The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign School of Music celebrates its evolution with a new tradition and an infectious hip-hop sound, successfully bridging the cultural divide while showing people how to have a good time. The Marching Illini’s Low Brass Cheer is a blues riff that has been played during Illini Football games for decades. Professor Lamont Holden took the instrumentation and added some Drumline-like snares, following the Atlantic sequencing formula to create the Illini Anthem.
Illinois alumni, Jarrel Young and Professor Holden, also known as TheLetterLBeats, linked up to make a sensational anthem and music video that is inspiring a movement. The song’s message was originally for the university’s sports teams, but its impact has transcended the university’s confines, evoking positive energy that bleeds into surrounding neighborhoods. The University of Illinois has become the desired location for education and self-discovery, producing graduates that make notable contributions to society.
“Other kids from the C-U community who look like me can see from their own eyes that you can be anything you wanna be. The Illini Anthem just broke an old cycle and created a new one all at once. My take on the Illini Anthem reminds me of a “New Wave. It was an honor to be a part of history. Being the first rap/hip-hop fight song to represent a Big 10 University is monumental. Being from Champaign, this anthem hits home for me”, states Jarrel Young.
Directed by Chad “Boots” Howard, the music video perfectly demonstrates how higher education is embracing people of color. It also illustrates the sincere commitment the University of Illinois School of Music has made to recruiting more diverse musicians and meeting their needs. Under Professor Lamont Holden’s direction, the music program has offered new courses in songwriting, music business, beat making and podcasting. The program has also added Computer Science + Music and Music Technology degrees and is on the precipice of more course offerings that speak to forging a career in the commercial music industry.
In anticipation of the anthem’s release later this month, Clinical Assistant Professor of Audio & Recording Technologies Lamont Holden said, “The anthem speaks to the music programs’ efforts to create an ecosystem of musical success.”
When Professor Holden returned to the Urbana-Champaign area in 2012, he had a vision. After working with Chicago artist Young General who wrote an anthem dedicated to the White Sox, he knew if he could create the right beat and find the right artist, he could craft an anthem for a concentrated audience in another part of the state: Illini nation.
Check out the Illinois homepage with more info on this video release and Hip Hop at Illinois!
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