Lil Skies and Weston Estate bring the love to Rider’s campus

By Madison Lewis

Rapper Lil Skies and alternative band Weston Estate brought together two juxtaposing audiences in a welcoming environment, as students danced through the annual spring concert, coordinated by the Student Entertainment Council. 

On March 23 at 6 p.m., The Rider News had an exclusive interview with 25-year-old Skies, where he detailed his life, creative process and advice for college students who are looking to pursue a career in the music industry.

He said that he gained traction at 18 years old and fostered his creativity by “smoking weed.” Skies said he has been smoking since he was 14 years old and smokes before every show.

He then spoke directly to the Rider students who wanted advice on how to establish a successful music career.

“If school ain’t for you don’t be mad … you want to drop out and pursue your dream, there is nothing wrong with that,” said Skies. “I don’t want to influence nobody to drop out, but life is too short. We need to go ahead and do what you want to do.”

Skies looked forward to this performance, hoping that Rider would bring an electric energy.

“Some schools, they came to let loose, turn up and have fun; that’s what I like. … I know I’m going to give a thousand percent,” he said.

Students waited restlessly in the Student Recreation Center for wristbands that granted access to the concert at 7 p.m, while others waited in lines that wrapped around the front of the building for free food.

Fan favorites like the “Empanada Guy,” “Yooo Cuz” and “Mister Softee” were parked in front of the venue, feeding the famished students before they ventured into the SRC, which housed a large stage, illuminated by neon light fixtures. 

Opening act Weston Estate began the show as the audience filtered in, migrating closer and closer to the stage with their fists pumping to the beat of the music. 

The band, which consists of five members, performed upbeat, original songs like “Outside” and more somber songs like “Silence,” which the audience responded to with a slow and dramatic wave of their hands.

Lil Skies engages the audience with his performance. Photo by Josiah Thomas.

The performers not only interacted with the audience, but bantered with other members of the band, laughing and motioning to each other throughout the show.

After the set concluded, the crowd retained their elevated energy with dance circles where students break-danced in the center and tagged each other in.

Junior psychology major Oyedapo Akinboye, who participated in the dance circle, commented on how he enjoyed the genre differences between the two artists. 

He was pleasantly surprised by the stark contrasts in “vibe,” saying that he would listen to the opener if he were “going on a walk,” but he would listen to Skies to “try and turn up.”

The boisterous dancing and cheering engulfed the room, and that feel-good spirit flourished in a frenzy, the celebration continuing until a raffle was called.

Students received a ticket at admittance, which entered them into a raffle for gift cards, like Applebee’s and Domino’s, and even more lavish prizes at the end.

The dance circle resurrected after the winners were called, and it persisted until Skies graced the stage.

While the students anxiously awaited Skies’ arrival, DJ Rello, Skies’ personal DJ, hyped the crowd after saying the rapper would join him on stage.

Eventually, Skies entered like a whirlwind, bringing the energy he promised in the interview.

Skies performed some of his most popular songs, including “I Like Girls,” which brought the crowd to life, followed by “Lust.”

The song ended with the lyrics “[there’s] not a lot of love,” which Skies followed by saying, “I love you guys, though” – a sentiment addressed to the increasingly elated Bronc-filled venue.

Between songs, Skies encouraged the audience to up the enthusiasm and not be afraid to move around.

A few more songs played until the concert met its inevitable and bittersweet conclusion, and Skies implored the audience to give “a million percent” for “Red Roses.”

During the song, spectators shrieked in excitement as Skies tore his shirt off and chucked it toward the crowd and into the hands of an appreciative fan.

Skies departed from the stage and the mood in the crowd shifted when another raffle was announced. This time, there was an Apple Watch, Apple HomePod and tickets to the upcoming Drake and J. Cole concert.

As the crowd dispersed, people left with their spirits lightened, holding tightly onto Skies’ sentiment: “If nobody believes in you, I believe in you.”

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