having our original opener for the launch is disappointing, but we have worked hard to ensure a great night full of music, candy, photo booths, and more,” a second tweet in a two-part thread stated.
Troyce Pitones, the stage name of Syracuse sophomore Khari Brandes, opened for WIKI as a last-minute backup. The DJ has released music on Soundcloud to a small, 700-strong following.
He played to a growing and mingling crowd, mixing recent hip-hop’s enduring hits including Migos’ “Bad and Boujee,” Lil Uzi Vert’s “XO TOUR Llif3” and Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow,” not unlike what partygoers hear at frat houses on Friday and Saturday nights.
Following Pitones set, WIKI’s DJ who goes by the name Sammy mixed for a short while while a 90s style cartoon depicting someone rolling and smoking a joint rolled in the background.
WIKI, who takes his name from the encyclopedic website, grew out of New York City’s ’90s hip-hop culture. Before going solo, he was a principle member of RATKING, a rap collective active from 2012-2015. Both RATKING’s music and WIKI’s solo stuff are heavily doused in 90s nostalgia. Primary influences include Wu Tang Clan, Nas, and Notorious B.I.G. His website features an 8-bit game promoting his 2017 album: “Help Wiki get downtown for his show and preview 2 exclusive tracks from his latest album “No Mountains in Manhattan.”
WIKI strolled around onstage with the same subdued energy that dogs the style of music he makes. The crowd mirrored that, bobbing their heads and loosely moving.
But his beats weren’t limited to old-school style. Modern trap influences found a place in his set, especially as he ad-libbed “Ay, ay, ay.”
Between songs WIKI sipped from a 16-ounce Coca-Cola can, smiling and proudly showing off his missing front teeth, a signature characteristic that WERW chose to illustrate in their promotional materials, incorporating a white line drawing of his mouth.
Perhaps the best part of the show was Sammy. His bright smile, which got brighter whenever WIKI turned to face him, and long curly hair pulled back into a thick man-bun-sans-hipster painted him as a fun dude. He bounced around with a decidedly hip-hop but still childish energy that made him very fun to watch perform.
“It’s not too cold yet?” WIKI joked about Syracuse’s reputation as a cold and snowy city.
Though the crowd was visibly smaller towards the end of the show, WIKI delivered a consistent performance that those who stayed appeared to enjoy.