Last Friday night, Geneseo Late Knight hosted Ghana-born independent hip-hop artist Blitz the Ambassador along with his six-piece band, The Embassy Ensemble, in the Union Ballroom.
Blitz opened the show with a slew of original songs. He was able to rile up the crowd from the very beginning with his high energy and entertaining demeanor.
Blitz successfully encouraged the small yet energetic crowd to come closer to the stage by referring to "SUNY Geneseo" in much of his free styling.
One of the more interesting moments of Blitz's performance was his song "Home," in which he rapped very explicitly about Hurricane Katrina, using the catchy refrain "I want to go home."
Throughout the entire set, there was a screen displaying images above the stage, including heart-wrenching footage of New Orleans victims throughout "Home." This visual appeal brought a whole new dimension and reality to the song's meaning.
The images on the screen also showed the recurring theme of Blitz's opinion of the music industry through a man with a radio for a head and a gun pointed toward it.
During his set he even said that "this is nothing you'll ever hear on the radio," indicating the more underground and less mainstream nature of his music in comparison to that playing on most radio stations.
Despite his efforts to stay away from a mainstream sound, another standout moment of the show was Blitz's medley of hip-hop songs from some of his biggest musical influences.
He said that some of the contributors to his style were The Roots, Mos Def, KRS-One and Rakim. Blitz put a strong emphasis on old-school break beats and jazz-inspired horn instrumentals throughout the medley.
Blitz's back-up band, The Embassy Ensemble, was dressed uniformly in matching suit-and-tie outfits. They played instruments such as a trombone, trumpet, bongo drums and a full drum set.
The addition of these instruments added allowed the music to borrow from many different cultures and styles. The brass instruments gave the music a jazzy feel, while the hip-hop lyrics reflected an urban influence and the beats acted as a testament to Blitz's Ghanaian culture.
While the high-energy set and onscreen visuals usually complimented one another, it was very off-putting during the last song of the evening when the video projected was taken directly from Radiohead's "House of Cards" music video. Even though Blitz added some of his own lyrics to the video, it was clearly a rip-off from Radiohead, resulting in a slight downfall for the show.
The overall performance, however, was a very entertaining multicultural experience for the Geneseo campus. It was a positive step toward expanding the cultural horizons of Geneseo students for the campus to incorporate musical acts such as Blitz the Ambassador into its weekend activities.