Yung Gravy whips up the sauce at Spring Jam


Sydney Laput

Rapper Yung Gravy speaks to the audience before performing his song “Oops” during the Spring Jam at State Farm Center on Sunday. Yung Gravy performed many other of his hits such as “Mr. Clean” and “Gravy Train”.

By Matt Troher and Nicole Littlefield

All aboard the gravy train! Next stop: Champaign.

Sunday afternoon, State Farm Center, usually home to the Illini basketball team, became home to a different type of player — Minnesota rapper and self-proclaimed MILF-connoisseur Yung Gravy.

With Gravy’s arrival to Champaign-Urbana, Spring Jam, an annual free concert held on the Main Quad, returned to campus after a two-year hiatus. Previous years’ concerts featured artists such as Lil Yachty, Post Malone, T-Pain and B.o.B.

Since dropping his debut single “Mr. Clean” in 2016, Gravy has been producing a steady output of eclectic, groovy material, taking inspiration from contemporary hip-hop, SoundCloud trap, ’50s soul and ’60s doo-wop.

Although Gravy was scheduled to perform on the Main Quad like past Spring Jam artists, this year’s show was moved inside State Farm Center due to rain.

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Spring Jam was held in part by Star Course — an RSO dedicated to organizing and promoting concerts throughout the school year. In November 2021, Star Course sent out a survey asking students to vote for their favorite acts from a long list of artists.

According to Corey Elliott, senior in Media and the senior manager for Star Course, Gravy was the most popular choice by a wide margin.

“When we saw that the most students wanted him, we kind of responded,” Elliott said. “Then, we also saw he fit in our price range and we could grab him in terms of routing. It all worked out.”

Elliott said Gravy was the obvious choice since he was the highest-voted artist.

“It was just kind of a no brainer at that point because it’s like, when you see what everyone wants … you’ll want to bring that artist,” Elliott said. “When it just happens to fall into place, you can’t pass that up.”

Following an opening set by DJ Overkast, a student performer selected by Star Course, Gravy took the Spring Jam stage donned in an all-black Burberry outfit accented by a plaid scarf. During the show, he took off the outfit and scarf to reveal a half-buttoned button-down Hawaiian shirt.

Gravy performed a variety of songs throughout his nearly hour-long set, including fan favorites “Mr. Clean” and “1 Thot 2 Thot Red Thot Blue Thot.” Gravy closed with his most well-known song, “Oops,” which currently has over 91 million plays on Spotify.

Even some of Gravy’s lesser-known songs had fans in the crowd singing along to every word. Jack Miller, senior in LAS and self-described Yung Gravy superfan, said he was excited to see the rapper perform.

“I had the highest of expectations because I view Yung Gravy as a top-tier artist, and the show absolutely lived up to my expectations,” Miller said. “My favorite part of the show today was when he told me to put my hands in the air.”

Yung Gravy and his DJ, DJ Tiiiiiiiiiip, seemed to enjoy telling the crowd to put their hands in the air. The pair would often use it as a metric to decide what side of the crowd was more hyped.

Throughout his set, Gravy periodically threw various items into the crowd, including water bottles, T-shirts, multiple boxes of Froot Loops, towels, Zebra Cakes and a Lunchables. Mari Yamashita, freshman in Engineering, caught one of the Zebra Cakes while standing near the back of the crowd.

“I had no idea it was coming this far back and I was so excited when it landed in my hands,” Yamashita said. “There are two options for what I can do with it: save it forever or eat it right away.”

For many students in attendance, Gravy’s performance was their first Spring Jam due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jolene Morgan, senior in LAS, attended her first Spring Jam and said Gravy’s performance exceeded her expectations.

“I knew a few of his songs before coming — like maybe half of his stuff — but I had so much fun,” Morgan said. “It was super lit and everyone was hyped. It was super fun when everyone thought he was done but he came back out.”

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