In what has nearly become a hip-hop concert that still hopes to appeal to a variety of musical tastes, hip-hop artist Wale will be among the three acts featured at this year’s Yardfest, the College Events Board and the Harvard Concert Commission announced Friday.
Wale, the stage name of 25-year-old Washington, D.C. rapper Olubowale Folarin, will be performing along with fellow hip-hop artist Kid Cudi and indie folk singer-songwriter Patrick Park.
The addition of Wale gives the fifth annual spring concert—scheduled for April 18 in Tercentenary Theatre—a distinct hip-hop bent, breaking away from the tradition of pairing artists from disparate genres. That decision, according to HCC director Synne D. Chapman ’11, was a consequence of prioritizing high-quality artists that fit their logistical constraints over the simple maintenance of genre diversity.
CEB vice-chair Stephen G. Anastos Jr. ’11 said last Monday that rap was the top-ranking genre on their survey of students last fall, giving credence to the designation of hip-hop as the main genre at Yardfest.
Still, Anastos maintained that there was some variety in the choice of artists, saying that the selection came as a result of two different perspectives.
“One was that we should have a diverse group. The other was that we should have a hip-hop show and that we should make it awesome,” he said. “I think we’re pumped that we can do both of those.”
Wale has released five mixtapes and one full-length album entitled “Attention Deficit.” Debuting on Nov. 10, 2009, the album surged to the number 21 spot on the Billboard 200 in its first week, helped by popular singles like “Chillin” and “Pretty Girls.”
Contract negotiations to bring Wale to campus continued through the middle of last week, Anastos said.
Even by the time Kid Cudi’s performance was announced last Monday, Wale’s performance had not been finalized.
The last time three artists performed at Yardfest was two years ago when Joey DeGraw performed briefly in between his brother Gavin DeGraw and the Wu-Tang Clan.
This year, Park will open the concert, with Wale following and Kid Cudi finishing.
“We were really fortunate to be able to do that this year,” Anastos said about the number of musicians at this year’s concert. “Putting together three artists was clearly not an easy task, but a lot of people from the CEB and the HCC worked hard to make it happen.”
But regardless of the number or genre of the artists performing, Chapman, who is also a Crimson magazine editor, said that, at its core, Yardfest is more than just a free concert in the middle of the Yard.
“It’s the only event all year when the entire undergraduate population comes together to have fun in the sun, weather permitting obviously,” Chapman said. “If you don’t go to Yardfest during your time at Harvard, you’re missing out on your experience here.”
—Staff writer Naveen N. Srivatsa can be reached at email@example.com.