M.I.A. and Rye Rye Bring Energy to Barton HallOctober 19, 2010 —
Continuing on their solid streak of bringing in popular and eclectic performers, Cornell Concert Commission treated the community by bringing in Sri Lankan rapping phenomenon artist, Maya Arulpragasm, or more affectionately referred to as M.I.A. The artist, who is famous for controversy (have you seen her video for “Born Free”?) and incomprehensible Tweets, sang for a crowded Barton Hall on a chilly Sunday night in October.
The energy packed performance began with an opening set from Rye Rye, a nineteen year old rapper from inner city Baltimore and M.I.A.’s protégé. Although many in the Cornell community were unfamiliar with her music, those who were familiar with M.I.A.’s music knew the influence that the Sri Lankan performaner had on Rye Rye’s exponentially growing career. Most famous for her booty shaking and hip-thrusting viral video for “Shake it to the Ground”, Rye Rye riled up the energy of those in the audience and got them sweating before the main performer arrived to stage. Rye Rye has been touring with M.I.A. for three years now and has continued to grow in popularity. She has come a long way from her Baltimore roots although she makes sure to never forget her past in her songs. Her rapid-fire lyrics, in combination with her hip-breaking dance moves, energized up the crowd that was largely unfamiliar with her style and presence on stage. Most loved by those in the audience was her catchy and intoxicating remix of “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus. With her blonde bob, bright colored outfit and lip-busting lyrics, Rye Rye made sure that she would not be forgotten by anyone in attendance.
After a brief interlude filled with the electronic beats of M.I.A.’s DJ, the Sri Lankan artist made her way to the stage, sporting an eclectic outfit filled with mismatching prints and a pair of sunglasses that she refused to take off until she realized that she “couldn’t f***ing see anyone of [us]”. After soaking in the anticipation of the crowd, she busted out with crowd favorites such as “Galang” and “Sunshowers”. Although she is most popular for her cult favorite “Paper Planes” which was notably featured in several popular films such as Pineapple Express, M.I.A. embraced a solid mix of her classic hits as well as samples from her new album “/\/\/\Y/\” (Maya).
In general, expectations for M.I.A.’s performance were unknown. Although she has been known to woo crowds into her favor, an unsettling experience this summer at a New York concert where the rapper spit on a photographer and fled the stage after a couple of songs created a wave of hate towards the artist. Fortunately for the Cornell community, M.I.A. delivered an electrifying performance. She was more generous that individuals had expected, inviting those lucky enough to make it to the front row on the stage to dance with the legend herself. While performing her new song “Teqkila”, M.I.A. lamented that she was not able to bring alcohol on stage to share with the fifty-something people gyrating on stage when Rye Rye finally surprised the artist with a bottle of Patron, a rare sight at most Cornell parties. After taking a sip or three, she handed off the bottle to those in the audience, asking them to share the love.
This mother of a newborn climbed on speakers, jumped into the crowd and gyrated her hips like no one expected. Although we never saw a smile on her face or saw her return for an encore (believe me, I waited there like a lonely puppy), M.I.A. proved she was a force to be reckoned with and became yet another Barton Hall concert legend.