Frat rap is ready to graduate

By CHRIS FARAONE  |  November 23, 2011

The big question is: which babies of the bunch will prevail? In the immediate wake of Sam's success, comparable players like Maine toke hound Spose and Connecticut force Chris Webby wracked up millions of YouTube views and were paid hefty label advances. And since then, a countless crop of next-ups have also jumped on the potentially lucrative bandwagon, from Ferris Bueller look-alike Hoodie Allen — one of the most lyrically gifted of the pack — to UMass-Amherst undergrad Paul Markham, whose new video for the song "Far Away" shows him talking trash in a Catcher in the Rye T-shirt.

What's for sure is that the acts who ride this out have pedigrees unlike the rap stars who preceded them — whether it's Stud, who began recording after an injury curbed his Major League Baseball prospects, or Meekins, who committed to hip-hop after a life-threatening jet ski accident when he was 15 years old. Even black kids are getting theirs in this overwhelmingly pale fringe movement; bi-racial duos Chiddy Bang and OCD are already riding high, while Moufy — who is from Roxbury but attended high school at Buckingham Browne & Nichols in Cambridge — is the toast of suburbia since his smash "Miss Newton" blew up nationally. To make things more interesting, some frat rappers even come from celeb family trees — a path not so accepted in traditional rap circles, but that's seemingly okay in this corner. Just consider Tommy Hilfiger's son and recent Warner signee Rich Hil, Bob Dylan's grandson Pablo (who's down with Lil Wayne's Young Money clique), and Chet Haze, who, no joke, is the offspring of Tom Hanks.

"I don't like calling it frat rap," says Meekins, who just signed a major label deal. "We're all really different; in my case, I didn't go to college, I was never in a fraternity, and I definitely never played football or anything like that — plus with my newer music I'm talking about much more than partying. . . . It's true that everyone who wants to be a rapper now can be a rapper, and that's not a good thing. But if you can break through the whole mess on the Internet, you can find a lot of talent, and a lot of artists who are really making new lanes. That's what I'm here to do — call it whatever you want, but I call it the new hip-hop."

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Related: The other white beat, 2011 brings Jon Hope, the McGunks, Jocie Adams, and more, The Big Hurt: Billboard Top Hip-Hop and R and B songs, More more >
  Topics: Music Features , hip-hop, Asher Roth, Asher Roth
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