By Nicholas Hodge
Rocking his iconic shades, grills and dreadlocks, the King of Crunk himself looked over a rowdy crowd of Algonquin students packed in front of his stage and decided that they were not turned up enough.
“We can turn it up more than that,” he growled. “Turn the fuck up!”
And turn up they did.
Atlanta rapper and music producer Lil Jon kept a party raging in the Student Commons building until late in the night on Sept. 25 with a DJ set featuring remixed versions of modern pop hits and some of his own songs.
Lil Jon headlined Gonqfest, an annual back to school concert event organized by the Algonquin Students’ Association. 4Korners, the official DJ of the Toronto Raptors basketball team, also performed.
Instead of the Commons Theatre, Gonqfest was set up inside the main room of the Student Commons building. The second floor was designated as a 19 plus zone where alcohol was available.
Lil Jon insisted numerous times that his audience turn up. Getting turned up or turnt has become synonymous with partying hard or as he and the East Side Boyz used to regularly advocate for, getting crunk.
Broderick Wiseman, an event management student, could barely contain his excitement as he sat outside the building waiting for Lil Jon’s set.
“Okay, so I’m thinking Lil Jon,” Wiseman explained. “You know he turn up since 1996, yo, he’s my boy. He kept sippin’ that Crunk Juice, y’know.”
Crunk Juice is a mixed drink consisting of Red Bull and Hennessy cognac brandy that was named after the musical genre that Lil Jon helped make popular.
Wiseman has been a fan of Lil Jon ever since he collaborated with the Ying Yang Twins on the massively successful and controversial single Get Low. Kings of Crunk by Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz, the album featuring Get Low, was released in 2002.
“It’s like, yo, you my boy, get outta here, homie,” Wiseman said about Lil Jon.
“Swag,” he added.
Not every attendant was as enthusiastic about the concert as Wiseman, including Andrew Brown who was unable to spend the night with his friends on the second floor.
“They never explained to me that there are two different sections for 19 plus and under,” said Brown after being given a wristband that only gave him access to the alcohol free section. “I bought a ticket, I thought that because I’m 26 years old I can just walk in and buy some beer, but no.”
Clearly frustrated by the situation, Brown described the concert as the worst organized event he had ever attended.
“I’m a business major, I understand what they’re doing and it pisses me off to no end,” he said.
Val Bielawski, a business administration student, was annoyed to discover that Lil Jon’s set would start at 11 p.m. Because Bielawski lives in Stittsville, she would have to leave at that time to catch a bus home.
“For the people that live across town, this sucks,” Bielawski said. “Not so good reviews right now.”
Throughout the night several unruly people were escorted out of the venue by security, some kicking and screaming. The crowd outside the Commons would often mock and chant at the ejected individuals once they were taken beyond the fenced area.
Outside security was brought in to cover Gonqfest along with rules including a ban on bags and a more in depth entry process than what is experienced at most Algonquin concert events. The security would be needed at the end of the show to pull apart a physical confrontation that took place when Lil Jon threw his shirt into the audience.
Despite the frustrations of some, the audience was very responsive to Lil Jon’s set, almost everyone sang along to familiar choruses and jumped whenever the rapper demanded it.
“I came to party with you motherfuckers all night,” shouted Lil Jon around 12 a.m.
He left his DJ post during Shots, his 2009 collaboration with LMFAO, to bring his microphone to the front of the stage and throw water at the crowd. The song got a large reaction.
Other tracks Lil Jon spun included Bastille’s Pompei, DJ Khaled’s All I Do is Win, Magic’s Rude and Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass.
“I love this song, I don’t give a fuck,” he said defiantly when the crowd was hesitant to respond to Trainor’s summer hit. “I know you all be playing this in your car and shit.”
Towards the end of the concert Lil Jon played his contemporary singles, Bend Ova and Turn Down for What.
Almost the entire audience danced to Get Low by pointing to the window and then to the wall. Lil Jon turned down the music so he could hear his fans sing every word of the obscenity ridden chorus from his most popular song.
“I love the school spirit,” he said.