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.
Whether you’re rocking a full grown afro, TWA, or are transitioning, being natural and new to campus can be a little tricky.
However you choose to sport your hair is completely up to your discretion. So if you want to big job; go for it. And if you want to relax your hair; go for it!
As someone who changes her hair at least once a week, I’m certain that there isn’t much I haven’t done to my hair. And while I didn’t start my career at NC State as “natural”, I have really enjoyed the process of learning my hair every day.
Two weeks before my junior year started, I completely shaved my hair off. Now this is not for the faint at heart, and I’m not telling anyone to go and shave their hair off.
I will tell you though, that shaving my head was a very liberating experience, and getting ready for class everyday tended to by very easy.
Before I became natural, I didn’t understand all of the hype surrounding it, and even to this day, I think some people may place too much emphasis on what it means to be “natural”. However, once I did decide to go natural, it was like I joined a secret society. Women on campus would stop and compliment my TWA (teeny-weeny afro) and ask what products I used – I felt like I was embracing a new side of myself.
Being an African American student on a predominately White campus may be daunting for some of you. And depending on your career path, you may be inclined to adopt Eurocentric beauty standards as the norm.
But you should always remember that regardless of whether you’re the only Black woman in your class, or the only woman with an Afro, you are exactly where you need to be and you bring invaluable skills to this campus.
Some of you will become doctors and lawyers, and I hope that you won’t trade in your afros for sleek bobs because you feel you have to.
For my sisters who aren’t natural, keep slaying girl! Please don’t feel that because you rock Brazilian bundles, you are any less of Black women. Even as I type this piece I’m rocking a weave.
Take the time to learn and love your hair. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
If you ever need advice on how to flat twist your hair or don’t know where to find a protein treatment – don’t be afraid to ask me. Congratulations on becoming a part of the Wolfpack , Sis. I’ll see you around!
DO’S & DON’TS FOR NATURAL HAIR
DO try protective styles such as crochet braids, Marley twists and faux locs
DON’T get heat damage from flat irons and blow dryers
DO apply a protein treatment before and after applying heat to your hair
DON’T bleach your hair if you aren’t prepared to condition it on a regular basis; things could get bad.
DO trim your hair into a trendy haircut; heart
shaped, tapered, TWA, etc.
DON’T impulsively cut all of your hair off. You may regret it later, so give it a little thought before hand.
DO learn your curl pattern and what products and styles work for you.
DON’T be late to class because your hair isn’t done
DO buy a cute printed scarf. Tie it in a turban, apply deep conditioner and condition while you are out and about
DO watch YouTube tutorials to learn how to do new styles
DO join Campus Curls and Kinks
“Pan Afrikan week to me means that we are, as a people of the African descent, celebrating our togetherness and our unity. We’re celebrating the history of intellectual thought- about 200 years worth- as black people. Pan Afrikan week means that we must signify and enhance the unity we must have amongst each other. So to me, Pan Afrikan is all about unity, togetherness, and a bond that we must sustain as one people of the African descent. Power to the people, because the people need power.”
“Pan Afrikan week to me is almost like the Black community’s homecoming. It’s a good way for all of the black community to come together, students and alumni, to celebrate good times together, show off new skills and successes we have had.”
“To me, Pan Afrikan week is a chance for NC State students to express African culture through different events such as fashion shows and dance competitions as well as concerts. It gives a chance for other students on campus, other cultures and races, to get the experience to see what some things in African culture are like because a lot of them have never been exposed to it. Overall I feel like it’s very beneficial for our campus and hopefully people continue to support throughout the next few years.”
Nia Doaks | Managing Editor
N.C. State is home to a variety of traditions and festivals. One week in particular, Pan Afrikan Festival Week, is especially important to those who wish to celebrate African-American culture and community on the University’s campus.
Pan Afrikan Festival Week is a tradition that is in its 45th year at N.C. State University. It began back in the 70s, and has sometimes been referred to affectionately as “the black homecoming”.
This year’s festivities include a scholarship pageant, guest speaker Nikki Giovanni, and events held by various AASAC organizations. The week will end on Friday with the first ever Pan Afrikan concert featuring rapper Big K.R.I.T.
What does it take for Pan Afrikan Week to be put into action? The Nubian Message sat down with Amira Alexander, President of Black Students Board, to get an inside look at planning for this community event.
Nubian Message: How long has BSB been planning for this year’s Pan Afrikan week and who is involved with the planning?
Alexander: I have been planning for Pan Afrikan week since October of last semester. My advisors and my board have been involved- they’ve been contacting our vendors and contacting caterers to make sure that everything is perfect for the week.
NM: How has it evolved and changed since its earlier years?
A: Well, there’s not too much that I can get from the past, because we don’t have much to reference in regards to previous activities and events. We only have three years of binders but have been around for 45 years. All that I have to look at are flyers, past Pan Af designs. They had kickoffs, they had cookouts and that kind of stuff- so we kind of have the same feel.
NM: What are the goals of this year’s Pan Afrikan events?
A: My goal was to really bring it into what Pan Afrikanism means. I wanted to bring it into the actual definition of what it means to be African American or people of color and the struggles that they face. This is also why I brought Big K.R.I.T. He’s not a normal artist. Even his nameit means King Remembered In Time. What artist do you know that references themselves as kings? He speaks on things that African-Americans struggle with every day and is true to his art form.
NM: What was the most challenging part of planning this week?
A: I’ll honestly say the most challenging part was working with other organizations. A lot of people have a misconception of what BSB is- we’re not an organization, we’re a committee. This means that we don’t raise money, and I have to go through my advisor to reach anyone and make these events happen [unlike with AASAC]. It’s never been really clear what BSB was, and this made it [stressful] for me.
NM: How do you hope to see Pan Afrikan week change or improve in the future?
A: I would hope that the festive aura that I’m trying to place on Pan Afrikan stays. In the past there’s been so much emphasis on the partying, and I feel like people don’t put as much emphasis on the events that people work hard to have. I’m trying to make it fun and an actual celebration of our culture. I’m redefining pan-afrikanism. That’s why I took Africa out of the design- Pan-Afrikanism is more than just Africa, it’s in our everyday lives. It morphs into something different every single day.
NM: What does Pan Afrikan week mean to you?
A: The unifying of people of the African diaspora. A lot of people don’t want to call themselves African-Americans in order to be politically correct- but you didn’t originate from here. You originated from the Motherland. My goal this year was to bring it back to an actual celebration of our culture, of our history. Recognizing where we came from, recognizing who we are and who we ought to be.
UPCOMING PAN AFRIKAN WEEK EVENTS:
Wednesday, 6:30pm, Talley Ballroom | Nikki Giovanni- an evening of poetry, love, and enlightenment
Thursday, 7pm, Talley Ballroom | Afrolatinidad
Friday, 12:15pm, Free Expression Tunnel | Pop the tension
Friday, 7pm, Talley Ballroom | Big K.R.I.T. Concert
Saturday, 12pm | What’s done in the dark
- Arts & Entertainment
- Mind Body and Soul
- Letter to the Editor