Written by Aaron-Michael Fox. 

If you’ve been paying attention to Marshall University recently, you’ve probably noticed a change in the university culture. As MU becomes a nationally prominent, world-class research institution, the days of being a regional “suitcase” university are quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Bleu Young, a local event organizer, believes the next thing that needs to be energized is Homecoming. This yearly celebration has historically focused on events for Alumni and older community members. “Every other [major] school in the nation has big homecoming events for the students and Marshall should too,” Young said.

Young is taking the next step and organizing a homecoming hip hop show at the Mountain Health Arena on Friday, September 29 headlined by Detroit’s hottest up-and-coming rapper Skilla Baby.

Young says he booked the 24-year-old Skilla Baby because he is excessively talented for his age. Plus, he draws a younger fan base.

”I’m marketing towards the younger generation; the juniors and seniors in high school and the freshmen and sophomores in college. Those guys and girls will be around and/or close to the area for at least the next 3-4 years,” Young said.

Skilla Baby has been making waves out of the cutthroat hip hop scene in Detroit, Michigan for the last couple years. To date, eight of his videos on YouTube have more than two million views apiece. His latest music video, “Fear of God ft. Rylo Rodriquez,” was released a month ago and already has over 1.8 million views.

Skilla’s career first started to explode in the summer of 2022 when he was released from jail after being charged with Assault. “Something about jail and rappers people just think you about that life,” Skilla told the Detroit Metro Times.

Just as his career was reaching a new level, he was shot. While the gunshot wound wasn’t serious, it was rocket fuel for Skilla Baby’s popularity.

“I got shot, they thought I was 50 Cent. I get shot, a whole bunch of stuff happened in the streets, and boom, people started listening to my music out of nowhere. I’m at home eating Doritos, listening to people going crazy on the internet. They thought I was 50 Cent because I got shot one day and the next day I was in the club partying.”

The Mountain Health Arena is thrilled that the Huntington metro is attracting younger acts. “We’re excited to have one of hip-hop’s rising stars coming to Huntington and entertaining our city and Marshall’s students on homecoming weekend,” said Lenny Sundahl, Marketing Assistant for the Mountain Health Arena. “We’re looking forward to a great crowd and a great show!”

Leadership at the City of Huntington has also expressed support for shows targeted at a younger audience. “I recall as a kid growing up in Huntington, my parents would take me to see a show at the riverfront and it was always a band from the 1950s I had never heard of,” said Tia Rumbaugh, the Councilwoman representing Downtown Huntington. “I’m glad to see that changing for Huntington’s younger demographic!”

Opening for Skilla Baby will be Huntington’s own “ELLO,” who is currently a student at Huntington High School. The show will be hosted by Nina Barbie with music mixes from DJ ACTRIGHT. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased HERE.

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