Atlanta Rapper iLoveMakonnen Sells Out the Hub

Diane Ng/Staff Photographer

Johanna Ramirez

Despite it being a school night, University of California, Santa Barbara students flocked to the Hub on Thursday night to see iLoveMakonnen take the stage. With the release of his latest EP iLoveMakonnen 2, he is now on an international tour with stops at UCSB and in San Francisco, Paris and London (among others). With his catchy hooks and unique voice, he caught the attention of countless fans, including the Hub filled with hyped Gauchos this past week.

Originating from Atlanta, Ga., iLoveMakonnen (otherwise known as Makonnen Sheran) rose to fame when acclaimed rapper Drake discovered his song “Tuesday” on SoundCloud and asked Makonnen’s producers if he could remix it. A few months later Drake signed him to his label OVO Sound, which is distributed by Warner Bros. Records.

The crowd was getting restless waiting for iLoveMakonnen to come out, but once he did, the crowd went insane. He wore an ensemble that included jeans, a tank top low cut sides and shades. There were also murmurs in the crowd about his noticeable weight loss. He warmed up the crowd by playing “Formation” by Beyonce and “Work” by Rihanna, among other remixes, before getting into the real crowd pleasers. His set lasted an entire hour.

iLoveMakonnen was energetic, engaging and nothing but entertaining. He flailed his arms up and down and his energy infected the crowd immediately. Since he was confined to the small stage in the Hub, it appeared that he lacked the space to move around as much as he would have otherwise. This did not stop him from giving a crowd-pleasing performance, though. The floor and the crowd were bouncing along with him during each song and the dancing did not stop for the entirety of his set.

iLoveMakonnen is more of a singer than a rapper, and his voice was set in a nice blues-y scale that matched his recording style. His voice added to these trap beats make for an enticing combination of sounds. The set list in its entirety was received with high levels of excitement from the crowd. However, there was a clear difference in energy when he performed his most celebrated hits.

Crowd pleasers included “Look at Wrist,” during which the audience rose up their arms and flicked their wrists in unison while shoulder-leaning. The trap beat of “I Like Tuh” was infectious and induced a “turnt” reaction from the audience. During “I Don’t Sell Molly No More,” the crowd eagerly jumped and danced along to the beat while singing along to the lyrics. He performed “Tuesday” toward the end of his set and the crowd went wild. Being his biggest hit to date, this was the song that the audience was waiting to hear the most. The crowd was so loud during this song that iLoveMakonnen’s voice was overpowered at times.

As an up-and-coming artist, he has become a favorite in the hip-hop scene. His basic rhyming schemes, his hooks and bass-reliant beats make for enjoyable club jams. Overall, iLoveMakonnen did an exceptional job in bringing the trap beats from Atlanta to Santa Barbara.