Drake Stadium turned into a sea of sorority snap-backs, bobbing heads and raised hands Sunday night as Campus Events Commission presented the annual event Bruin Bash. Each year, much anticipation surrounds the release of the Bruin Bash lineup, and this year’s less well-known lineup delivered satisfactorily with Los Rakas, Ra Ra Riot and Chiddy Bang, keeping those who attended listening.
Wide-eyed freshmen danced along with returning Bruins throughout the majority of the show. After many raunchy moments with risque lyrics and overbearing dance moves at last year’s Bruin Bash, such as Major Lazer’s bold back-up dancing, this year’s performers seemed to have a cleaner delivery while still raising the crowd’s energy.
After the stadium pumped up with some DJ beats, Los Rakas took the stage and started the show off with a high precedent for the rest of the show. The duo act strolled on stage, setting a smooth vibe, but quickly had the crowd screaming with their first few introductory words.
Representing Oakland, Calif., Los Rakas had the confidence to persuade new listeners of their music credibility as their heavy hip-hop beats streamed with sounds of reggae music. They began their set list with a catchy, “Can we take you to Oakland, California real quick?”
“Parkiando,” “Dun Dun” and “Ta Lista” were a few of the songs that comprised the set list from Los Rakas. Their Panamanian roots showed through their partly Spanish lyrics, and by the end of their set list, they had the audience chanting “Soy Rakas,” the title of their closing song.
After the DJ transitioned the crowd from Los Rakas’ hard-hitting performance to popular hip-hop songs, Ra Ra Riot took the stage. With the first act over and the show quickly moving forward, those attending kept up the stadium energy, standing up in their bleacher spots and dancing through the transition.
The six-member band took Bruin Bash’s second act in a different direction with an alternative feel, playing smooth vocals and rich instrumentals complete with violin. Although their set list did not serve for audience sing-alongs, the band delivered with raw enthusiasm and played some of their better-known songs such as “Boy,” “Can You Tell” and “Too Dramatic.”
CEC’s pick for the second act seemed mismatched with Los Rakas and Chiddy Bang; midway through Ra Ra Riot’s set list, a large part of the audience sat down to watch the act instead of dancing and screaming on their feet to heavy beats, as was the case with the other two acts.
However, as performers apart from the show, Ra Ra Riot gave a quality delivery and seemed to appeal to those who may not have been fans of the usual hip-hop performers characteristic of Bruin Bash. The band members clearly had chemistry with each other, and the lead singer added personality to the performance with high jumps and energetic movements.
Despite the inconsistency in crowd reaction, CEC gave Bruin Bash a larger dimension by presenting Ra Ra Riot rather than a third hip-hop artist. The lineup worked strategically with a high-paced opener, a more alternative second act and the energetic hip-hop-infused closer, Chiddy Bang.
With Chiddy Bang’s entrance, the stadium’s anticipation was shattered with loud screams from the audience. Chiddy Bang’s set list delivered not only crowd-pleasing beats and melodies, but also clever lyrics that kept listeners engaged. Chiddy Bang served as a good pick on CEC’s part because of students’ general familiarity with their tracks’ musical content and their ability to put on a solid show. While Chiddy Bang performed songs such as “Mind Your Manners,” it was next to impossible for the audience to stay seated.
The entertainment of the night reached a peak when Proto, the rapper half of Chiddy Bang, took audience suggestions for topics to incorporate into a freestyle rap. The crowd participation heightened energy and interest even more, and many Bruins were skeptical as to whether he could pull off the suggestions for the freestyle; sororities, fraternities, oranges, Kappa Delta, “icy” watches and friendship were a few audience-suggested topics he worked into his rhymes.
Proto proved himself as a truly talented artist when his freestyle rap succeeded with witty lines and flowing rhyme schemes. Later, he matched the high level of entertainment with more from his set list, closing with “Opposite of Adults,” one of Chiddy Bang’s better-known tracks.
Bruin Bash 2012 showed new freshmen the magnitude of UCLA’s entertainment events and gave all Bruins a show with a diversity in performances and catchy music. Although CEC’s choice in lineup didn’t seem to appeal to a large majority of students, the performances still persuaded many of the artists’ high entertainment factor.