Frat rap is ready to graduate

By CHRIS FARAONE  |  November 23, 2011

Stylz isn't bitter about the new generation of suburban rappers and the exposure that they've gotten. Acts like him and the keg-cracking North Shore crew the Camp rocked their share of ragers and bagged enough fine young party animals for several lifetimes. They're also still recording — Stylz just dropped his comeback disc, It's About Time, and the Camp's Excetera stays booze-rapping with his new Henny Rich Project. "I was out of the scene when Asher Roth hit," says Stylz, "and I won't lie — I saw him and Sammy as getting shine doing a lot of the things that I was doing. But the truth is that hip-hop is always moving in new directions, and maybe it's because of them that I still have a place to fit in."

That sentiment is also shared by other players who pre-date frat rap as America now knows it. "I think it's just going to get bigger and evolve," says Boston-bred LA producer Matty Trump, who's worked closely with both Adams and Meekins from the start of their careers, and before that laid crucial beats for Boston bigs like Slaine and Jake the Snake. "America is being taken over by dance music right now," Trump says, "and hip-hop is a big part of that. I know people will hate me for saying this, but in a way, what a lot of these guys are doing is bringing hip-hop back to where it started, when it was about partying. . . . As for the whole frat-rap label — it just sounds stupid to me. These guys are the new generation of hip-hop, and they don't care how people classify them."


WHAT'S NEW?

One thing frat rap shares with the original progenitors of hip-hop — aside from the party-hardy vibe — is that both forms were written off as fads. With the notable exceptions of Roth and Miller — both of whom have gained acceptance in the greater rap establishment on the strength of their rhyme skills and deference to the culture — few of these emerging acts get love from top outlets like HipHopDX and The Source. But as was also the case with boom-bap at the beginning, it's foolish for anyone to discount frat rap as a passing fancy. The sales numbers speak volumes — even newbies like Providence native and former Duke All-American baseball player Mike Stud have been dominating digital charts.

"I had zero intentions of doing this for a living," says Stud, who got his first major exposure on collegehumor.com. "But after I got a lot of love from all these Web sites, I decided to run with it — even though it was kind of a long shot. . . . I've always been a hip-hop fan, but honestly I didn't know about this whole frat-rap thing until I was part of it. Guys like Mac Miller and Asher Roth didn't necessarily inspire me, but it's clear that they paved the way. I called myself 'the new face of frat rap' in one song, and all these blogs picked up on it. And I'm okay with it — that's kind of where I see myself."

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  Topics: Music Features , hip-hop, Asher Roth, Asher Roth
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