There’s been a lot of buzz around our homebase of Bloomington about a student made rap song/video boasting of Indiana University’s dominance in the Big Ten (which has twelve teams because apparently math is not a competitive sport and therefore irrelevant). The creators have been written up in the student paper and the local paper and the video itself has been the topic of many a facebook posting. This got us thinking. There has to be other examples of this sort of thing for other schools right?
Oh yes. So, so many. We decided to limit ourselves to the Big Ten because we do have lives outside of this blog that we like to try to get to from time to time. So now, for your education and enjoyment – tribute songs and videos from the Big Ten and the grade we give each one. As they run the gamut from slick and well produced to charmingly lo-fi to the kind of trainwreck one can only attribute to the folly of youth; there’s probably something in here for everyone.
Postcard Editor: The song that started this whole idea for this post. Production wise there’s nothing you can take away from this, either the song or the video. Both are impressively professional, and as someone who has tried to do a rap song or two at karaoke in my day, I have to give them credit for their technical skills. They’ll never win a freestyle battle by any stretch of the imagination, but delivery and tone are there. I have a knee jerk reaction to this song where my gut tells me to hate it because it feels like an affront to the city I love, but the song is not about Bloomington, it’s about IU and more specifically their basketball team, which for God’s sake needs all the help and cheerleading it can get these days. Just as I’m sure the Greek student body at IU wouldn’t be thrilled with a song and video about Bloomington by Racebannon (but seriously, please make one) as a representation of their experience here. Different strokes for different folks. I begrudgingly give this one an A.
Postcard ChaCha: The fact that this video has 247,547 hits so far pretty much says it all. Love it or hate it, it’s infectious enough to get the IU party started and, well, that is the whole point. I grit my teeth and give this one an a…but I’m NOT capitalizing that a!
University of Illinois
PE: There’s an amateurish charm to this. It sounds like they’re rapping into the built in mic on a laptop over the karaoke track for the original song. They aren’t taking themselves seriously, and their entire rap is about their dorm so it’s free of all the competitive posturing of the other songs on the list. It’s a little odd how it transitions into a song strictly about Jesus toward the end, but maybe it’s a Christian dorm. They get me back though with the line “Everybody put your bibles in the air.” which I think captures the goofy but good nature of the whole thing. They get an A for adorable.
CC: I really couldn’t agree more. There are several things I don’t like, especially the reference to their dorm producing “kingdom workers” which I assume really means slaves for jesus. That made me feel funny. But damn are those kids cute and they never once take themselves too seriously. I’ll give them an A-.
University of Northern Iowa (filling in for the University of Iowa who is in the Big Ten, but we couldn’t find a song for them)
PE: This one fills me with confusion. At first I’m charmed by this group as they sort of seem to be a mash up of Those Darlins’ down home silly charm and En Vogue’s vocal arrangements. But then the paper thin production of piano on a beat stops working for me. Then things go completely sour with the white girl dancing and the promoting the closeness of the mall to campus. Finally comes the one two punch of the awful, awful rap break and then what is apparently the university’s big selling point – they have a water slide. And just like a child who wants to go to Disneyland but instead gets taken to the Holiday Inn Funzone for a weekend of disappointment, surely the students here must be grateful for the higher education, but resentful and perhaps a little wrinkly. If anything maybe this video reveals the truth about what it’s like to go to school here – the only things to do are go to the mall, hit the water slide, and do copious amounts of drugs to alleviate the mind numbing boredom. I’m giving this one a D-
CC: The only thing that impresses me is that they managed to find a word that rhymed with “Iowan.” Just say that out loud. Yeah, IOWAN. F
University of Michigan-Dearborn (filling in for the University of Michigan – who may have a song out there but after we found this gem we stopped looking)
PE: Travel through time and see how this concept of attaching the musical trend of the day with footage of your university has been around forever. Or at least since the 80’s. Those of you addicted to the hipstamatic app for your phone camera will love the look of this one. There’s so much to love in this video, from the innocence lost of days of transferring an orange via your neck to good old fashioned eating competitions; but for me the apex of the video is the drum break/fencing stop motion scene. I hope they gave Dr. Z (a legendary funk keyboardist who played on albums by everyone from Gladys Knight to Dr. Dre) an Honorary Doctorate of Funkology for the score to this. I’m giving this one an A for Awesome, Totally.
CC: Time travel, dude. Me & You & U of M, for real. Most definitely an A+
Michigan State University
PE: We are only including this one because it makes ChaCha giggle uncontrollably every time she sees it.
CC: But Editor, that’s because it’s glorious. I could watch this over and over again and still enjoy watching Golden Tate take out that horn section like it was the first time. And the soundtrack? Come on, IT’S EPIC.
University of Minnesota
PE: A rap song by Geology majors? I want to love this so much you have no idea, but after sitting through the unfunny and unnecessarily long intro (skip to 2:28 to get to the song) I’m tired of this already. It doesn’t help that they’re doing an extremely poorly produced and executed parody of a parody song. I’m sure I could learn something about Geology if I tried to pay attention to this, but it’s done so badly that I spend the rest of the video wishing that instead of being on a rock, they were in Iraq dying for my freedom. Ok, that’s a little harsh. I hope they went on to have successful lives in the field of Geology and are as embarrassed by this as I am about my 9th grade class photo where I attempted to have hair like Marvel Comics superhero Longshot. I give this an F-.
