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  • IMG_8302.CR2
    Apr 22 2015

    Q&A: 1st Freshman crowned Pan Afrikan King 

    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.

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    “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.

     

    1. 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.

     

    1. 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.

     

    1. 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.

     

    1. 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.

     

    1. 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.

     

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    Feb 26 2015

    Are surprise albums the new normal?

    ALFRED ANDERSON | Staff Writer

    Drake performing in 2010 at the Cisco Ottowa Bluesfest Brennan Schnell

    Drake performing in 2010 at the Cisco Ottowa Bluesfest Brennan Schnell

    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

    Hip-Hop & Higher Education

     

    Rapper J. Cole

    Rapper J. Cole

    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.

     

     

  • Flickr_-_smilesea_-_Beyoncé_Newcastle_2009_(20)
    Sep 24 2014

    ‘B’ Student: Rutger’s Ph.D. candidate teaches “Beyoncé” course

    TAARI COLMAN | Staff Writter

    A new course was added to the Department of Women’s and Genders Studies at Rutgers University in January of 2012.

    Instructed by Kevin Allred, a doctoral student at Rutgers, “Politicizing Beyoncé” is a class dedicated to more than just the vocalists’ very successful musical career.

    Flickr_-_smilesea_-_Beyoncé_Newcastle_2009_(20)

    Beyoncé tampil pada I Am… World Tour | Wikimedia Commons

    In an interview with Rutger’s, Allred revealed many of his thoughts and beliefs on the matter.

    The course came about after four semesters of teaching Women’s Studies 101 at Rutgers, a class in which Allred and his students often discussed Beyoncé and her relationship with being a “girl power” role model and a sexual object for patriarchal society.

    However “Politicizing Beyoncé” delves further past that issue and into others such as her control over her aesthetic and the difference between empowering and stereotypical in exposure of her body.

    Allred said, “While other artists are simply releasing music, she’s creating a grand narrative around her life, her career, and her persona.”Class discussion often opens other doors of conversation about artists such as Billie Holiday, Lady Gaga, Adele, and Amy Winehouse.

    Allred believes that an important shift must occur; rather than students simply consuming media, they should take an active part in engaging in what they are hearing and the nuanced messages that they might be overlooking.

    Allred grew up a homosexual white male in Utah and was drawn to the works of black feminist writers at a young age because he felt that racism, homophobia, sexism, and classism were all oppressive structures under which most people live.

    Allred felt connected to the black feminist writers because their experiences hit home with the ones he had himself. According to the Rutgers Interview, Beyoncé’s second studio album, B’day, is what inspired Allred to connect his love of music with his interests in politics and social regimes.

    Yet, Rutgers University is not the only university interested in classes that seem driven by Pop-Culture icons.

    At Georgetown University, the Department of Sociology has a course entitled, “Sociology of Hip Hop: Urban Theodicy Jay-Z” and the University of South Carolina has the, “Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame” course.

    Universities seem to be moving into an era of being more comfortable with using modern, physical examples instead of relying on students’ ability to comprehend a world before they were operating members of the society being described.

    At N.C. State, the pop-culture course selections are generic and include titles such as “Black Popular Culture” and “Modern Chinese Popular Culture.”

    Allred says, “When students don’t respond to theory or dense readings, it’s often easier to see things play out in the world around them.”

        !!!!!!!!A new course was added to the Department of Women’s and Genders Studies at Rutgers University in January of 2012.

    Instructed by Kevin Allred, a doctoral student at Rutgers, “Politicizing Beyoncé” is a class dedicated to more than just the vocalists’ very successful musical career.

    In an interview with Rutger’s, Allred revealed many of his thoughts and beliefs on the matter.

    The course came about after four semesters of teaching Women’s Studies 101 at Rutgers, a class in which Allred and his students often discussed Beyoncé and her relationship with being a “girl power” role model and a sexual object for patriarchal society.

    However “Politicizing Beyoncé” delves further past that issue and into others such as her control over her aesthetic and the difference between empowering and stereotypical in exposure of her body.

    Allred said, “While other artists are simply releasing music, she’s creating a grand narrative around her life, her career, and her persona.”Class discussion often opens other doors of conversation about artists such as Billie Holiday, Lady Gaga, Adele, and Amy Winehouse.

    Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 12.44.03 PM

    Allred believes that an important shift must occur; rather than students simply consuming media, they should take an active part in engaging in what they are hearing and the nuanced messages that they might be overlooking.

    Allred grew up a homosexual white male in Utah and was drawn to the works of black feminist writers at a young age because he felt that racism, homophobia, sexism, and classism were all oppressive structures under which most people live.

    Allred felt connected to the black feminist writers because their experiences hit home with the ones he had himself. According to the Rutgers Interview, Beyoncé’s second studio album, B’day, is what inspired Allred to connect his love of music with his interests in politics and social regimes.

    Yet, Rutgers University is not the only university interested in classes that seem driven by Pop-Culture icons.

    At Georgetown University, the Department of Sociology has a course entitled, “Sociology of Hip Hop: Urban Theodicy Jay-Z” and the University of South Carolina has the, “Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame” course.

    Universities seem to be moving into an era of being more comfortable with using modern, physical examples instead of relying on students’ ability to comprehend a world before they were operating members of the society being described.

    At N.C. State, the pop-culture course selections are generic and include titles such as “Black Popular Culture” and “Modern Chinese Popular Culture.”

    Allred says, “When students don’t respond to theory or dense readings, it’s often easier to

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