WYBC to host rap showcase

The basement of the WYBC will host performances by local rap group RCM, rapper Jake Backer ’14 and rapper Yaakov — Jacob Sandry ’15 (right).
The basement of the WYBC will host performances by local rap group RCM, rapper Jake Backer ’14 and rapper Yaakov — Jacob Sandry ’15 (right). Photo by Kelsey Brumm.

This Friday, Yale and New Haven will find common ground in an unexpected space: the basement of 216 Dwight St.

The WYBC, or Yale Radio, house will host a release show for Yale rapper Yaakov’s — Jacob Sandry ’15 — “Einsteinium” EP and music video for his song “The Emergence.” The event will also feature performances by local rap group RCM and student rapper Jake Backer ’14.

The video for “The Emergence,” filmed by Ryan Kline ’15, features dancers from local New Haven high schools the team found through the Future Project, a Yale graduate-founded educational initiative.

Colin Groundwater ’15, current director of records of WYBC said he is particularly proud of 216 Dwight as a place where the Yale and New Haven communities are able to come together. He added that his predecessor Nathan Campbell ’14 had really led the effort to discover New Haven bands and bring them to play at 216 to introduce Yale students to a wider music scene.

“Music doesn’t have boundaries,” Groundwater said. “I think there’s the Yale bubble, and it’s not always easy to appreciate the stuff outside it. But there’s great musicians outside of Yale.”

Sandry said “Einsteinium” is an experimental album that spans a number of styles. In addition to more traditional hip-hop songs, the album includes a track with a jazzy beat that discusses philosophy, as well as a pop-influenced song featuring vocals by Duke’s Men of Yale singer Jamie Bogyo ’15.

Backer, who will also be performing at 216 on Friday, said Yale rappers are a small but diverse community, representing everything from more old-school to electronic-style rap. Backer said Yale students tend to put more of their attention into theater or a capella than alternative music, as opposed to schools like Wesleyan University where alternative music has a much larger presence.

The album also features an entirely spoken-word track, recorded live at a show by Yale’s poetry slam team Teeth Poets, of which Sandry is also a member.

“To me, spoken word and rap are branches off the same tree,” Sandry said, adding that on the East Coast, the two overlap to a smaller extent than elsewhere.

Sandry said he wanted to bring the New Haven-based rap group RCM to the showcase after hearing about their performance at 216 last semester. He said he thinks simply connecting with people outside the Yale bubble can help bridge social problems, adding that the Yale-New Haven relationship is a microcosm of social stratification in the United States. Music provides the opportunity for that kind of connection, he said.

“Volunteering puts you in a weird place, like you’re coming down to New Haven to help them out,” Sandry said. “Here you’re just hanging out, communicating over something you most enjoy.”

Sandry said he has also formed a relationship with New Haven local Dre Buchanan of the Ivy League LLC multi-media arts studio, though the two have yet to collaborate on any specific projects.

The WYBC Studios are located at 142 Temple Street.

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