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Rising Star Kamaiyah plays at Cowling Hauntcert

<ir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-8de69274-3094-fce9-0916-5add72974be8">This past Saturday night, Cowling may have experienced the most lit night of its entire existence. What began as music playing in the abysmal gymnasium we know and love, quickly transformed into a throbbing concert venue headlined by one of the most acclaimed rap artists of 2016, Kamaiyah.

The “Hauntcert” was the latest version of the annual Halloween dance sponsored by the SAO and the Student Activities Programming Board. Many still remember the controversial tent dance of 2014, and ever since then, the SAPB has been trying to move to rebrand Halloween at Carleton and to create a new tradition.

“Just having a Cowling dance seemed kind of sad, so last year we came up with the idea of doing a concert,” said Nate Grein, Program Assistant for the SAPB and General Manager of the Cave. “What we are trying to do is create a tradition of bringing an artist to Cowling, and to make it a special event.”

Last year, the Halloween concert was well received, as it featured student DJs and the Minneapolis-based R&B band, Sonny Knight and the Lakers. This year, the SAPB took the concert to a new level with  rap star Kamaiyah as the headliner.

“We contacted quite a number of groups, and then someone threw out Kamaiyah, and then we were all like ‘duh, Kamaiyah, a no-brainer’,” Nate said.

Born in California and inspired by black female music icons like Missy Elliot and Aaliyah, the rap artist Kamaiyah has recently ascended to a commendable level of stardom. Her debut mixtape released this past March, ‘A Good Night in the Ghetto,’ was quickly venerated by music publications such as Pitchfork, SPIN, and MTV. Her rise in the music arena has recently led her to be featured on a YG track with Drake.

Bringing Kamaiyah to campus was not only an accomplishment because of her rising fame, but also because she brought with her diversity to the often-stagnant music scene at Carleton.

“We have a lot of white dudes performing at our school, at the Cave and at Spring Concert,” Nate said. “So we were really excited to have such a badass feminist lady of color; it’s just what we want to be about at SAO.

Kamaiyah is currently on tour with the hip-hop artist YG, but fortunately she was able to detour for this performance. Although it wasn’t her first concert at a college, it was her first time performing in Minnesota.

“I like it so far, but I definitely do not want to come here in the winter,” Kamaiyah joked.

Kamaiyah had gotten some details about Carls from the SAPB, and said she loved what she heard.

“I heard y’all are wild and I cannot wait to see,” she said.

Although the concert was set to begin at 10:30, Cowling gymnasium was pretty empty when the time rolled around. However, soon after the opener DJ Vision emerged, the crowd began to grow. By the time Kamaiyah took the stage, it felt like a real concert.

When Kamaiyah finally parted the stage, the crowd was screaming, and she was laughing and yelling how much she loved us. She even singled out one student to say, “I love this guy, y’all give him a valedictorian!”

“I think that everybody there had a really good time, the energy was really high,” Nate said. “And she was so hype, she loved it.”

Thanks to the success of the concerts in the past two years, it looks like the SAO and SAPB will work to continue the Hauntcert tradition. Cowling may not be the ideal concert venue, but this past Saturday proved that it does more than get the job done. Carleton truly embodied the lyrics of Kamaiyah’s hit “Break You Down” last weekend: “We can freak it, boy, we can freak it.”

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