Stephanie Daniels, Features Editor

Positive vibes, great food, even better music. Friday, Nov. 7, the University of Missouri–St. Louis’ Sempa hosted “Concert Series 1: Hip Hop & R&B” at the Pilot House on campus. The event included performances by local artists Jalisa Renay, Seals Brock and Redd Dinero. The atmosphere of the event was charged with excitement from UMSL students and guests alike. An ideal event for students on a Friday night because admission was free, and so was the food. Walking into the event, students were welcomed with a mix of hip-hop and rythym and blues, and the smell of delectable wings, meatballs, sparkling white grape juice and other treats.

Sempa President Dre Williams hosted the event with the help of Sempa secretary Lilo Baker, and member Scarlet Montilla. And the turnout was well received.

“[It’s] a pretty good crowd for the first event,” Montilla stated.

Outside of the delicious food and great group of attendees, the music was by far impressively entertaining. With first act Jalisa Renay setting the tone for the evening singing songs from her newly released album “Zing Zhang.” Her music offered smooth and sultry notes on topics of love, loss and culture. Her voice effortlessly gliding through riffs and melting you to the core with every word. Confidence was a class she could teach with her performance looking almost effortless. She rounded out her performance with a piece of poetry entitled “Black, no sugar, no cream” speaking on the essence and resilience of the black woman. Her culture and community plays a huge role in her music:

“Black is beautiful, black is power. We’ve been the Kings and Queens and I’m glad everybody’s getting woke as everybody says,” said Renay.

Next, Brock blessed the stage with his high energy and genuine stage presence following a poetry performance by crew member Ru. The piece of poetry was written in remembrance of friend Rell Finesse who passed. After the deep and supported poetry performance by Ru, Brock took to the stage. Beats with the incorporation of jazz and piano poured from the speakers as his rhymes flowed on top of them. Throughout his performance, he interacted with the crowd, pulling out of them energy and engagement with the music. The response he got was a direct result of the energy he gave. The crowd eagerly asked for him to perform the next song after he finished one, and called out for him to do one final song before leaving stage. His performance included “Jug that Art” where he speaks of selling his art as a way to showcase his craft and as an answer to the belief that black youth have to be in the streets to make money. Leaving, he made sure to shoutout his soon-to-be-released album to be released entitled “Bless the Youth.” Though his art is the most recognizable outlet of Brock’s.

“A lot of people don’t know, I started music first. Music is something I’ve been doing my entire life, art came later in my life, art is super recent. It just took off super quick, so it’s easier for people to recognize me by my art, but I’ve been doing music my whole life.”

Last, but not least, Houston native Redd Dinero commanded the stage with her life-inspired rap. With a lot of her music inspired by life experiences that she’s been through.

“I started writing when I was 8 years old, I grew up in foster care, so it was just something to help me cope. As I got older I started taking it more serious, as more than a hobby. It’s a dream of mine, so [I’m] just pushing forward with it,” said Dinero.

She performed songs off her newly released album, “I am Redd Dinero,” providing a hype experience to her crowd. She engaged them with her lyrics and made “‘turn up,’” Her work ethic as an artist proves itself far beyond the stage. With the release of her album and music videos dropping on World Star back to back, she’s showing the world who Redd Dinero is, and why she’s here to stay.

“I recently really just found myself, I used to be like, I want to sound like my favorite artist. [… ]I just want to motivate other people to push forward for their dreams as well.”

The Concert Series One turned out to be a great success with Sempa President of Sempa Dre Williams’ resources being a vital part of the evening. All of the artist noted how WilliamsDre reached out to them to provide this opportunity to share their music with the community and were thankful for it. If you have music you’d like to perform, be sure to put yourself out there. Looking ahead, you can expect a sequel to this concert that will include Rock music very soon. Be looking out for updates within the campus calendar. You won’t be disappointed!