Laurier shows its true colours
In recent months, universities and high schools across North America – including three students from Wilfrid Laurier University – flooded YouTube with their own remixes of Wiz Khalifa’s song “Black and Yellow” as a means of demonstrating school spirit.
“It’s the perfect song to build off of and represent wherever you’re from,” said Brandon “Clutch” Greenwood, a fourth-year communications student and one of the artists involved in the Laurier rap remix.
Greenwood, along with fourth-year students Adel “Jazi” Hijazi and Michael “Mic Tee” Tjahjadi, released a music video on Jan. 29 titled “Gold and Purple.”
Since its release, the video— which shows WLU students chanting, partying and wearing school merchandise — has gained over 34,000 views.
“We wanted to kind of represent all aspects of Laurier life, like we were trying to make something different,” Hijazi explained. “We wanted to get something that represents our school, as well as just to entertain.”
Originally, this Internet phenomenon emerged in the United States, where numerous high schools remixed the song to boost support for their football teams. However, first to release a video among Ontario universities was the University of Western Ontario in November.
Kevin Crowley, director of communications and public affairs at WLU, commented on Laurier following the trend of the video, “It looks like Queen’s and Western and [the University of Waterloo] (UW) and a variety of students from other schools have produced similar videos with similar music.”
Many of these videos, especially ones from Ontario, not only boast their school spirit, but also take it further to openly denounce neighbouring universities and heighten school rivalries.
“Our number one [priority] was promoting Laurier before dissing everybody else. A lot of other tracks wanted to diss first and then kind of promote their school on the side,” continued Hijazi.
Greenwood stressed the fact that this is a friendly competition between the schools and there is a mutual respect among all the artists.
“In terms of the whole rivalry thing, the audience was taking this to a whole new level,” commented Tjahjadi. “We’re the rappers, we’re the artists, we’ll make the music – let the critics talk.”
Much of the criticism for Laurier’s video, however, has come from comments on social media and blogs.
Hijazi actually embraces such criticism, “Personally, I like it when people criticize to the point it lets you feed off of it.”
Laurier VP of student affairs David McMurray, who was actually referenced in one of the verses, made his own comments about the video, especially regarding the use of alcohol, “There’s a big influence on alcohol, which to me is kind of old. It has been around before.”
“Some people would get the opinion that it was not in particularly good taste because of the over-emphasis on alcohol. Not every student wants to drink,” added McMurray.
That sentiment was also echoed by the university’s public affairs department.
“There’s some really creative aspects and fun elements to this video,” said Crowley. “It’s unfortunate that some parts of it link binge drinking and coarse language to Laurier because that’s not what Laurier is all about and it’s certainly not something the university would encourage.”
In relation to Laurier school spirit, the trio believes that Laurier students are loyal to their institution and that their video expresses that. “People are proud of being a Laurier Golden Hawk, and they’re proud to show it. So we’re just giving people something to chant, something to sing along to.” Hijazi added.
“It’s a good landmark to show where Laurier is at its hundred years right now, you know, maybe a hundred years from now they’ll have to make a new video, maybe they’ll be on the moon rapping,” Greenwood joked.
The three will embark on a series of shows in March in the Waterloo area, including one at the Turret as well as one at Wilf’s.
McMurray also believes that WLU ranks high on school spirit, saying, “I think Laurier taking a part in anything that displays great spirit and loyalty in good taste is great. I’d encourage it. And in good taste, right?”