By Ana Prieto on Jun 12, 2011
What happens when the passion for hip hop melds with the yearning of students for good music? Answer: “Lloyal” and B.I.C. Live at Hunter.
Starting with a pre-game radio show featuring the two artists at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 14, WHCS Hunter College Radio began what would later become a refreshing performance for the hip hop aficionados at Hunter.
Melina Rodriguez, 21, of the Bronx and Jared Greenfield, 22, of Riverdale in the Bronx, said they had been brainstorming this show for a while. The station had one show per week of a punk/rock nature, but they wanted to make a change. Their aim was to produce a show that would draw in a larger audience to the radio station, specifically one targeting the hip hop community. “I feel the general population of Hunter is one that listens to hip hop,” said Rodriguez, an English major. “I saw B.I.C. a month or so ago at an art gallery opening and fell in love.”
“Lloyal came into the mix for me after seeing a twitter exchange between some of the boys of B.I.C. and Lloyal. The boys have talent and I kind of wanted to show that off to more people,” he also said. And so Thomas Hunter 101, the usual location where the radio show has been hosted, became the platform for two talented artists to give Hunter a hip hop taste that had been lacking.
Lloyd Sykes, 21, of Spanish Harlem, was the opening act for the show. Like a true hype man and entertainer, Lloyal got the visitors moving, bobbing their heads to the music and feeling the vibes from his lyrics. “There’s that feeling you get creating and recording the music, that feeling when you hear the final product, then that crazy feeling when you perform it live and see how others react to it. I didn’t even know half of the people familiar with my music went to Hunter until I saw them at the show honestly. But apparently there’s a couple Lloyal fans at Hunter,” he said.
Some complications arose in the beginning because of College regulations regarding campus security. The team, however, believed it managed as well as kept its composure for the sake of the audience. “In my opinion, the show was a little unorganized,” Lloyd said. “When guests started showing up, nobody really stepped up to host the event and welcome the people or have someone playing music to keep them entertained. Given the conditions, I think that B.I.C. and myself did as good of a job as we could keeping the people who came out entertained.”
A fellow artist, Taylor “Lansky” Jones, 23, of Queens, a media studies major, said about lloyal’s performance: “Some songs weren’t performance friendly and he desperately needed to abbreviate a few of them but his energy was great and charisma kept the audience into it. I would go to another show if the station had one, why not?”
The latest security turnstile system requires Hunterites to swipe their ID cards to enter campus. Arrangements have to be made for visitors and guests. “We had a good turn out and possibly would have had more people in the room if security would have let them in. The swipe system makes it difficult for large crowds to come in,” said Melina.
C and Y, one-fifth of B.I.C, said, “I was a little upset that some of our heads couldn’t get in due to Hunter security, but it’s all good.” The group did not let that situation interfere with its performance, later rocking Thomas Hunter with life-inspired lyrics. B.I.C. members include Bronx residents Jonathan “C and Y” Candelaria, 21, a multimedia journalism major at Lehman College, Ilya “Ills Spills” Varentsov, 21, and Israel “Preeminent” Ramos, 20; Elvis “Bars” Villeta, 22, and Jose “Seword” Henriquez, 21, live in Yonkers.
“The music we make is real life music,” said Candelaria. “It portrays life in the most honest aspect we can give. So throughout our daily lives, we are influenced to write or create based on what’s happening. We get inspired from various different types of rap and hip hop, R & B, Neo-soul, Soul, Jazz, Blues, Reggae and even pop at times. You can take bits and pieces of everything you love in music and learn from it and add it to the arsenal. I believe that’s what makes artists versatile, being able to adapt to different styles and incorporate different sounds.”
Verisimilitude makes hip hop rich as well as makes artists like B.I.C. and Lloyal alluring to an audience. Struggling in a venue where nothing is guaranteed, both artists remain strong in their hopes of one day achieving success. They said they wouldn’t allow any insecurities overpower their dreams. The words of Lloyd “Lloyal” Sykes say it all: “I’ve experienced what it’s like to be starving and reach points where you want to quit and just get stuck in the system. Then there’s other times where you get treated like a king and people make you feel like all that hard work is truly worth it. But I love the grind, the hustle. It’s what I live for.”
Editor’s Note: A New York Times Op Ed about the importance of college radio: The Day the Music Died.
Ana Prieto can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org