Forty-three years later, the event is set to return on Sunday, September 5, when Florida A&M University faces off against Jackson State University at Hard Rock Stadium.
Festivities kick off a day earlier with a Welcome to the 305 pregame concert at the FPL Solar Amphitheater at Bayfront Park on Saturday, September 4. 2 Live Crew veteran Uncle Luke will headline the show, alongside other legendary local acts like Trick Daddy, Trina, Ball Greezy, and JT Money.
DJ Nasty 305, who recently collaborated with rappers Busta Free, Greezy, and Kase 1Hunnid for "Boogie," is proud to be a part of the lineup.
"We definitely gonna have fun," DJ Nasty of 99 Jamz's Trick & Trina Morning Show says. "It's been 43 years since it's been in Miami, so it's gonna be dope. I'm just excited for Black college football to be highlighted in a city like Miami because in Miami we always highlight the Hurricanes and the Dolphins, but now there's actually some HBCU football and I'm super excited about that. Plus, you know, getting to perform with somebody like Uncle Luke — it's going to be amazing.
"There will be some surprises, but I can't say who," Nasty adds. "Just know there definitely will be some surprises."
The Orange Blossom Classic got its start in 1933 thanks to the son of FAMU president J.R.E. Lee, Jr. The postseason game, which was known as the Black National Championship, became a highly anticipated event among historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) around the nation. The first game was held in Jacksonville against Howard University. In 1934, the OBC got its first taste of the 305 when Miami hosted Florida A&M vs. Virginia State, before returning to Jacksonville for the next several years. Then, in 1947, the game officially moved to Miami and established a legacy in college football that lasted long after its final game in 1978.
The concert is just one of numerous events happening before the big game on Sunday between the Rattlers and the Tigers. The Orange Blossom Classic experience is giving everyone the chance to its hefty schedule of events, including the Cortez Bryant Golf Classic, a job recruitment fair at Hard Rock Stadium, vice-chairman Oliver G. Gilbert III's Welcome Reception and Luncheon presented by the GMCVB, AEA Presents Battle of the Bands, the OBC Parade, and more.
Sylvester Wesley, AKA Chico the Virgo of Hot 105, is a FAMU alum who spent the first five years of his radio career on the air at WANM 90.5, FAMU's college radio station. He recalls watching classic acts like Parliament-Funkadelic and the Isley Brothers perform ahead of the Orange Blossom Classic as a student in the mid-'70s. He's more than ready for the game to return to Miami. In honor of his 50th year on-air, Chico the Virgo is also hosting his own pre-OBC event called Classically Yours: The Superstars of Soul & R&B on Friday, September 3.
"I think it's awesome for South Florida," Chico tells New Times. "As a kid, I remembered always going to the Orange Blossom Classic. It was very exciting. Now that I'm getting ready to be 67 this week, I'm excited about the fact that the Orange Blossom Classic is coming back to Miami. The turnout is going to be great. The only little damper is that there's still COVID out there. Some people that would love to come are afraid to come because of the pandemic. But the fact that they've organized it and set it up for every year from now on, it's going to be amazing."
The revival of the Orange Blossom Classic has been a long time coming. Before the pandemic, the OBC had intended to make its grand comeback with Florida A&M lining up against Albany State University during the 2020 season. But the pandemic wiped out the entire season.
"While we're sad to announce the cancellation of the 2020 Orange Blossom Classic due to Albany State University's decision to cancel the football season," the organizers wrote in an Instagram caption last year. "We plan to usher in a new energy and experience during the Labor Day weekend showcase on September 3-5 2021, kicking off Florida A&M University's inaugural season in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) against opponent Jackson State University."
More a year later, the organizers behind the Orange Blossom Classic confirmed plans for the Welcome to the 305 Pre-Game Concert. Ball Greezy was the first performer announced, in a social post back in June. As the summer months raged on, the rest of the lineup, including Trick Daddy, Trina, and JT Money, were also revealed. Not long after Uncle Luke was added to the bill, the veteran rapper encouraged all of his fans to pull up to the show.
"Labor Day Weekend is going to be a weekend unlike any other," Luke said in a video posted to Instagram. "Let me tell you..., we're going to have parades. They're gonna have concerts at Bayfront Amphitheatre. I'm performing with all of my good friends Trick Daddy, Trina, Ball Greezy, JT Money and a whole bunch of other people. It's going to be sick in the M.I.A. You gotta be here."
Welcome to the 305 Pre-Game Concert. With Uncle Luke, Trick Daddy, Trina, Ball Greezy, and others. 7 p.m. Saturday, September 4 at the FPL Solar Amphitheater at Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-358-7550. Tickets cost $35 to $65 via livenation.com.