CC: And to think, I used to believe Geology was cool. F for FREAKING EMBARASSMENT
PE: Hey Geology kids from the last video, this is how you come nerdy AND correct. The song and video is well done and full of Chemistry lingo and it doesn’t make me wish a war related death upon anyone involved. I have no choice but to declare Chemistry the greater science based upon these two songs. I’m giving this one an A- for Alchemy, which is sort of Chemistry, because they turned science nerd rap into gold. Gold I say!
CC: Northwestern, I’m proud of you. Ya’ll brought chemistry to the party and she got down and durrrrrrty. A
Northwestern University – Video #2
PE: Despite possibly the worst stretch for a rhyme in history (tic….ket) I’m sort of in love with this one. It starts off like an homage to House of Pain or Cyprus Hill with both it’s coarse rapping style and it’s sparse beat with a simple hook, but then transitions into a Snoop/Dre/Warren G tribute to melodic flow. It’s a greatest hits of the early 90’s rap that white kids from the midwest knew about. I’m giving this one a B+ for Back in the Day Positivity.
CC: They lost me at tic…ket, too Editor. I’m giving it a B-
Ohio State University
PE: Yes, this is not the same kind of video as the other ones. So why are we including it? Well, as Bloomingtonians, we have to put up with OSU fans several times a year when they come to play IU, and they are en masse the rudest group of people we deal with all year. So any chance to make OSU look like asses, we’ll take. A Glee flashmob? More like a Glee Failmob. F-
CC: As embarrassing as it is, I have to admit I sort of, kind of (sheepishly) like it. And I’m not even a Glee fan. Yep, just keeeeep on judging me. C
Ohio State University – Video #2
PE: Ok, so maybe not everyone at OSU sucks. This kid rules. We’re officially campaigning to get him to transfer to IU. A+ if he transfers here and helps Racebannon with that aforementioned Bloomington song. B- if he stays at OSU.
CC: Come on down to Btown Wolfman Willie, I hear there’s wildcats in the woods! D
Pennsylvania State University
PE: Short and to the point, and while he lacks any kind of charisma (perhaps why the camera is constantly panning around in an attempt to make it more interesting), he’s on the beat, he’s rapping about his school team with the correct amount of hyperbole, it’s passable. I’ll give this one a C for Camera Stand – invest in one.
CC: When you should include the instructions to pop a couple of Dramamines before watching your video, you’ve done something terribly, terribly wrong. F
University of Wisconsin
PE: Production wise, this one is up there with the IU one. The song and the video are both extremely well produced. I like the minimalist beat, not a fan of the first rapper – who performance wise is fine, just his persona irks me. The hook is extremely annoying, but not out of line with a current sort of pop hook. I really like the second rapper’s voice and delivery. Also he’s rocking an old school Brewers shirt, which I have to get behind. Like the IU one, while this is not my cup of tea, I have to recognize it’s quality level. Another begrudging A.
CC: Dude, all I know is that badger’s got the moves. And gramps in the sparkly jacket’s working his thang too. A
Grand Valley State University
PE: Ok, another one that is outside of the original parameters of the idea for this post. GVSU is not in the Big Ten. We’re including it for one simple reason. This video blows every other video on this list off the face of the internet for ingenuity and level of difficulty. A single 6 minute and 30 second camera shot with dozens and dozens of principal characters featured in it? That’s some Scorcese shit there. If you watch only one of the videos on this list – this should be the one. Un. Fucking. Believable. I’m giving this one the Valedictorian Award.
CC: I give this one a standing ovation. I mean, not only did they recruit, like, half the college to make this video, they did it really, really well. From choreography with umbrellas to the scuba diver in the fountain, I loved this one. Hands down, the best. RIGHT ON GVSU!
CLASS STANDINGS & OVERALL GRADE:
1. GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY: A++
2. UNIVERSITY of MICHIGAN (Dearborn): A+
(tie) 3. INDIANA UNIVERSITY: A
(tie) 3. UNIVERSITY of WISCONSIN: A
(tie) 4. NORTHWESTERN (CHEMISTRY): A-
(tie) 4. UNIVERSITY of ILLINOIS: A-
5. NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY (OLD SCHOOL RAP): B
6. OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY (WOLFMAN WILLIE): C
7. PENN STATE: D
8. OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY (GLEE): D-
9. UNIVERSITY of NORTHERN IOWA: F+
10. UNIVERSITY of MINNESOTA: F
You may notice we’re missing videos for a few of the 12 schools of the Big Ten (seriously, fucking change the name if you’re going to add schools). That’s because we couldn’t find videos for those schools. If you know of a video for Purdue, U of Nebraska, or any other college they’ve added to the Big Ten this week – send us an email with the link and we’ll throw it up here.