On a campus where a handful of student groups are beloved and the rest often struggle to get noticed, an event at Boston College’s Arts Fest supporting lesser-known performers is healthy, if not necessary. In spite of a meager crowd size on the last Friday night before finals, the two performing groups—dance group Conspiracy Theory and rapper Phenom V and the XtremeSoundz band—still lit up the stage of the O’Neill Arts Tent on Friday, and had fun doing it, for the fifth annual BC Underground event.
Wearing black t-shirts with their name plastered on it, Conspiracy Theory, BC’s “premier b-boy and b-girl all-styles group,” kicked off the night with unabashed enthusiasm and some impressive moves. Each member of the group took turns solo breakdancing while the rest of the group acted as hype-men, egging each other on and thoroughly enjoying every second of it.
Fittingly, Conspiracy Theory’s mission statement calls for dancers to “learn, be open, and teach” and members did just that. Throughout its 30-minute performance, several members ran through the tent, recruiting audience members to join them on stage. Reluctant as many in the audience were, the group managed to talk a handful of people into joining them on stage and learning some of their moves. Conspiracy Theory went hard, beamed with confidence, and all members were really feeling it, which made it impossible not to smile while witnessing it.
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Next up was Phenom V (Emmanuel Laguerre, WCAS ’18), who has a newly released album out on SoundCloud. Entering the stage draped in a Bruins jersey with his name on the back, Phenom V began by stunning the audience with a few unaccompanied verses that covered everything from race to girlfriends, showing off his skills as a poet and wordsmith. Then he jumped into his set—six songs in total. The third song seemed especially important to Phenom V, as he prefaced it by saying “this one’s about the crazy … stuff that’s been happening in my hometown.” For this song (and for another toward the end of the set), he brought out a few of his longtime friends to rap with him and energize the crowd. From his fourth song until the end, he was accompanied by his band, which consisted of a bassist, guitarist, and keyboard player. The fourth track was sort of a slow jam, or as he called it, “the kind of song you play for your girl before she goes out.” From there, he played “BC Chillin’,” the ultimate track about BC party life.
Phenom V ended his set with a track called “Love Yourself,” a song that was written “with the complete intentions of providing internal healing for myself and for others.” He lead into the song with a powerful message.
“If there’s anything I represent it’s self-love,” he said. “Because if you don’t love yourself, no one will.”
He’s pretty passionate about this cause—on his SoundCloud page, he calls for all listeners to record a “short clip of yourself telling me something about yourself that you truly love” and post it with the hashtag #LoveYourselfChallenge.
Though organizers likely would have wanted to see a higher turnout for the event—only two groups performed for the two allotted hours—these two performances felt like enough. Conspiracy Theory brought incredible energy and genuine joy to the stage, and Phenom V and XtremeSoundz brought an intensity and talent that certainly deserved more viewers. Both performances served as a reminder of the immense talent that exists within the BC community, even if we fail to give many of those members the recognition they deserve.
Phenom V put it best in his free-verse at the beginning of the set: “The only way they’ll invest is if you’re worth it. But what’s worth it?”
Featured Image by Shaan Bijwadia / Heights Staff