RALEIGH, NC – Doug E. Fresh beatboxed for more than five minutes – so long that John Newman’s arm got tired while holding up his phone, which he was using to document the event.
Newman, an alumni, was among the large crowd to see Fresh perform on the campus quadrangle on Saturday during Homecoming, the annual event that is the highlight of St. Augustine’s social life. The hip-hop icon was the top act of the weekend, which included a rare home football game, tailgating and parties. Fresh icon played a short set but it was received enthusiastically by the crowd. They were so excited that, while waiting for him to come on stage, they chanted “Doug E. Fresh! Doug E. Fresh!”
Fresh became a star in the 1970s and 1980s, and performed music from that era to connect with his fan base Most appeared to be in their 30s or 40s. But Fresh also tried to connect with current St. Augustine’s students as well.
“I am the inventor of the Dougie!” he said and treated students to demonstration of what he called the original Dougie. Many danced along with him.
Fresh – born as Douglass E. Davis in Harlem, NY — is a pioneer for rap and hip hop. He is very skilled in imitating drum machine sounds and special effects by only using his mouth, lips and vocals to create or imitate them, which gained him the title “The Human Beat Box.”
Fresh’s concert was a big hit, judging by the size of the crowd, which spilled out into the road surrounding the quadrangle, and the number of people dancing, singing and holding up cell phones to record the concert. Before the performance, many had complained that St. Augustine’s University’s Homecoming did not have bigger stars and was being held the same weekend as other HBCU Homecomings.
Reggie Marsh, Class of 1994, was happy.
“This was one of the best homecoming I’ve attended in a few years,” he said. Fresh “kept it a little old school and fresh for the younger crew.”
were complaining that the were not exactly all that excited about the events going on this past Saturday. With Miss Saint Augustine’s University Queen on stage as well as young kids on stage doing Doug E. Fresh’s dance, that set the tone for what the rest of the afternoon would consist of.
— Jaquan Leary, Charles Gilchrist, Sterling James