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Hip-Hop Congress releases album to boost school pride

By Jessica Sinn
University News Service
September 20, 2007


Cheerleaders and mascots are not the only school spirit icons at Texas State University-San Marcos.  No home game tailgate party would be complete without Hip-Hop Congress’s freestyle beats and lyrical flows--chock full of Bobcat Pride. 

Hip-Hop Congress, a university organization, recently released its first Texas State themed mix-tape “A Texas Statement.”  Julius Garcia, a freshman studying communication studies at Texas State, said this is the first time the university sponsored an album as a recruitment tool for Hip-Hop Congress.  

Garcia, an Austin native, said the 19-track album, available on music web site purevolume.com, is steadily attracting a worldwide fan-base. 

“An insane amount of people are downloading and listening,” Garcia said.  “We’re getting calls from people who are asking us to do shows in New York, and we have fans from all over the world, including Japan, Australia and France.” 

Garcia, Hip Hop Congress recruiting chair, manages the Web site’s downloading account.  He said “Holding it Down at Texas State” is the No. 1 most downloaded track. 

“If you go to Texas State, if you live around Texas State or if you know someone from Texas State, the song gives you pride,” Garcia said. 

Hip-Hop Congress recently hosted a “Texas Statement” release party Sept. 16 at Lucy’s in San Marcos.  Garcia said the deejay’s intricate mixture of electric drums and base generated an energetic response from the audience.    

“DJ Phil Da Funk, really knows what he’s doing,” Garcia said.  “He plays what the crowd wants to hear and adds his own style and flare to the music.” 

With upbeat lyrics like “The rising star of Texas, that’s who we are,” and “You may be a student once, but you’re a Bobcat for life,” the compilation is geared toward promoting Texas State and academic success.

“The album is completely clean,” Garcia said.  “There are no harsh lyrics, no innuendos, there’s nothing on the album that could offend anyone.  It’s acceptable for all ages and it sends a positive message for everyone.”  

Garcia said he focuses on changing materialistic Hip-Hop lyrics back to an outlet of genuine expression.  He said he scripted his song “Bounce Back,” with positive, heartfelt lyrics. 

“’Bounce Back’ is about getting knocked down when life is hard, but you bounce back up and keep fighting,” Garcia said.  “It’s just a positive message, and the more you listen to a song, the more you hear the positive message. It’s not just about the beat, snare and the drums; it’s about the content and the message.”   

Garcia said Hip-Hop Congress works toward diminishing negative stereotypes that seem to stigmatize the rap and hip-hop genre. He said Hip-Hop Congress uses its innovative sounds to promote education, and to improve the community through projects like Bobcat Build and special fundraisers.  

“We’re kind of like an ‘edutainment’ DARE program,” Garcia said.  “We’re not just entertainers, we’re educators.” 

Sherri Benn, Texas State’s assistant vice president for Student Affairs and the director of Multicultural Student Affairs, said Hip-Hop Congress strives to help people understand the deeper, more complex culture of hip-hop. 

“I wouldn’t say that we are trying to ‘vanquish the gangster stereotype’ because we simply see ‘gangsta’ rap as one sub-culture or genre within the larger hip-hop culture,” Benn said.  “’Gangsta’ rap is not the defining representation of hip hop, though it’s often mistaken for being so.”

Benn, who is the chapter advisor, said Hip-Hop Congress’s goal is to positively impact the university, as well as its surrounding communities. 

“The feedback we’ve received from those who have heard various tracks from the mix-tape, from high school and Texas State students, has been outstanding,” Benn said.  “That’s exciting to us.” 

Benn said the compilation enables the university to showcase creative talents of its students through a medium that speaks the language of this generation.  With the mix-tape, she said Hip-Hop Congress can engage students, alumni and parents in a positive and culturally relevant way.

“Since the mission of the Texas State chapter of Hip-Hop Congress is to unite cultures through the art of hip-hop by encouraging creativity, expression and social activism, our goal with the mix-tape is to use one element of hip-hop culture to promote Texas State, help facilitate school spirit and pride in our institution, as well as give something back to our communities--both on and off campus,” Benn said.  

To download the mix-tape, visit www.purevolume.com/hiphopcongress.

For more information about Hip-Hop Congress, call the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at (512) 245-2278 or visit www.msa.txstate.edu