Late nights with Jeremih: a review

Zach Christian

I’d like to preface this review with some important information about me. I am a fan of Jeremih, but I am not a Jeremih fan. I would not list him as my favorite artist or even put him on my top ten artists list. But I was extremely excited when I heard that he was coming to perform at Washington and Lee. As I stood in the crowd and he asked, “Where are my Day One fans at?”, I’ll admit that I stuck my hand up and cheered when I shouldn’t have.

The first time I actively paid attention to Jeremih was in high school, when a girl I somewhat liked said she liked him. Since then, he’s been featured on some songs by artists that I would actually put in my top ten.

Some of you might be wondering why I am the one who gets to write this review. What makes me the pinnacle of music expertise? Why should you devote your time to reading this? I have one simple answer: I love music. I don’t mean that in the way most people do. 

When I say that I love music, I don’t mean that I like hip-hop or rock or country, specifically. I like music, regardless of genre. I put aside much of my pretension long ago. I stopped hating things simply because they were popular, or because they were liked by someone I did not like. Many people still hold onto these prejudices. They’re stuck in their ways. If you look at my phone’s music library, I can guarantee you’ll find as much Taylor Swift as you will J. Cole. I think an open mind is one of the key things that you should look for in a critic.

With this being said, I had an amazing time at Jeremih’s concert in Evans Hall on Thursday, March 21. I had a wonderful time because the concert was exactly what I expected it to be. Jeremih played all the songs people expected him to play: “Oui,” “Planez,” “Don’t Tell ‘Em,” and his very first hit “Birthday Sex.” I heard someone say she was disappointed that Jeremih didn’t sing his part in “Summer Friends” by Chance the Rapper, and I couldn’t help but laugh at the thought.

If there was anything missing from the show, I would say it was songs from Jeremih’s collaboration album with Ty Dolla $ign, “MIH-TY.” This album has some of the best songs in Jeremih’s discography. It also went completely unperformed, except for the fact that his show ended with “The Light,” the opening song of the album, playing in the background. I was confused by this absence, especially considering the part it played in the advertising for the concert. 

The absence might be due to the crowd repeatedly asking for older songs whenever Jeremih took requests. There’s also the fact that not many songs on “MIH-TY” are well known to a mainstream audience. Nonetheless, I think the choice was a misstep on Jeremih’s part.

In the middle of the concert, Jeremih stopped playing his own music and had his DJ play songs that he had writing credits on. This accomplished many things. 

First, I’m sure it gave Jeremih a little bit of a breather. Second, it allowed the crowd to enjoy some music that we all know and love. Finally, it was a somewhat subtle flex on Jeremih’s part. It allowed him to show off just how big a deal he is. If people didn’t recognize any of his own songs, they would surely recognize most, if not all, of the songs he has contributed to that were played.

This review wouldn’t be worth anything if it didn’t mention lip-syncing. It’s common to hear stories of rappers just playing their own songs on the stereo and jumping around as they play. In fact, some of my friends refused to go to the Jeremih concert precisely because that’s what they expected it to be. 

I came into the concert ready for this, so I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised. For many of his songs, it was clear that Jeremih was actually singing. It sounds absurd to be pleased simply because an artist isn’t lip-syncing, but I am very easy to please in that regard.

I think my experience could be summed by how I left the concert. I left feeling sore and tired from dancing and jumping so much. I also left the concert happy that I got to experience it. It wasn’t a once-in-a-lifetime experience by any means—maybe not even a once-in-a-year experience. But it was a good time, and for $22, no less.