Black Beatles in Kansas City
Rae Sremmurd and Nelly’s Echo perform at UMKC
April 20, 2023
Photos by Emmanuel Morales
Rae Sremmurd and Nelly’s Echo performed at this year’s UMKC’s spring concert in the Swinney Recreation Center on April 19.
Students packed to the front of the stage to get a glimpse of the hip-hop duo with Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi. Crowd members stood closer than shoulder to shoulder despite the extra room in the back.
“It was an absolute blast. I haven’t had more fun at UMKC in my life,” said third-year law student Jeffery Bohnenblust.
The duo engaged concert members by recording themselves with student phones and reaching out to touch their hands. Slim Jxmmi crowd surfed among the sea of students while Swae Lee threw his t-shirt to the crowd. Even after the music was over, Swae Lee made his way around the stage to video himself with fans farther away.
“[Rae Sremmurd] did a great job of incorporating their old music with their new music…Thank you UMKC,” said freshman Allison Eppenauer. “Please come back.”
The pair of rappers entertained the crowd with hits like “No Type,” “Come Get Her,” “This Could Be Us” and tracks like “YMCA,” “Unforgettable” and the 2018 release “Sunflower” with Post Malone. The concert closed with their most popular song, released in 2016, “Black Beatles.” The track has over 868 million streams on Spotify and sparked the “Mannequin Challenge,” a social media trend where a large group of people would stay as still as possible.
Nelly’s Echo opened the concert with his own music and covers of popular radio hits. “Mr. Leroy,” “I’m Okay” and other songs of his were intertwined with covers of Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida,” Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” and Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.”
Nelly’s Echo rarely stopped to speak to the crowd and sang short speeches accompanied by mellow guitar. He engaged with UMKC students by reading cover suggestions from the crowd’s smartphones.
Not everyone planned ahead to see the show. Freshman Kendall Peterson was studying with a friend, but thought attending the concert would make a fun break.
“We were having a tough time with our class…I was like ‘Why not, let’s take a break and go to the concert, and then continue what we were doing,’” said Peterson.
For students needing an uplifting message to get through the semester, Swae Lee said:
“This sh*t ain’t easy, salute to y’all for making it this far.”