On August 19th, you and thousands of your peers will parade around the brick-paved labyrinth known as North Carolina State University. In between trips to the bookstore, the library and class, you’ll find that many students choose to listen to music for both entertainment and motivation. Furthermore, being a campus DJ, I’m always listening music, whether it’s just for fun or in preparation for my next big gig. So, with that being said, here are several songs that you should add to your playlists, guaranteed to help you survive long and sometimes agonizing walks to class.
Future – Commas
It’s hard to name an artist that has been hotter than Future over the past year. With the release of three consecutive mixtapes (Monster, Beast Mode and 56 Nights) as well as his third studio album Dirty Sprite 2, Future has continued to rack in hit after hit with tracks such as “March Madness”, “Trap N*ggas” and “Commas”. I chose Commas as an appropriate song for this playlist because not only is it the most commercially successful of the three, but it is also a club anthem tailored to those ready to blow their latest check. It is perfect for college students preparing for graduation, as they explore the crowded job market.
Kevin Gates – I Don’t Get Tired
Although still considered an “underground artist” by some, Kevin Gates has consistently pieced together solid bodies of work over the past few years and his singles are no different. His hit single “I Don’t Get Tired” was released in late 2014 and became his most successful record to date and revolves around one of his most popular phrases: “I Don’t Get Tired.” This record is a great tool for students that find themselves on the seventh floor of DH Hill every night, completing assignments and studying for exams.
Future Feat. Drake – Where Ya At
Circling back to Future, this song is one of the many highlights from Dirty Sprite 2 and features the self-proclaimed “6 God” himself, Drake. It is the only feature on the album and does not disappoint. Future and Drake sound right at home on this energetic track aimed at calling out those that were nowhere to be found during hardship and struggle. All college students can relate, seeing as college is a never ending challenge that exposes you to who is truly there for you and who is not.
Drake – Charged Up
At the end of July, Meek Mill “shook the world” when he took at aim at Drake via Twitter. He accused Drake of “not writing his own raps” and having a ghost writer named Quentin Miller. In the following days, alleged reference tracks would leak, seemingly revealing that Meek’s accusations were indeed valid and turning all eyes to Drake. In the past, Drake has not been quick to respond to any accusations, but this time he decided to address the situation and releasing a response track titled “Charged Up”. The track takes shots at Meek and anyone that dares to question his penmanship. It is a mellow, yet effective track that can act as motivation to students when it seems like the world is against you.
Drake – Back to Back
Four days after Drake released “Charged Up” he released a second response track titled: “Back to Back”. This track sped up the tempo a little bit and showcased a more abrasive side of Drake, which really helped to turn the attention to Meek, who had yet to respond to Drake’s first diss track. This song is useful for walks to class because once you get past the fact that it is technically a diss track, it is a classic Drake song that consists of Drake talking tough (whether he can back it up or not) over stellar production and dropping one-liners that are sure to dominate pop culture for months to come. This makes for a high energy, celebratory track that will make you feel unstoppable, no matter what challenges you may face in the classroom and beyond.
Kendrick Lamar – Alright
One of my favorite albums from this past year is Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly and the song “Alright:” is definitely one of the best songs on the album. Kendrick is considered by many to be the conscious of Hip-Hop. Here, he delivers a catchy anthem that in the face of controversial issues like racism and police brutality guarantees that, “we gon’ be alllllright!” Which can be viewed as somewhat of a rallying call for college students whom often serve as catalysts for social change and progress.
Migos – Spray the Champagne
Whether you’re in the club or not, you cannot go to many places without hearing the rap trio of Quavo, Offset and Takeoff (Migos). Moreover, with the recent release of their debut album Young Rich Nation, the track “Spray the Champagne” follows the proven Migos formula, consisting of a catchy hook paired with their unique flow and delivery. This track celebrates success in the rap game, but really can be applied to anything. Quavo’s triumphant requests to “Spray the Champagne!” is enough to make any college student want to make a toast and celebrate their accomplishments.
Fetty Wap Feat. Drake – My Way (Remix)
Another one of the hottest artists of the year is Fetty Wap. In the spring, his second major single “My Way” got a facelift via a remix featuring Drake and has reached astronomical heights. Outside of class and parties, college students experience the highs and lows of relationships. This song is a fitting dedication to that special someone in your calculus class and serves as a cry for him or her to finally come your way.
