Senior speech communications major Pierre “P. Skinny” Campbell held a concert April 21 in Founders Auditorium as part of his senior project. The University of La Verne dance team opened the show, followed by a vocal performance by sophomore Amber Rose Howard and rap performances by Melvin “Bones” Ward and Ben “BMUSE” de Ayora, president of the Hip Hop Club. P. Skinny closed the concert with a high-energy rap performance that included hip-hop dancing and crowd participation.
The sounds of a Bay Area house party resonated through Founders Hall on April 21 as Pierre Campbell, a.k.a P. Skinny, brought style to the house for his senior project sponsored by the Lordsburg Debate Union.
The turnout was better than expected for what people are calling University of La Verne’s first hip-hop concert.
“I felt it went excellent,” said Campbell, a senior speech communications major. “I think it was a very good turnout at ULV, especially since it was on a Friday.”
“Pierre did a great job with getting the word out by promoting,” said Jeanne Flora, associate professor of speech communications. “I thought the audience was great.”
ULV radio/ broadcasting major Will Catlett, who has appeared on MTV’s comedy improv contest “Yo Momma,” hosted. He set the tempo for performers to execute a variety of acts all exhibiting different forms of hip-hop.
The ULV dance team pleased the crowd as did sophomore Amber Rose Howard. She brought the house down with her renditions of Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon in the Sky” and “Amazing Grace.”
Ben de Ayora, president of the Hip Hop Club, explained during his performance how he used to beat box and freestyle with P. Skinny when they were freshmen.
P. Skinny was the final performer and was an instant audience pleaser. Several audience members left their seats to dance in front of the stage when P. Skinny sang his first song, “Touch Your Toes to the Ground.”
P. Skinny’s style is similar to the Bay Area style of hip-hop, dubbed “Hyphy,” which was developed in the Bay area in 1998. “Hyphy” is a form of hip-hop rapping and dancing similar to the Clown/Crunk styles of South Central L.A.
His style is similar to the movement’s mainstream artists such as E-40 and Rick Rock. While most of his material is suitable for the dance floor, some of his material deals with social issues such as “Policemen,” a song about his personal experiences dealing with police officers.
“My style is ‘Hyphy’ or up-tempo music. It’s more like party music,” Campbell said. “But I do address social and economical problems, just to more upbeat music.”
P. Skinny has been involved in music for about 10 years. When approaching his senior project, he felt it came naturally to organize a hip-hop showcase.
“I like how Pierre involved the audience,” Flora said. “He made a dramatic opening.”
Students enjoyed the concert, and many students felt that such a concert was overdue.
“La Verne is promoted as being diverse, (and) it’s finally time that the African-American community music is heard,” said Thomas Allison, a junior business major.
Nevertheless, the audience was still pleased that they got a chance to witness some history.
“I think P. Skinny’s CD was good,” Allison said. “The performance was tight.”
Jonathan Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.