Rap on the Rise


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What do baseball and hip-hop have in common? Rap artist Mike Stud.

The rap artist started his career as a "joke" to pass time after an injury sidelined him from pitching at Duke University. Then known as Michael Seander Jr., he started to dabble with music-production programs and ended up creating a hit single.

Stud will perform "College Humor," the song that catapulted him into the rap industry, at 7 p.m. Friday at Blue Moose, 211 Iowa Ave. Admission is $13 to $15.

The song "College Humor" was first recorded on GarageBand, and Stud did not take it seriously. When he shot the music video, the song gained attention from the local music scene, and the response was unexpected.

"That song just caught fire," Stud said. "We shot the music video as a joke, but it ended up snowballing."

Although his music is clearly hip-hop, Stud does not like to read too much into that label. As a genre, hip-hop is very young and will continue to evolve. There are many different variations of rap music, but Stud wants to create his own.

"It's hard to put a finger on what [my music] is," Stud said. "It's a wide range, and I'm just trying to be versatile, and people are starting to pay attention to the originality."

This will be Stud's third performance at the Blue Moose, and he likes what it offers. He said he appreciates the party atmosphere that comes with playing in college towns.

"College kids are definitely the demographic that are my listeners," he said. "Just being around the bars and being able to dive into the nightlife after the show is fun."

This weekend, Stud will become part of the local hip-hop scene that is quietly on the rise. Local artist Shame believes that the talent level of the rappers in Iowa City has never been higher.

"Iowa City has a lot of hip-hop on the low," Shame said. "If you walk downtown, half the people who chill out there can really rap."

Although the local hip-hop scene is improving, it is still not top tier in Iowa as a whole. Jam Jaw, part of the local rap duo Fast Break, knows there is room for rap music to grow in Iowa.

"Sometimes I am a little jealous of what other genres have going on [in Iowa City]," Jam Jaw said.
However, artists who come to Iowa City such as Stud definitely help the cause.

"Bringing in top-tier talent to Blue Moose and Union helps and will, hopefully, win over more fans," Jam Jaw said.

Not many hip-hop artists make it out of their hometowns if they live in states without a major hip-hop market, but local artists look to generate buzz by opening up for these big names.

Stud seems to think that hip-hop as a whole is right where it needs to be.

"People are looking too much into what hip-hop is," Stud said. "It is just a genre, and at the end of the day, I think hip-hop is great."

Mike Stud
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Blue Moose, 211 Iowa
Admission: $13 to $15

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