YSAC lines up hip-hop for Fling

Two hip-hop acts are tentatively lined up to perform at this year’s Spring Fling festival on April 29, Yale Student Activities Committee members said Wednesday.

Although the performers’ names remain a secret, and speculation about their identities has begun to ripple across campus. YSAC representative Colin Leatherbury ’09 confirmed that of the three bids submitted by YSAC since last Friday, two have resulted in contract negotiations. YSAC is awaiting a response to the third bid, submitted Monday afternoon to a rock group.

Prior to Ludacris’ performance, singer-songwriter Ben Folds rocks the Old Campus suburbs during the 2006 Spring Fling.
Caio Camargo
Prior to Ludacris’ performance, singer-songwriter Ben Folds rocks the Old Campus suburbs during the 2006 Spring Fling.

Hip-hop was the most popular genre of music in a YCC poll about student Spring Fling preferences conducted last month, Leatherbury said.

YSAC did not release the names of the acts under consideration because it could jeopardize contract negotiations, YCC officials said, although the committee has tailored its search to avoid acts with offensive lyrics, following last month’s “Yale Sluts” incident.

But YSAC’s commitment to keeping the names under wraps has not prevented widespread speculation as to who will take the stage on Old Campus in April. At least two of the names being tossed around — the Goo Goo Dolls and the Counting Crows — are unlikely to come to Yale, according to Jonathan Edwards YSAC Representative Bobby Gibbs ’10.

While the Buffalo, NY-based Goo Goo Dolls did make it onto YSAC’s shortlist, conflicts with tour dates in California made it impractical for the band to play Spring Fling, Gibbs said. And while the Counting Crows remain an option “if everything else falls through,” Gibbs said, other YSAC members have said the band’s steep price tag makes it unattractive for a show intended to feature a diversity of artists.

YSAC officials have declined to disclose how much each performer will pocket for appearing at Spring Fling.

Assistant Dean of Yale College Edgar Letriz — who functions as an administrative liaison to the YSAC and the Yale College Council throughout the planning process — said financial information is confidential. Releasing exact figures would be “tantamount to publicizing an individual’s salary,” he said. In addition, releasing such information would make it difficult for performers to negotiate performance fees at future concerts, Letriz said.

Last year, YSAC paid $70,000 for T.I., $17,500 for Sister Hazel and $7,500 for The Format, then-Spring Fling co-Coordinator Carrie Nguyen ’09 said when the acts were announced in April.

Although the exact figure is confidential, Leatherbury said YSAC was given roughly $140,000 by the University and through the student activities fee to plan and execute Spring Fling 2008, on par with years past.

Following an incident last month in which students associated with the Zeta Psi fraternity were photographed in front of the Women’s Center holding a sign reading “We Love Yale Sluts,” the Yale College Dean’s Office has urged YSAC to hire groups that “wouldn’t offend vast swaths of the Yale population,” Gibbs said.

Last year, headliner T.I. bounded onto the stage performing his hit single “What You Know?” — whose lyrics read “Ya bitches get low / Because I get dough / So what? I’m rich, ho” — with gunshot sound effects in the background.

Gibbs said he does not think the performers YSAC is targeting will spark controversy.

“We don’t think there’s going to be a problem,” he said. “But there were some other groups we were looking at early on that we cut for those reasons.”


  • Anonymous

    Why do we have to have two hip-hop acts? Wouldn't a diversity of types of music satisfy more students?

  • Will Smith, Yay!

    First of all, you're a newspaper. You're allowed to speculate on who the acts might be, even if the YCC asks you not to. Your responsibility is to provide news for the entire student body. Why can you mention the Goo Goo Dolls and Counting Crows but not mention who we're actually getting? That doesn't make sense.

    Secondly, "the committee has tailored its search to avoid acts with offensive lyrics, following last month’s 'Yale Sluts' incident." Are you kidding me? This is such BS. Who are we gonna get, Criss Cross?

    Scary to see that Yale will now indulge every whim of its PC facists. Maybe this will all blow over by next year, or maybe it's time for the silent majority to say, "Okay. We get it. Zeta was stupid. Can we please chill and not censor everything that happens at Yale from now on for fear of offending someone?"

  • Anonymous

    I agree with the first commenter. YSAC seems to have completely misinterpreted their own student poll. Even if hip-hop was overwhelmingly the first choice genre, that doesn't mean students want to hear 2 separate hip-hop acts. And it certainly doesn't mean that the rock slot should be filled last, as they seem to have done.

