On a day when the rap world was in a state of mourning following the death of Beastie Boy Adam "MCA" Yauch, 23-year-old North Carolina rapper B.o.B seemed unaffected, enjoying the spotlight in front of a packed Art Attack crowd at Byrd Stadium.
"Why haven't you bought Strange Clouds yet?" he asked the audience, referring to his new record that dropped last Tuesday.
The response didn't matter, as most knew the words to every song in his high-energy set, which was heavy on both well-known hits like "Magic," "Airplanes," and "Nothin' on You," as well as cuts from Strange Clouds.
"I was definitely blown away," he said during a post-show interview with The Diamondback. "This has been the livest crowd so far, and I really didn't know what to expect, but the response to the new music has been satisfactory."
Clad in a blue blazer and American flag-emblazoned tank top, B.o.B flailed around the stage for nearly 80 minutes, stomping on amplifiers and fist-pumping into the sky. He even whipped out a guitar for multiple songs, proving to the audience he had more to contribute than impressively spit rhymes and an excessive amount of air-humping.
According to Student Entertainment Events Public Relations Director Lance Billington, total ticket sales - which were still in the process of being calculated - had seen a slight decrease from last year's Art Attack featuring headliner Nelly. Overall attendance, he said, was about the same.
Yet many were initially puzzled by the decision to book B.o.B as a headliner this year.
"I mean, 'Airplanes' is the only song of him that I actually know," said junior mechanical engineering major Will Dunham. "I'm just not the hugest fan of his. I went my freshman year [to Art Attack] for Ben Folds and Weezer, and that was fantastic. They were just a better combo."
Others were excited to see what he'd have in store, thanks to the strength of his new studio material.
"I just listened to his premiere of his CD, and I really enjoyed it," said junior English and Spanish major Andrea Jean, before the set began. "His CD just dropped three days ago so we're getting the first look. We're the first people to have it performed live for us."
Supporting acts Harmonic Blue, the jammy, Dave Matthews-inspired group that won SEE'S Battle of the Bands contest, and rap group The Dean's List took solid turns at setting up the main act.
But above all, it was B.o.B that connected best with the audience.
"[With a] college crowd, I'm with my peers," he said. "It's like people in my age group so there's a different type of connection, a generational connection. I just feel like with the college crowd, we're on the same wavelength. It's a lot of like-minded people."
Near the end of his set, B.o.B implored the crowd to look up at the stars, before launching into the mega-hit "Airplanes."
Even though the sky was graced by no shiny, celestial figures - or Hayley Williams' voice, for that matter - the screams of delight from the audience meant there was still a little bit of magic happening.