The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Hoosh performs upbeat set through downpour, talks mental health

James Hoeck
Sudanese rapper Hoosh during an interview with the DI on Saturday.

Up-and-coming rap artist Hoosh performed his Lollapalooza debut at the Coinbase stage on Saturday afternoon. The East African rapper opened up to the Daily Illini after his set about his musical ideas and message.

A small but dedicated crowd showed up at 12:15 p.m. to see Hoosh open the stage for the day in a downpour of rain. Nevertheless, Hoosh took the stage as planned and quickly had fans moving along to the music in their ponchos.

Supported by backing band BeachxClub, Hoosh performed for his full 45-minute set, repeatedly expressing love and gratitude for his fans. 

“Man, I gotta thank you guys so much, I see it is pouring right now and y’all are still out there with a smile on your face,” Hoosh said.

The Sudanese artist fuses musical elements of R&B, rap and even soul in his songs. His set included rapping and singing intermixed in each piece.

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“When I get to make music myself, I always like to make sure that I don’t just contain myself to a genre, I just go off how I feel,” Hoosh said. 

Hoosh said his Sudanese culture impacts his musical career by serving as an inspiration for his vocals.

“We’re known for our music,” Hoosh said. “I feel like Sudanese singers sing in a different way. I feel like it had a big impact on the way that I sing.”

The artist has performed all over the world, recently playing an opening set for the main stage at a festival in Munich, Germany. Hoosh opened up about his experience performing for such a large crowd overseas after his set.

“It happens so quick that sometimes it’s hard for me to process it as it’s happening,” Hoosh said. 

Being the opener, the rapper said he didn’t expect the crowd to be very big, but was pleasantly surprised to see a huge audience putting so much energy into his performance.

Hoosh was open about the fact that being on the road isn’t easy. The artist said that taking care of yourself between performances can involve more than what people might assume.

“There’s things like rest, and eating good and staying healthy, working out and stuff,” Hoosh said. “But there’s also those extra mental things that you gotta do to make sure you’re not stressing so much that you forget you’re supposed to have fun.”

Hoosh said that the stress doesn’t make a life of performing any less desirable.

“No matter where you’re at, no matter where you’re going, there’s always gonna be ups and downs,” Hoosh said. “I think if you’re able to step back when the downs happen, and try to most strategically and efficiently figure it out, the highs make it worth everything.”

Both during his Lollapalooza performance and afterwards, Hoosh didn’t hesitate to express how important mental health is. He assured his fans on stage that they are never alone, and shared the same message with the DI after the show.

“That’s everything to me, it’s something that I personally struggle with a lot,” Hoosh said. “I feel like it only makes sense for us to try to help people out in general, and why not focus on people who’ve been through something that you’re going through?”

The artist has made mental health one of his main messages, as it’s one he feels isn’t as widely shared by other performers.

“I feel like it’s not talked about enough,” Hoosh said. “It’s not something you can easily see on somebody and be like, ‘oh, they have it.’ They have to tell you how they feel.”

Along with mental health, Hoosh spread a message of love and acceptance, having his fans cheer the word “love” on stage and encouraging an open-minded attitude, even if that means people not engaging with his music.

“I personally in my career practice no judgment. Whatever it is that you feel about my music or my lifestyle, nobody’s right, nobody’s wrong,” Hoosh said. “Everyone has their own truth.”

Hoosh shared one last thought summarizing his message to the world. 

“Be as positive as you can. Stay healthy, stay safe, stay blessed,” Hoosh said. “Know that you got something else in this world that nobody else has.”


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About the Contributors
Maaike Niekerk, Arts & Entertainment Editor
My name is Maaike Niekerk, and I am a sophomore majoring in English with minors in music and journalism. I began working with The Daily Illini during the fall semester of my freshman year as a buzz staff writer, and joined the editorial team last summer. I love bringing live event coverage to you from Champaign-Urbana’s vibrant music scene and sharing stories of local artists and musicians. Outside of The Daily Illini, you’ll find me performing at every football game with the Marching Illini or cycling with the 2024 Illini 4000 bike America team.
James Hoeck, Photo Editor
Heyo! I am James Hoeck, a third-year undergraduate student in photography with a minor in media. I have been a part of Illini Media for two years, starting back in fall 2021. I hold the position of Photo Editor here at The Daily Illini. I also work as Photo Editor for Illini Media’s Illio Yearbook. There is a good chance you will see me out and about on campus taking photos for my personal work or for The DI and/or Illio! If you want to check out more of my work, visit my socials linked below.
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