Undercover at ZBT’s hip-hop show
By Sophia Ozenbaugh
On October 12, Cornell University frat, Zeta Beta Tau, celebrated their 100th anniversary with a “benefit concert” put on by none other than Atlanta rapper, Yung Joc. We at Buzzsaw Haircut weren’t really sure what sort of charity the rapper could possibly bestow on a well-established Ivy League fraternity… but hey! — we sent staff writer, Sophia Ozenbaugh, to investigate. Here’s what she found:
I stepped out of the taxi, and into the woods. Walking down the dark driveway, the only thing that kept me from turning back were the drunken swaggerers and the din of the audience below. After handing the over-zealous rent-a-cop my ticket, I was confronted with crowd that seemed more like a wall. The woods and security guards encircled the entire driveway and front yard, making it hard to move elsewhere but forward. On my right the frat house was overflowing. At once, I was confronted by the immovable territorial types. Pushing past the posers standing stiff in their b-boy stances, I began to take notice of the students surrounding me, none of which could contributed to a real hip-hop atmosphere.
Slinking and slipping my way up, I finally reached the front — well, the front of the “Non-VIP” section, that is. In the VIP crowd, only a garden away, I spotted even more wannabes living up their “8 Mile” expectations. And despite the “no open bottle” policy, the fake blondes and sorority sisters were grinding up on the misplaced individuals adorned in Roc-a-fella, G-Unit and Sean John, all the same.
Amidst the hooded bodies, illuminated by the showy green lights, I saw Yung Joc assume his presence on stage. The volume of the audience shot up to a pounding pulse. Above the cacophony of fake gun shots and baby cries people were yelling, “Which one’s Yung Joc?”
Suddenly, a small blonde girl behind me yelled, “I think it’s that white one.” Looking up, I realized that the “white one” she was referring to was a drunken frat brother, wearing a misleading Yung Joc t-shirt, shouting “ATLANTA.”
Since most concerts involve music, aside from fake gun cocking, I was expecting Yung Joc to start off with some obscure song from his album. Instead he decided to talk… and talk and talk and talk. And when he wasn’t talking, which he did for most the night, he was rapping the first 30 seconds of everyone else’s songs. By everyone else, I mean rappers like T.I. and Kanye West, Jay-Z and Soulja Boy — rappers that you would expect everyone to know. Although he maintained a radio-heavy mainstream set, some people remained clueless as to what was going on. In fact, a few girls were actually frustrated by the fact that they didn’t know the words to “Two-Step.” And they remained so until Yung Joc played the latest song off his new album. They started to sing along: “A, B, C, D, E, F, G. I’m a G. I’m a G.” Overjoyed by its utter simplicity, one screamed, “Oh my God I know this song.”
“Bitch, who doesn’t? You learned the alphabet when you were 4,” I thought to myself.
Continually cracking up, I watched the ridiculousness unfold on stage. Yung Joc was flirting with all the young ladies down below. Picking a rather dedicated groupie he inquired, “What’s your name?”
She responded, “Sarah Schwartz,” to which Yung Joc replied, “Let me give you my number.”
After announcing some number that I am sure wasn’t his, he decided to change it up, and address all of the men in the audience.
“Yo fellas, you know what’s gonna happen after I give her my number?”
Silence. The DJ, already anticipating this little dialogue, cued up, “I’ll be getting some head, get, gettin’ some head,” by Shawna.
That’s when the groupies started to get heated. Before I knew it fists were flying and they started arguing over who deserved to touch Yung Joc’s hand. I decided to return to my friends and the other non-VIPers.
At the very back, I was able to grasp a better sense of the crowd. Everyone was mostly talking amongst themselves and paying very little attention to Yung Joc. Somehow he must have sensed this, and thus the freebie circulation began.
As expected he began blaring into the mic, “You know I’m popular. I’ll give you an iPhone. Everyone knows me.”
T-shirts were then thrown, and the dead crowd was transformed into football field. People were getting tackled left and right. And as the last t-shirt left his hands everyone stood waiting, in silence, for the iPhones. Then way in the corner of the crowd, I heard someone yell, “You’re not a fucking celebrity!”
But before Yung Joc could respond, “We Bottle-poppin” was blaring from the speakers.
The night continued without much variation — aside from watching an old white cop dance and seeing a drunken girl piss herself. And as it all came to a close, Yung Joc started thanking the audience profusely claiming that he had “never been so well received.”
Then, upon making a grand exit with his one and only hit song “Meet me in the club,” he was bum rushed by all of the tricks, marks, mark-ass tricks, trick-ass marks, skanks, skig-scaggs, and scally whops.
The night was over.
In retrospect, I can’t stop pondering the same question: was this concert an example of privileged college students exploiting a stereotype for entertainment, or just good old-fashioned fun?
And yet in the middle of this very thought, I find myself wondering if I can even escape that same umbrella of generalization. Probably not — but at least I can differentiate between hip-hop and hype.
Sophia Ozenbaugh is a freshman cultre and communication major who’s so famous, she will give you an iPhone. For real. Email her at sozenba1[at]ithaca.edu.