So, if you’ve caught the last 3 pieces, you know that Varsity Blues is all about the struggles that we, as Canadian college students, experience. In Varsity Blues, RLGT explores some of the major differences between the famed college culture of the United States, to the seriously lacking lifestyle of Canadian colleges. We was able to narrow the reasoning behind this theory, to 3 main reasons, sports, frat/Greek life, and today’s topic, frat rap/music culture. In each part I explore 1 of these sections, and in an attempt to stay impartial knowing that nothing is perfect, I will take the time to identify some of the best things about going to school in Canada in the final section, which will be out later this week (I promise this time).
For me, one of the most exciting things in my first few years about being in a big city was the entertainment options. I feel like there is literally always something new for me to do in Calgary, if I really take the time to look. One of the biggest changes related to entertainment, was concerts. I had never went to a real concert until I was 18 years old, and that year I saw 2 different concerts. Canadian rappers Classified (on campus), and Drake (Off-campus. In an arena.). Classified visited first, and although he was an amazing performer, the show was at my university and only had about 1000 people in what was essentially a half packed banquet room. Later that year I saw Drake, and needless to say it was pretty awesome, and the show was nuts, largely in part to the fans, The fans (like myself) knew every word, to every song, and it was genuinely awesome to be in a room (stadium) full of people jamming out with you.
(Right: The original Frat Rapper, Asher Roth of “I Love College” Fame)
A little later on, when I really started getting into making music playlists for my page (Enter shameless plug: 8tracks.com/hospey #8tracksfamous), I started listening to mixes under a genre called “Frat Rap”. The title is pretty self explanatory, and basically Frat Rap is a sub-genre of hip-hop which generally features light vibes, relatable college topics, and draws most of its fan-base from (American) college students. Some of the biggest names in Frat Rap, are some familiar ones including Hoodie Allen, G-Eazy, Mike Stud, Huey Mack, etc. Simplified, according to the Urban Dictionary:
a form of hip hop that is usually based on the party scene of college. Often drugs, alcohol, and sex. mostly white rappers Mike Stud, Radical Something, Huey Mack, etc
i.e. “on our way to umass amherst we decided to bump some frat rap to get the party mentality going”
“frat rap makes me want get wicked high and drunk then black the fuck out”
As mentioned Hoodie Allen is one of the biggest names in Frat Rap. The New York based rapper has recently experienced commercial success with several successful singles, while remaining independent. Many Frat Rap artists choose to stay independent due to often being able to build a loyal fan-base without having to take a commercial route. This is due to their unheard of ability to pack colleges, literally at will. For example, here’s Hoodie performing in front of a couple thousand students, crammed to the brim at Furman University in South Carolina… (A 3000 STUDENT SCHOOL):
The amazing and awesome thing about this new genre is that it is by and for the students of these schools. They really get to enjoy something unique, that’s almost specifically powered by them. They have the power to destroy an artist, but at the same time they have the power to uplift an artist, and really get behind their success! All students, from any faculty, or any frat, or any sports team, etc, are able to come together, check out an awesome concert, and generally just bond. I hope if you have read the previous entries to this series, you are starting to see trend. The students are able to come together and be part of something pretty special. These student can pack a tiny hall and still deliver that stadium/festival vibe.
Much like sports, music is a large part of culture in general, which makes it that much more special. These students can directly affect the culture just by listening, and sharing the music that they like. Not only from a cultural point, but from a music-lovers standpoint, having school credibility (AKA Street Cred, y0) helps get the big names to want to come perform! In my 3 years here the biggest name to perform at my school has been Mac Miller, but besides that the names we are able to attract are usually pretty small, not like names such as Drake, 2 Chainz, TI, and Meek Mill (who ALL performed at Howard University’s 2012 Homecoming concert).
(Above: Chance the Rapper rocks a concert on the 2014 Verge College Campus Tour)
Unlike the other topics, I could not actually give a great reason as to why this type of music culture isn’t as present here, North of the border. My main guess would be that hip-hop music as a genre is not as popular in the Canadian mainstream as it is in the USA. Maybe with the emergence of large Canadian hip hop superstars such as Drake, The Weeknd, PND, and P-Reign helping influence the mainstream, in turn, sub-genres will grow as well, although I feel a though this phenomenon could happen with just about any genre. I have personally noticed a rise in touted electronic artists that have been visiting the country and playing shows that are largely packed with college kids, so maybe we might see something similar emerge in the coming years with this genre instead.
For now we are stuck with streaming the music online, and making the road trips down to the nearest American institution.
Again, I want to re-iterate that the importance really isn’t on the cultural artifacts that I have chosen, but more importantly what they represent. If a 3000 person American school can get together and 50% of their population out for a concert, I have troubles seeing why a 30,000 school can’t rally 10% for a similar situation. And again, I place much of the responsibility to fix these problems on the student representatives in schools. Not only do the students need to ask for what we deserve (which is 4 or 5 of the best years of our lives), but its up to the representatives to deliver. “Extra-curricular” events need to get a bigger spotlight, and if we can’t fix the education system itself, we should at least be able to see some visible upgrades to student life and experience. American kids should be begging to come to our schools, not only for the superior education, but also because they can be assured that they would genuinely get a similar experience to the American equivalent. If college was meant to be experienced alone, why would anyone bother attending? All advanced education would easily be based online by now, which goes to show that students are obviously expecting something. Brands like I’m Shmacked, events like March Madness, artists like Hoodie Allen all wouldn’t exist if student really didn’t gave a damn, but we truly do.
Anyways, enough of my bitching, it all comes down to opinion and perception. Next time I’ll be highlighting my favourite things about going to school in this amazing country, that set us apart from the rest of the world!
Two words: one love,