Sophomores Ben Center (COL ’14) and Brian Moran (COL ’14) grew up idolizing Jay-Z, Kanye West and Eminem. This semester, they’re bringing their favorite music to campus with one of Georgetown’s newest clubs, the Georgetown University Hip-Hop Association. Center and Moran, now president and vice president of the club, first thought of founding such a group last spring.
“Brian and I were talking and figured that hip-hop is something that’s growing on college campuses,” Center said. “We wanted to see what we could get out of it.”
“Hip-hop is expanding to a much larger audience. … College campuses are a huge bed for that kind of interest, where a lot of people listen to it and engage in it as a hobby,” Moran said. “The group is an attempt to bring those kinds of people, who want to take it to another level, together.”
The Association’s main priority is to foster collaboration between Georgetown students in order to create, produce and distribute original hip-hop music. The group also aspires to bring artists to Georgetown to perform and speak about their experiences. Moran and Center also hope to create an outreach program to talk to students in the District about lyricism and poetry.
The group’s membership, which currently consists of about 20 students, isn’t just made up of a bunch of wannabes.
“We have people who write lyrics, people who make actual music. We have people who are interested in management, promotions or videography,” Center said.
Most of the members are male, but Center and Moran are hoping that will change.
“That’s the whole point of this, we’re accepting everyone and anyone,” Moran said. “If you’ve got the talent, and you’ve got the drive, and you’ve got the motivation and passion, it doesn’t matter.”
The young group has already found success. At the start of the semester, they performed during a Welcome Week tailgate. Their performance generated enough interest that the group was subsequently contacted to perform at Friday’s Midnight Madness tailgate.
“Hopefully, this will launch us into the spotlight,” Center said.
Center and Moran believe their group will help spread hip-hop to a new audience.
“There are so many people who don’t listen to rap and think that all [rappers] talk about is big chains and cars,” Center said. “But there are so many artists that are totally undiscovered. The messages these artists send out are real.”
“Lots of people don’t like hip hop music because they think it’s all about violence and the degradation of women, but it’s evolved. That’s not where it’s at today, and there are lots of people who don’t talk about that stuff but suffer from that image,” Moran said.
The association’s founders envision great longevity for their brainchild. A long-term goal is to record a song that becomes a staple at Georgetown basketball games, which they hope would catapult the club to lasting fame.
“We’d be legends,” Center said.
“If I could go to a basketball game at Georgetown in 10 years, and I hear that song that I made on Lau 1 on a Saturday night, that would be pretty cool,” Moran said.