By: Julian Patterson
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Over the past decade music industry has evolved from a booming conglomerate to a struggling enterprise. Bloggers are the new talent scouts. YouTube is the new MTV. Mixtapes are the new albums. And albums have become more overrated than Brett Favre. Truth be told, the only difference between major labels and indie labels is budget. Even so, indie labels are still able to compete with major labels when it comes to marketing and promoting new artists and music. With various social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, a new crop of talent can be bred within months. Recently, with the innovation of college music blogs such as The Hype Machine, Frat Music, and BroBible, a new genre of music has emerged to forefront: Frat Rap.
It all started in 2008 when a kid from West Chester University named Asher Roth recorded a song called “I Love College.” Bloggers posted it on their websites, thousands of college kids downloaded, and record labels jumped at the chance to sign the unknown emcee from the Philadelphia suburbs. Back then, few could have predicted what would come of it, but “I Love College” was the straw the broke the camel’s back. As a result, Roth enjoyed immense success in the college demographic, and his music became a staple on every frat party’s playlist.
About a year after Asher Roth released his breakthrough single, Wiz (better known as Sam Adams), a rising senior at Trinity College in Connecticut at the time, remixed Roth’s “I Love College” and renamed it “I Hate College.” The remix took off and quickly became a cult classic on the college scene, essentially replacing Asher Roth’s hit song on college party playlists. By Spring 2010, Sam Adams had performed at colleges across the country; from Dartmouth to USC and everywhere in between, everybody wanted a piece of Sam Adams. His debut EP, Boston’s Boy, even reached number one on iTunes. Adams has taken his newfound success in stride and hasn’t looked back since.
Even with pioneers like Asher Roth and Sam Adams, the frat rap movement has only just begun. More recently we have witnessed the emergence of Pittsburgh native, Mac Miller. His laid back vibe, effortless flow, and clever viral videos have made him a standout. His latest mixtape, K.I.D.S., has silenced his critics and proven why Rostrum Records offered him a record deal he couldn’t refuse. With a great management team and the support of fellow Pittsburgh native, Wiz Khalifa, look for Mac Miller to make major moves sooner rather than later.
While Miller establishes himself as theindustry’s next big thing, other new and talented artists have also mad some noise in the blogosphere. Boston quartet, The Dean’s List, have experienced a whirlwind of success with close to 300,00 online downloads and a promotional video set to hit the web sometime next week. Connecticut spitter, Chris Webby, has built up a strong fan base and will headline the BroBible Tour with The Dean’s List in October. Brooklyn native, OnCue, has the blogs buzzing about his new mixtape Cuey Sings the Blues. In the coming months, OnCue will be working on new material and performing with Kid Cudi. Needless to say, the list goes on and on with the new talent coming from woodwork.
In the past few years the college demographic has effectively carved out a new genre in the music industry. As long as blogs and frats exist, frat rap will continue to flourish. However, that’s not to say that the artists mentioned above are limited to the frat rap genre. Most of these artists’ appeal reaches beyond the frat basement. They certainly have the talent and potential to rock shows along side the best and brightest the music industry has to offer. So when they come to the mainstream and hit the radio, remember you read about it here first.