The Windy City keeps blowing musical acts into Ann Arbor. First, Chance the Rapper performed in Hill Auditorium March 22. Now, another up-and-coming Chicagoan rapper will make an appearance for MUSIC Matters’ end-of-year celebration, SpringFest: Vic Mensa.

Mensa will open for 2 Chainz, who MUSIC Matters announced last week would headline their capstone concert.

Engineering senior Shankara Bharadwaj, MUSIC Matters’ talent and concert chair, said signing Mensa as a SpringFest performer was a reflection of the artist’s increasing popularity – following a “huge” set at Austin’s 10-day South by Southwest festival, among others.

“With 2Chainz, we identified that we wanted someone who was at the peak of his career right now,” Bharadwaj said. “When we were sitting down and talking about opening acts, we wanted to bring in an act that was on the rise in the hip-hop world. And Vic really fits that bill.”

LSA senior Gianna Marx, the chair of MUSIC Matters’ communications committee, said Mensa’s Chicago roots also played a big role in his selection as an opening act.

“We’re really excited and we’re really lucky to have signed him this early,” Marx said. “There’s a lot of great music coming out of Chicago right now and he’s easily one of the better ones.”

The concert will also include two local openers: rap duo Pinnacle Entertainment and hip-hop group Video7.

Pinnacle Entertainment features Keyon Purite and Ann Arbor resident Xzanthus Al-lateef.

Video7 is comprised of several University students and alums, including Music, Theatre & Dance senior Brendan Asante.

According to MUSIC Matters, “Video7 is a multi-media collective of producers, singers, visual artists, screen writers, directors and more … (who aim) to provide unique performance experiences for their viewers and listeners that are ‘the furthest from main stream.’”

Marx said signing local acts to perform at the concert is one of the best parts of MUSIC Matters.

“There is so much talent on this campus,” she said. “The fact that we are able to provide a stage for students and local acts to open up for a huge name like 2Chainz is one of the greatest things that we are able to do.”

Aside from their finalized concert lineup, MUSIC Matters has also hired numerous artists and speakers to perform during the day’s SpringFest activities.

Folk-rock band Grizfolk, which recently finished a tour opening for Bastille, will headline the live performances. In addition, Ann Arbor native Dan Henig – known by many for his YouTube-famous acoustic cover of Lil Jon’s “Get Low,” which has amassed over five million views – and LSA sophomore Sylvia Yacoub, who was a top 10 finalist on the third season of NBC’s The Voice, will make appearances.

“It also attracts a different audience than we’re trying to attract with 2 Chainz,” he said. “We’re trying to accommodate for a lot of different audiences here on campus, because not everyone’s into hip-hop.”

Live performances will not be restricted to music – MUSIC Matters has also scheduled numerous speakers who will deliver remarks akin to TED Talks throughout the day.

One of these highlighted presenters will be Mike Muse, who was a member of President Barack Obama’s 2012 National Finance Committee and the co-founder of Muse Recordings.

MUSIC Matters has also confirmed that it will host 150 high school juniors from the metro Detroit area to tour the University, attend admissions and financial aid workshops, eat in the dorms and participate in SpringFest.

The student organization has worked in tandem with the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the Center for Educational Outreach, the Office of Financial Aid and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to achieve this goal.

LSA junior Maysie Makrianes, one of the SpringFest team’s high school outreach co-directors, said bringing these students to the University will promote college accessibility.

She added that this type of outreach feeds into the Big Thinkers Scholarship that MUSIC Matters unveiled in November.

“Our main goal is to expose students to the college experience when they’re young,” she said.

During SpringFest, speeches and musical acts will occur in conjunction with one another along North University Avenue, with stages on opposite ends of the partitioned stretch of road.

Business junior Nick Moeller, chair of MUSIC Matters’ SpringFest committee, said clubs contributing to the event will still be grouped by common themes: innovation, art, social justice, identity and sustainability.

These will be spread from the steps of Hatcher Graduate Library up to North University Avenue, where food trucks and the live performance stages will run perpendicularly along the street.

“As far as I know, I think this is one of the largest events under student production, under a student organization, that I think the University has had,” Moeller said.

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