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Visionary Visual Arts’ Dean’s List Concert Rocks Heritage Hall

Created in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first Dean’s List event was hosted in the indoor basketball court of The Yards at Old State and was meant to be a small concert among friends.

Now, Visionary Visual Arts (VVA) helped the event grow and put together an experience highlighting up-and-coming artists, and this year’s event took place on Thursday, April 6, in Heritage Hall.

“The message I’m trying to spread is just support your artists, support the people who make music around you, and support everybody who has a hustle — put them in a position where they shine,” VVA Vice President Philip Dure said.

With the help of fellow students CJ Kente, Kamryn Coleman, and Penn State alum DJ Rictor, Dure was able to get the resources to fund and support this community of creators.

“Without Rictor, I wasn’t able to get these big artists to reach out to. We’ve been able to come together and put on a show,” Dure said.

The hall hosted a DJ and colored lights, setting a tone of excitement and encouraging students to dance to various rap and hip-hop remixes before the concert. Some songs included in the mix were “Team Lil Man Anthem” by DJ Lilman, “We Paid” by Lil Baby, and “Pipe Up” by Migos.

The concert started at around 7:30 p.m., and students Jadyn Stuart and Eric Pichardo ran onto the stage, greeting the large crowd of a little under 200.

Not only do Stuart and Pichardo host Culture Central, a Penn State talk show for students of different cultures, but they also emceed Dean’s List on Thursday.

The first performer was student Swervo. His songs definitely got the crowd going, and the show kicked off to an energized start. He performed “Can’t Stop the Rain,” which is a recent upbeat hit. One of the other songs, “The Come Up,” had a slower beat and story on how Swervo developed into who he is now.

“This a song to everybody getting money right now,” Swervo said.

The second performer was Cheff. It was his second year featured at Dean’s List, and Stuart claimed he was the “heartthrob” from last year.

Some of Cheff’s songs like “Find a Way,” “Running Around, Pt. 2,” had a more melodic sound, with some emo-rap vibes. He later brought all his friends on stage, who hyped him up and excited the crowd. Most of his songs had mentions of love and heartbreak.

“Put all your middle fingers up for your exes,” said Cheff.

The next artist was MB3. Songs like “Bury Now,” “30 for 30,” and “Crash + Burn,” had great flow with lots of metaphor and wordplay.

The audience was also on the edge of their seats and rapped some of the lyrics.

“I’m riding with Philly tonight. We are Dean’s List with it,” MB3 said.

Rounding out the up-and-coming artists was Dwavy. His songs had more of a trap sound, with fast hi-hats and auto-tuned verses.

Songs like “she know” and “Heartaches” had a strong beat to bounce to. The last song, “Takes Time,” was a collab with Cheff, and both rappers performed on stage.

During a small break, Stuart and Pichardo hyped up the crowd with a fun “finish the lyrics” segment to Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares,” which everyone crushed.

Afterward, there was a “Just Wanna Rock,” dance-off, featuring members of the audience pulled onto the stage and the iconic hip rocks by Lil Uzi Vert.

Yvngxchris then got on stage, igniting the crowd and starting a pit. He performed songs like, “off the leash!,” “Walk,” and the TikTok famous, “Blood On the Leaves.” His sound was classic Soundcloud with deep bass and unique samples.

In between the headliners, Stuart and Pichardo returned to host a get sturdy dance-off, bringing some more strong-kneed audience members on stage to get low.

Lastly, Scorey took the stage and brought back the emo-rap, melodic sound. He opened with “Rock N Roll,” slowed down with “Moods,” and ended with “Oh Well.”

Outside of the main concert area were various pop-up shops selling clothing and stickers, all created by Penn State students.

Elysium, owned by fourth-year industrial engineering student Olivier Shumbusho, showcased various products with anime motifs and images.

Samson Jiya, a fourth-year IST major and one of the co-founders of EtheREAL, caught eyes with an “out of this world” theme of astronaut skeletons.

Lastly, Eternal Spirits, founded by fourth-year economics major Jabreel Dickens, hosted a table full of vibrant hoodies and tees.

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About the Author

Marie Moyer

Marie is a fourth-year student majoring in journalism and minoring in sociology. She loves being fiscally irresponsible at local farmers markets, watching niche documentaries on HBO, and going to Penn State hockey games as "self-care." You can reach her on Instagram - @_mariemoyer_ or send her suggestions (and cat photos) via her email - [email protected].

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