Kent DJ opens for Quavo

Brianna Phillips, Reporter

Kyle Macon, better known as DJ Smillz, walked onto the MACC Annex stage April 14, eager to share his skills with the packed crowd of Kent State students.

“[It’s] something I still haven’t mentally grasped because I used to be a kid making mixes in his living room,” Macon said. “It took a lot of sleepless nights. Especially during quarantine, I was constantly working on my craft.”

Kent State’s Undergraduate Student Government originally invited DJ Smillz to perform at this year’s FlashFest alongside R&B and hip-hop artist Blackbear and girl group The Aces. However, after a member of Blackbear’s team tested positive for Covid-19, Quavo, a member of the hip-hop group Migos, became the new FlashFest headliner.

Macon was meant to open for rapper Gunna for Blastoff, however, the concert was switched to a virtual format due to Covid-19 concerns. With the help of USG, Macon received a second chance to show off his skills.

Kyle Macon, better known as DJ Smillz, performs a DJ set. (Courtesy of Ramone Hardy )

“My passion and competitiveness within myself to do better and to never settle [is what sets me apart from others],” Macon said. “I am always thinking of ways to improve or add new music to my sets.”

As Kent State’s official DJ, Macon has worked closely with Black United Students, and has worked events such as the annual Renaissance Ball. He has also performed at the Blastoff after-party, men’s basketball games and other small events in the Kent area.

Macon said he would not be where he is without the help and support of his friends Ramone Hardy, Tia McKnight and Ahmed Algharibi.

“I don’t believe [any of this] would be achievable without the amazing people around me,” Macon said.

Hardy, a junior digital media production major, said they hold each other accountable and motivate one another to not give up.

“I am super excited for him,” Hardy said. “I’m not nervous for him. I know his skill set and he’s going to kill it.”

As a member of USG, senior photography major Tia McKnight was looking forward to seeing her friend play at an event as large as FlashFest– the lower-level seating for the event sold out within 45 minutes.

“I’ve seen him do gigs since my sophomore year, so three years ago,” McKnight said. “To see him start at little parties and then to get to Blastoff and FlashFest is really big for him.”

Brianna Phillips is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].