  • Fernando Reyes


    You're allowed to speculate if it's an editorial, or a feature story, or etc.

    They are reporting the news. If others had been speculating on who it was, tey were allowed to report.

    If not…that's just bad journalism.

  • Anonymous

    They're probably referring to Common, who was on the list. His lyrics are positive, "conscious," and aren't particularly misogynistic. T.I. sucks anyway, so that was a mistake for many reasons.

    But you're right, we need to stop censoring acts. We should just get a nice Skinhead band for the third act. That would cover all our bases and offend pretty much everyone but White males, which is what we're going for right?


  • Anonymous

    The Spring Fling hip-hop act is not only tired, but a poor choice for the type of atmosphere that Spring Fling should encourage. Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars for B-list rap acts that hit top ten a few years ago, the money would be much better spent on perhaps lesser known bands that embrace the mellow, chilled-out, and fun ambiance of Spring Fling. YCC year after year has proven to be completely incompetent to select appropriate bands, and can't see beyond the value of the initial shock value of a famous hip hop act that does not deliver. Once again, the only think I look forward to is getting so completely blackout on the day of Spring Fling that I don't have to remember the terrible music that closed out the day. Yay.

  • Anonymous

    Looks like Spring Fling will suck yet again. Heck, last year, the 'funk' student band was better than any of the acts.

  • Anonymous

    I'd give up Spring Fling altogether if people like Luis M would stop being so passive aggressive about the whole thing. I mean, it was cool in middle school, I guess, but we're grown ups now.

  • Anonymouse

    Common is a really good rapper, so I'd be happy about that, but I'm afraid that we're going to get Rihanna (sp?) too.

    The poorly-constructed YSAC poll was a pain to fill out, required us doing math (I'm a math major and I thought it was dumb!), and was more of an economics exercise in preference choice than an actual poll to see who we wanted for Spring Fling.

  • Kwame

    Luis, you really need to get better at using sarcasm, because you insinuated that all white males would just loooove a skinhead band. Good job alienating people who might otherwise support you!

  • SD

    Luis - Way to play in to #2's hands.

    The thing is, it's really hard to get a group that isn't going to offend anyone. That's especially true for hip-hop. Yes, it's more or less a mandatory event, so we have to have a degree of sensitivity, but really? When sensitivity is allowed to be the sole driving force behind the consumer market, we have done something terribly, horribly wrong.

  • Anonymous

    Could we get, either as an addendum to this story or a future one, who the choices were (besides Goo Goo Dolls/Counting Crows) in the YSAC poll?

  • Alex R

    Wow, why were they even considering the Goo Goo Dolls? They were lame even back in 1994 when they had a minor hit. They're not even old enough / interesting enough to be retro. Wow. Come on, guys. I hope who you're really getting is better.

  • Anonymous

    First, I want to address the 2/3 acts are hip-hop issue. The fact is most people in this country prefer hip-hop. If that bothers you then take it up with the United States of America. Or move to Canada. Also Rihanna is not hip-hop. Rihanna is an R&B singer. So if she is one of the two, we have a hip-hop act, an R&B act, and a rock act. I think that's a pretty accurate representation of American musical tastes.

    Now for the haters.

    @Kwame: White Power music is DESIGNED to offend anyone who isn't White, male, and Christian. If you aren't all of those things and you like it, you probably hate yourself and are masochistic.

    If you are all of the above you may or may not like it. Chances are you don't, probably 99% of the time. The point is, it's not designed to offend White males. If you are a White male and are offended by the statements, you are offended in SYMPATHY for those being targeted by the message, which is a wonderful thing.

    @SD: It's not that hard to get a group that won't offend most people. It's not very hard to find inoffensive rap, just as its not hard to find offensive rock. The fact that this isn't an obvious statement shows how little people know about hip-hop beyond Top 20 radio. It also shows what kind of rap a mainstream audience really wants to hear, or is told they want to hear.

    Also, "driving force behind the consumer market" is pretty much the most absurd statement I've seen thus far. Are you seriously likening Spring Fling selections to a free market economy? Selections that are undertaken by an oligarchical organization with communal funds? Perhaps we should go ahead and privatize Old Campus, it's got plenty of space for corporate advertising and private engagements. Then we can let students make cash bids for limited class spaces. Get real, this process is a compromise and it really isn't that hard to get quality music with relatively universal appeal on stage.

    If you still want someone like T.I., cuz u like, totally saw him on MTV, then go buy a ticket and see him at Toads.

    I'm done with this article, just bring Common.