House party at Holmes with Waka Flocka Flame


Mingda Wu

Atlanta-based rapper Waka Flocka Flame performs and interacts with the crowd during NIU’s homecoming concert held in the Duke Ellington Ballroom. (Mingda Wu | Northern Star)

DeKALB – Anticipation filled the air as thousands of NIU students made their way to the Holmes Student Center on Saturday night to see Waka Flocka Flame take the stage and kick off NIU’s 115th homecoming celebration.

NIU’s Campus Activities Board prepared the concert as early as the first week of August, according to the event contract.

“We’ve been working since the summer to get Waka here,” said Michael Newman, Huskie Den event coordinator. “It’s a great thing for campus, I can’t say it enough, just for the students to have something different.” 

The Atlanta-based rapper made waves in 2010 with his biggest single “No Hands.” The single peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified 3x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Newman went on to explain that a lot of detail and planning goes into these events and said that NIU is very student centric. The central location of Holmes Student Center helps to bring students into these homecoming events, Newman said. 

Waka Flocka Flame was backed up by longtime friend DJ Whoo Kid and a surprise opening act by Chicago native DJ Vestus, who took the stage at 8 p.m. in the Duke Ellington Ballroom. A sold out crowd of 2,000 students were packed into the venue with a boisterous atmosphere before the artists began their sets.

Campus police and security were present throughout the night with metal detectors, barricades and numerous bag checks implemented at the entrance to the ballroom.

Despite the extra security, students had a good time and seemed to be in high-spirits. 

“I’m here to have fun, I’m not going to lie, I like to jam and have fun,” said Jonah Harder, a first-year acting major. 

Harder’s friend Sania Henry, also a first-year acting major, said that they really enjoyed the atmosphere of the concert and the chance to connect with others. Henry said she just likes being in a place where people are enjoying spending time with friends and that she’s a big fan of Waka Flocka Flame and his music. 

The crowd seemed to have a positive energy that filled the room. When talking to students at the event, many said “No Hands” is one of their favorite Waka Flocka Flame songs. 

“I love Waka Flocka,” said Roni Jakubczyk, a sophomore psychology major. “‘No Hands’ is one of my favorite songs, and I, like, saw him (Waka Flocka Flame) once, and it was really fun.” 

DJ Vestus riled up the crowd for roughly an hour with classic dance party hits before DJ Whoo Kid introduced Waka to the stage. The crowd, lit up with phone flashlights, welcomed Waka onto the stage with overwhelming enthusiasm.

The moment Waka spoke into his microphone, the crowd was electric. Waka expectedly opened with “No Hands,” followed by students immediately pushing up against the barricade.

Roughly three songs into his set, the excitement increased further.

Waka began to pull some students onto the stage, dancing and hyping up the crowd. The rapper jumped over the barricade and into the crowd, with lights swarming him as he swam through the sea of students.

The atmosphere was similar to that of a house party, as Waka created a train of fans following him around the ballroom floor. Even with the aforementioned students being ushered off the stage by NIU police, the energy created would not die on Waka’s watch.

“I liked how he played ‘No Hands’ in the beginning, I’d thought he’d play it towards the end,” said Jasmine Herrera, a sophomore nursing major. “But really I just had a lot of fun.” 

Waka’s performance lasted roughly an hour before he made his way back to the stage for his last song. The tightly packed crowd was full of energy until the very end. 

Check out more photo coverage of the event here.