The Gist of Old Duke

True Blue | Lola Sanchez-Carrion | April 7, 2016

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What is Old Duke?

Every year at Old Duke, DUU and Campus Concerts bring a “throwback” artist to the Blue Zone stage to relieve students’ of end-of-semester stress and provide them with feel-good music that brings back fond, childhood memories of middle-school carpool rides and school dances. Previous blast-from-the-past artists include the All-American rock band Bowling for Soup and Vanessa Carlton, whose “A Thousand Miles” (particularly well-known from its rendition in White Chicks) was a definite crowd-pleaser.

photo credit: Kara Fox

This year, Sean Kingston will be hitting the stage. But, in thinking more and more about this year’s performer, I found the same question resurfacing in my mind:

What the hell has Sean Kingston been doing for the past five years?

Ever since his celebrated duet, “Eenie Meenie”, featuring Justin Bieber, was released in 2010, it seems as though the Jamaican songwriter has been living under a rock.

Like most artists of the early 2000s, Kingston’s claim to fame can be attributed to MySpace and bit of luck. He spent most of his teen years performing at venues in South Florida, a location that, at the time, was vital to thriving in the R&B music industry. Before being officially discovered on MySpace, Kingston had already shared stages with Ludacris, Pitbull, Pretty Ricky, among others. His previous experience and unique vocals made him the ideal upcoming artist to sign, especially for J.R. Rotem, the music publisher who has co-written and produced songs for current R&B icon, Rihanna. Rotem claims he heard Kingston’s music and immediately sensed “potential in the teenage rapper”, and was so determined to make him a success that he recorded two of Kingston’s songs a mere two days after hearing them for the first time.  

Within months Kingston’s fame skyrocketed, with three of his songs (“Beautiful Girls”, “Me Love”, and “Fire Burning”) holding positions in the Billboard’s “Hot 100” Chart for eleven weeks at a time. But, by 2010, his fame died down. He stopped
releasing new songs and took a break from the limelight for a few months. He was relatively dormant until he got in a life-threatening jet skiing accident in May of 2011, where he suffered
a broken jaw, fractured wrist, and water in his lungs. The accident took not only a toll on his physical wellbeing but also on his music career. His once endless flow of new music suddenly stagnated, and he fell completely under the R&B radar. Despite all odds, he reached a full recovery and even managed to release another successful album in 2013. But, some ridiculous fans assumed he had died, and created a Facebook page titled “R.I.P. Sean Kingston”, where they posted the following:

At about 11 a.m. ET on Monday (April 04, 2016), our beloved rapper Sean Kingston passed away. Sean Kingston was born on February 3, 1990 in Miami. He will be missed but not forgotten. Please show your sympathy and condolences by commenting on and liking this page.

Such statements were completely illogical (the accident took place in 2011) and we’re happy to report that he is indeed alive and well. Since the accident, he’s moved to Hollywood and has established a comfortable, low-profile life there (well, not exactly low-profile–word on the street says his house has its own 25-person movie theater and gym), with occasional performances and guest appearances but nothing big currently on his horizons (except Old Duke, of course).

The newest edition to the Old Duke Lineup: Kat DeLuna

Although rumors were sizzling about JoJo making a guest appearance at Old Duke, such fallacies have been hushed. The real guest act happens to be JoJo’s fellow R&B colleague and middle-school favorite, Kat DeLuna. If you weren’t pulling some grimy dance moves to “Whine Up” at your school’s dances, you were doing it wrong. Another artist who peaked in the early 2000s, with “Whine Up” alone reaching the Top 20 in four different countries, DeLuna’s unique Dominican background has allowed her to develop R&B music a sassy Latino twist.

The Event

Old Duke will take place on Friday, April 8th in the Blue Zone (on Wanamaker Drive, to the left of Wilson) from 7-9:30 pm. For security purposes, you must show your Duke ID upon entering the concert and must be a Duke student to attend (sorry Pfrosh). With regards to drinking, LDOC regulations apply, so enjoy yourselves (within reason).

What to do after the event? The Devil’s Krafthouse will be hosting its very own “Old Duke Karaoke After-Party”, where you can continue to jam to some old-time favorites or indulge in singing some newer hits with friends. If you’re not much of a singer and prefer to stick to the familiar, Shooters is always a great call.

Whatever you do, wherever you go, just enjoy your last days at school. The following weeks may be carrying an intense workload with them, but they also bring end-of-the-year festivities that will remind you just how great of a place Duke really is. So, rage and reminisce your Sean Kingston-infused youth to “let go” of your problems. Whine up with Kat DeLuna and release your inner Beyoncé. And if neither of the acts really appeal to you, go anyways. I can guarantee it’ll be a great time.

P.S.A.: big thank you to Campus Concerts, DUU, and Duke Student Broadcasting for putting the event together! If you haven’t seen their Promo Announcement Video, check it out: