Hoops and HipHop features NLE Choppa

Platinum-certified artist and event headliner NLE Choppa performs one of his songs for the crowd. The concert, organized by SCPC kicked off the 2023 Homecoming season at the Institute. // Photo by Ethan Chen Student Publications

On Oct. 18, The Student Center Programs Council’s (SCPC) Concerts Committee hosted their Fall Concert for 2023, called “Hoops and Hip Hop,” with headlining artist NLE Choppa in McCamish Pavilion. 

“We do this every year during fall, especially during Homecoming week, so this is basically our Homecoming concert,” said SCPC Concerts Committee member and organizer Abrar Awal, fourth-year CS. 

In previous years, SCPC has featured big names like Jason Derulo in 2020, blackbear in 2021 and Quinn XCII in 2022 for the Homecoming concert. However, this year’s collaboration with NLE Choppa brings even more school spirit, as it also showed an introduction for the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

“I think it’s a good time to have it because everyone is kind of in the middle of exams, we’re all a little bit stressed, and it’s a great way to relieve some of that stress and have a little fun,” said Goldrush member Kayla Fischer, third-year CHBE. “This is a nice platform for the basketball teams to show everyone what they have,” Fischer added.

The energy in the arena was through the roof. With fast-paced music booming and a packed audience excited for the event, the introduction of the basketball teams was a success.

“I feel great. It’s great energy in here. I’m glad to be here, and I’m glad everyone came out,” said men’s basketball team member Amaree Abram, second-year BA. After the introductions, the teams alternated taking daring shots in a “shooting stars challenge,” showing off their skills for the upcoming season.

It was important to the basketball players to feel supported by their fellow students. 

“I think events like these shine a light on sports that are overshadowed by football,” said women’s basketball team member Kayla Blackshear, third-year BA. She continued, “I think it’s really cool to have everybody here supporting women’s and men’s basketball, and seeing everybody’s faces and introducing the program to everybody.”

The coming basketball season has a lot more in store. Not only is there a new crop of freshman players, but the men’s team has a new head coach, Damon Stoudamire.

“I’m really excited to see the new men’s basketball coach. I know he has a lot of credentials where he’s from, so I’m excited to see where he can take the team,” Fischer said. She is right; Stoudamire has won four ACC Championships, played in two Final Fours and played in the NCAA Tournament 17 times.

The student opening acts were just as much a part of the excitement as the headliner and student athletes. Performing covers of trendy R&B hits including “The Weekend” by 88rising and BIBI and “Kill Bill” by SZA, the band Malibu Nights gave an engaging performance with their groovy, contemporary instrumentals and their charming lead singer, Gabriella Lee, fourth-year EE. “We saw that tryouts were available through SCPC, and we had seen other people who had opened in past years, and we were like, ‘you know what? I think we could do it,’” Lee said.

Having performed for various on-campus events including this year’s Moon Festival hosted by Vietnamese Student Association at Georgia Tech, the band has been garnering recent recognition. Their band’s Instagram page can be viewed at @malibunights.official.

“This was definitely the most produced event that we’ve been a part of,” said band member Josh Kirshenbaum, fourth-year EE.

Following Malibu Nights, fourth-year BA James Jones, professionally known as J-Royal(@jroyalofficial on Instagram), gave a dynamic rap performance, featuring self-made visuals and self-written songs, including crowd favorite, “Might as Well.”

“I make all my visuals, I make all my beats. I basically make everything that you see. It’s all me,” Jones said. J-Royal has also amassed online attention by posting his passions on his viral TikTok and Instagram pages. Excited to be a part of the event, “I perform all the time, but I’d love to do more Tech events. I love to perform anywhere I can,” Jones said.

Organizing an event of this scale takes months of planning.

“It started with getting a venue, then figuring out seeing what artists we could afford in our budget, then talking with their agents and their crew… There was a lot of security logistics, getting audio and getting the stage ready… All that took course over several months of planning,” explained SCPC Concerts Committee member Neha Shah, third-year BIOL.

Headlining artist NLE Choppa’s free-flowing performance brought the event home. Performing his famous songs “Shotta Flow,” “ITS GETTING HOT,” “Walk Em Down” and viral Internet hit “SLUT ME OUT,” the Platinum-certified artist brought an atmosphere of joy onstage that radiated throughout the arena. He finished his performance with new release “College Girls,” which he announced onstage was dedicated to his audiences for his tour of college performances. 

Above all, the student attendees in the audience were what truly brought the event to life. “It’s a great way to bring the school out and have a great time with everybody out here,” said Karan Hora, second-year BMED,
“[I] love the atmosphere.”

For more information on the organization and future SCPC events, visit their website at studentcenter.gatech.edu/scpc

Their Instagram page for SCPC can be viewed at,@gtscpc.