Cool Amerika – Make Sum’ Shake and K. Camp – Po’ Up & Go Up
At the end of the week, it is always time to unwind. You have been trapped in DH Hill and your dorm rooms studying for exams and writing essays all week and come Friday, you are ready to turn up and let loose. These two songs serve as the perfect escape from your stressful academic life. The upstart duo Cool Amerika has polarized the south with their strip club anthem “Make Sum’ Shake”, which doubles to provide motivation as it declares that regardless of what life throws your way, you have the ability to “make sum’ shake” (or make the best out of a situation). In addition, K. Camp adds to his impressive catalog with this club-ready cut, inviting all comers to pour up cups of their favorite “beverages” and proceed to take the turn up to a higher level. These songs are work great on Friday walks to class as you gear up for whatever your resident DJ (DJ Fredo) may have in store for you that weekend.
JESSICA STUBBS | Staff Writer
The newly crowned, 2015 Pan Afrikan King, Matthew Wright, is the first freshman to win the title.
Wright studies graphic design and, upon graduation from N.C. State University, he plans to pursue a career in the Visual and Performing Arts. The student from Fayetteville has hopes of becoming a professional designer or performer.
“Since childhood, I have honed skills in Music, Theatre, and Art, but I have only been dancing for two and a half years. Which is weird because everyone here knew me first as a dancer, then an artist, instead of the other way around,” said Wright.
- What does it mean to you to be crowned the 2015 Pan-Afrikan King?
To be crowned Pan-Afrikan King was crazy. I am the first freshman to ever win the King title, and I am always humbled by that. It’s definitely an honor.
- You are involved in A LOT of activities around campus, how you stay focused and balanced?
I have to be sure I manage my time very well; I can’t let anything slip. My schedule is like a minefield sometimes where things are so close together but never touch or everything blows up [laughs]. But it’s only by the grace of God I’m able to do any of these things I love so much.
- What would you say is your biggest accomplishment this year?
My biggest accomplishment this year was probably performing at the Symposium showcase back in August. I say that because that’s when I made the decision to do what I loved in front of everyone despite whatever negative response I could’ve received. That took away all my inhibitions and gave me confidence to join crews, make friends, and ultimately compete in the pageant.
- To whom would attribute much of your success and why?
I attribute my success to God, who instilled within me the gifts and drive to do great things in His name, and my parents who were led by God to raise me in a way that assured greatness. I love those guys.
- What advice would you give to incoming freshman now that your freshman year is coming to a close?
My advice to freshmen coming in is to simply be Unapologetically You. Break out of your shell (and the shells you put yourself in to “fit in” with the crowd) and be yourself! Do what you love because that is what matters most. God doesn’t make copies, so don’t try to be one.
ALFRED ANDERSON | Staff Writer
Grammy Award-winning recording artist Aubrey Graham, known around the world as Drake, set the internet ablaze just before Valentines day weekend with the surprise release of his seventh solo LP entitled If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. The 17 song LP came as a surprise to fans after rumors circulated for months that Graham would be releasing a new mixtape during the first few months of 2015.
Following a trend set by R&B singer Beyoncé in December 2013, the project came without warning but simply as an iTunes link posted via Graham’s official twitter page. Projected to sell over 500,000 digital copies of the album upon the first week of its release, Graham fell just short of that number at 495,000 digital copies sold during the first week of sales.
Nonetheless, with If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late having the largest sales week among Hip-Hop and R&B albums since the surprise release of Beyoncé’s self entitled album (which sold 617,000 copies in its first week of sales), it’s safe to say that Graham has left a memorable impression with his third chart-topping LP, according to Billboard.com.
The LP itself consists of 17 tracks that more than likely, did not make the final cut to appear on his upcoming album entitled Views from the 6 (inspired by the 416 area code of his birthplace of Toronto), which is slated to be released later this year. The most noteworthy tracks that are poised to make some noise on both the radio and club scene are, ‘Energy’, ’10 Bands’ ‘Know Yourself’ and the Lil Wayne assisted ‘Used To”, which along with the rest of the songs on the LP act as odes to his hometown, his affinity for exotic dancers and the trials and tribulations of a Hip-Hop Superstar.
