The expansive grounds of the University of Ilorin lie at the centre of Ilorin, Kwara State, where North melds into West. It is slightly surprising to watch the sea of hijab covered heads and bodies sheathed in abayas hurrying toward the main bowl of the sports complex, from where the sounds of contemporary Nigerian music thrum. Clearly, UNILORIN refuses to fit any stereotype.
There’s a mad dash for the Red Cross booth at 2pm when the MC, Veejay Tipsy, announces that things are about to get started. Students wait impatiently, but in an orderly queue, for their temperatures to be checked and their hands sanitized.
“The World Health Organisation has declared Nigeria Ebola free, so why are we going through this?” a male student mutters to his friend.
“Guy, it’s better to be safe, abeg”, his friend responds, holding out his palm for a dollop of sanitizer.
The sun is merciless this afternoon. A mass of students make a bee-line for the shade of the stands. Others however shrug off the stinging rays to inspect the double-decker Coke Studio bus and take lots of “selfies” with friends.
“Man, that studio is dope” Fabulous BTG, a 300L student of Physical Science tells his friends “It’s got two 70 inch flat screen TVs, and the studio is phenomenal. I recorded a track in it yesterday, and guys, I’ve been shortlisted for the competition today. I hope I win. I would love to rap onstage with Reminisce. It would so make my year” he added.
That wasn’t to be, unfortunately. Fabulous BTG battled aspiring R&B singer, Ayeesha; rappers David Hunter and Generous for a chance to perform live with “Ligali” hit maker, Dammy Krane. 400L Library Science student Ayeesha’s sultry tones and steamy performance won over the crowd, which poured out of the stands to watch the highly entertaining rounds of the singing competition.
Rappers Lurge, LaVida, M’Kiddo, Sauce, Usain and Whalez took turns at the microphone next, vying for an opportunity to stand beside Time magazine listed “rapper to watch” Reminisce. Whalez, a 400L student of Microbiology shone in the round to thunderous applause from the students leaning against the barricades.
The crowd ran wild, when “Ori E” and “Bobby E” hit-maker, Zeez, got things started, reminding the students of the catchy beats of his run away hits. Hip-hop artiste, Jaywon, kept the tempo up with "This Year", "Angelina" and "Tana Wole" before “The enterkraner”, Dammy Krane, sent the students screaming, as he performed "My Dear" and "Ligali".
Caught up in the excitement and feeding off the manic energy of the crowd, Dammy Krane first threw his neckpiece and then his jacket into the crowd, before crowd-surfing on the shoulders of two guards as the huge crowd sang "Sabi Dance" with him, before he bowed out with his “closing prayer”- Amin.
Things came to a head when "Alaga Ibile ", Reminisce, was chauffeured into the arena. For half an hour, a group of students circled the vehicle, hoping to get a glimpse of the rapper. Everyone was stunned to see him on stage. “How on earth did he escape?” The students wondered as they rushed forward into the arena and poured out of the stands to get closer to the action.
Reminisce did not disappoint, performing "Kako bi Chicken"; "Too Mussh" and "Quality", with the massive crowd chanting along and screaming “Alaga Ibile” at intervals.
“I went to a Polytechnic o” Reminisce reminded the audience.
“See me now. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Your dreams are within your reach o. For those of you who desire a career in music, platforms such as Coke Studio are absolutely important for your development”. He added before drawing the curtain on the show with mega hit "Daddy".
Brand Manager, Colas,
"I am really impressed by the participation and enthusiasm of the students. Ilorin is renowned for its great musical tradition so we decided to give aspiring artistes from the University this opportunity to perform on stage with some of Nigeria's best. This has totally exceeded our expectations “he commented.
The Coke Studio Campus Concert was conceived as an extension of the televised Coke Studio Africa show which brings together artistes from all over the continent to create a new and authentically African sound from different genres and styles of music.
In addition to Unilorin, it has toured eight major campuses in Nigeria with many of the country’s hottest music stars. These include Lagos State Polytechnic, University of Benin, Abia State University, University of Lagos, Obafemi Awolowo University, the University of Port Harcourt and CRUTECH.
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