Sound Shack Studios

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Lil Uzi Vert – Howard University Yards Fest

Up and coming hip hop artist Lil Uzi Vert was an unexpected true highlight of the Howard University Homecoming—unexpected not because of a lack of talent, more the opposite. The young up-and-coming star blew the crowd away with his amazing energy and tight beats. At the fresh age of 22, Lil Uzi has already collaborated with many big name producers and rappers, first in 2015 with ASAP Ferg and Rich The Kid Since then he’s put out five mixtapes, the first few produced by Don Cannon, the producer responsible for bigs acts like Ludacris, Outkast and Drake. A collaboration with Migos won them a number one spot on the US billboard Hot 100 just last month.  The Fader article written by Jason Parham does a great job detailing this young musicians rise to fame. 


@liluzivert sounded dope on our sound system #KlassicSound #HowardUniversity #HowardHomecoming ???

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Lil Uzi Vert Performing at Howard University Homecoming (copyright

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Photo Taken By - David Gourdine

The crowd throbbed with energy as Uzi blew up the stage on top hits like Erase Your Social and Money Longer even getting them rapping along—this guy is completely charismatic and understands how to work a crowd. Between his signature rapidfire style, tight beats and breaks, the sound crew had a lot to keep up with. With highly-produced hip hop artists like this, engineers face a range of mixing and sound challenges, and the outdoor setting makes it even harder. A whole set of factors come into play with produced performances as audio techs have to balance pre-recorded (autotune) tracks with the natural shifts and improvisation that go along with live performance. With talent like this, even a half-second glitch can seem like a huge mess, but our equipment passed the test with flying colors. It was an honor for the music bloggers at Sound Shack Studios to see this performance up close and in person. 

Uzi’s hooks sound effortless but are also tightly controlled with autotune, so a highly adaptable mixer was needed to manage tricky pitch adjustments. The all-in-one, 64 channel Avid SC 48 mixer handled his performance with ease, giving sound engineers full and immediate control  over a performer’s every movement. Uzis’ colorful production and sharp synth-toned rhythms needed a channel mixer that could keep up and offer clean and clear control, and the intuitive interface of this mixer allowed for smooth sailing in this high energy show. With Uzi’s heavy use of autotune, reverb and EQ control was also tough to keep on top of but the quality of this mixer offered maximum fidelity for the stoked crowd. The reverb was minimal, creating the clarity needed for fans to pick up lyrics and sing along.  

During hits like You was Right and Grab the Wheel, Uzi showed his signature style of hypnotic and subtle tonal range matched by catchy, synthed-out vocals. He seemed to ebb and flow through each song at a sort of hypnotic pitch, leading the crowd through versatile arrangements and surprising song configurations. With his colorful style, effortless hooks, high-energy moves and and complex vocal stylings, Uzi may have just stolen the show. In one of his recent hits Do What I Want Judging by the way Uzi kept crowds bouncing all the way to the back of the venue, it was clear that the JBL VRX series state-of-the-art portable sound system series proved its strength and reputation as top of the class. JBL monitors and subwoofers handled reverb and bass, producing polished and precise levels. The setup was strong enough to ensure that Uzi’s  sharp sound and complex, changing beats carried through the crowd clearly, reaching through even the most rambunctious audience members. Lil Uzi’s performance was enough to convince me to check out for upcoming tour dates. Don’t sleep on this rising star!

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