In addition, with the release of this LP, rumors about Graham’s status with his label, Cash Money, came to the forefront as his mentor, Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. (also known as Lil Wayne) has been engaged in a lawsuit with Cash Money. He’s requesting unpaid royalties or a release from the same label. Graham was signed by Lil Wayne to Young Money, a subsidiary of Cash Money Records and ultimately the Universal Music Group. Lil Wayne, upset with being denied the ability to release his long awaited album, Tha Carter V, lashed out against Cash Money and his mentor Bryan ‘Birdman’ Williams, threatening to leave the label and take his Young Money label mates with him.
Throughout, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Graham makes numerous statements that seem to refer to his feelings toward the situation, with one song in particular, entitled: “Now and Forever” seems to directly address his label situation, as Graham appears to be preparing himself to separate from Cash Money Records and not knowing what awaits for him afterwards. To add fuel to the fire, after it had been rumored that this project would be released as a free mixtape, many began to speculate that it was released as a album in order for Graham to complete his four album contract with Cash Money, potentially resulting in his release from the label and the release of Views from the 6 as his first project that is not under the Cash Money umbrella. Furthermore, Graham also takes the opportunity to address his conflicts with the likes of P. Diddy, Tyga and others that has found the Canadian artist in the wrong spotlight.
In all, with the release of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Graham remains one of the most popular and controversial figures in the music industry today. With his ability to compile hit after hit and the bridge the gap between Hip-Hop and R&B, it will be interesting to see where Graham’s career goes from here- from his potential split with Cash Money Records to the release of his next album Views from the 6- Graham is poised to continue to top charts and headlines.
Jan 28 2015
ALFRED ANDERSON | Staff Writer
Hip-Hop, a genre that prides itself on rags to riches ideology, has played host to numerous artists that discovered their niche and achieved success in non-traditional ways.
These artists were not just gangsters and thugs that grinded their way to the top, but individuals that were smart and educated. There are many Hip-Hop artists that even attended colleges and universities before and after beginning their Hip-Hop careers, some receiving an education at a few prestigious academic institutions.
For example, Hip-Hop Superstar Kanye West briefly attended Chicago State University in 1990 before deciding to drop out and focus on his music career as a producer and eventually an artist. Although West did not finish school, the spirit of college has always been prevalent in his music. West released three albums entitled College Dropout, Late Registration and Graduation, which serve as nods to his academic experiences.
J. Cole, a local rapper from Fayetteville, North Carolina attended St. John’s University in New York City in route to his Hip-Hop career. He majored in communications and graduated with honors, eventually becoming a Grammy nominee and releasing three highly successful albums in Cold World: The Sideline Story, Born Sinner and 2014 Forest Hills Drive.
Rick Ross, also known as the “Boss” attended Albany State University on a football scholarship and studied criminal justice before dropping out and deciding that he no longer wanted to continue his education at the historically black college. His label mate, Wale a rapper from Washington, D.C. also received football scholarships to Robert Morris College and Virginia State University before focusing on establishing himself as the musician we know and love today.
Atlanta rappers, 2 Chainz and Ludacris also attended college. After being a high school stand out in the sport of basketball, 2 Chainz played a season for Alabama State University and majored in psychology, before dropping out to pursue his rap dreams. Ludacris attended Georgia State University and studied music management. Eventually, Ludacris would go on to intern at Hot 107.9 in Atlanta and became a DJ by the name of DJ Chris Lova before launching his successful music career and creating Disturbing tha Peace Records.
In addition, Sean Combs, also known as P. Diddy, one of the most successful and prominent business men in Hip-Hop history attended Howard University and studied business.
While in school, Combs became an intern at Uptown Records in New York City, eventually dropping out of school and going on to launch Bad Boy Records and becoming brand ambassador of Cîroc Vodka.
In all, with the number of Hip-Hop artists that have found success, with or without attending college, it is clear that there is no one way to the top. However, it is interesting to note that some of the most popular and successful artists have some college education. Perhaps, their experiences and education has helped to assist them in becoming the stars that we see today.
Therefore, I think that it shows that elements of education can be used in all walks of life.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Mind Body and Soul
- Letter to the Editor