Crocs tour arrives at Kent State

ALL Staff

Credit: DKS Editors

Cartel thinks new sound will appeal to students

Any high school band would call making it big a dream. The guys from Cartel call it life.

Five friends from Georgia, Will Pugh, Nic Hudson, Kevin Sanders, Joseph Pepper and Jeff Lett, have been living that life ever since they made it big in 2005 with their hit album “Chroma.”

Influence from bands such as Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, The Beatles and The Beach Boys provides Cartel with a background to be able to create its own sound, rather than a sound that is a carbon copy of every other pop/punk band.

According to Pugh, there are three different sounds to Cartel: one being more experimental stuff that wouldn’t necessarily be on the radio, another being their music that you have heard on the radio and the last being a mixture of both.

“When we’re blurring the lines [between the two sounds], I think that is what you would call the essence of Cartel,” Pugh said.

The band is always trying to reinvent its sound so its not stuck in the days of the power-pop album “Chroma.”

“I think it’s a constant progression being in a band,” he said. “You’re always looking to challenge yourself in different ways so that when you’re playing your songs, you’re not like ‘oh, this is the same shit we did last time.'”

As they make new music, they’re maturing not only as individuals but also as a band. This maturity comes through in the songs they write. Their new music is less pop and more of their own sound.

“The college crowd gets it a little more and doesn’t mind listening to the music,” Pugh said. “I think it lends itself a little bit more to an older crowd.”

They’re getting their chance to play exclusively for the college crowd on their current tour. The Crocs Next Step Tour is traveling to different college campuses around the country, one of which is Kent State.

These 20-something guys from Georgia have grown since their “Chroma” album. It’s a new, more mature sound nowadays.

So if you’re at the Cartel concert tonight, maybe you can get something more from the music you wouldn’t normally expect from these guys-just remember to listen.

Contact all correspondent Nicole Aikens at [email protected].

Yung Joc explains how he topped the charts

Yung Joc said he has considered himself a “G,” or a gangster, since he was 10 years old.

In his song “I’m a G” off his second album, Joc describes why he can be considered a genuine, what he calls, “the seventh letter of the alphabet.”

Joc, born Jasiel Robinson, began his journey to becoming a “genuine G” growing up in Georgia listening to Run DMC, Slick Rick, Outkast and other artists who inspired him to pursue a career in music.

“I go all across the board, and I’ve been in the business for a long time,” Joc said. “I have good relationships with promoters because of my experience, and my ambition has given me the ability to connect with people.”

Joc’s connections are what landed him a spot on the Crocs Next Step Campus Tour. The tour is meant to showcase artists everyone can enjoy, and Joc said he would consider himself an artist whose music covers fans of all genres.

“I can play from the hood to the stadium,” he said. “It all depends on the energy you get from the audience that makes the show what it is.”

Joc’s first single “It’s Goin’ Down” peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hip Hop chart and earned him a Grammy nomination for best rap song in 2007. His follow-up single, “I Know You See It,” was also successful, reaching #17 on the Billboard top 100 chart.

In addition to achieving fame as a solo artist, Joc has made appearances on songs with other musicians including Danity Kane’s “Show Stopper,” T-Pain’s “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’)” and David Banner and Chris Browns’ “Get Like Me.”

Joc said however, that unlike most in his profession, he has only changed for the better as a result of rising fame.

“You’re going to change in some ways,” he said. “I haven’t as a person, but I am more responsible and focused, and I am a better businessman.”

Joc is continuing his climb to the top of the music industry with his new record label, Swagg Team Entertainment. He also has an upcoming album, “Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood,” which is expected in stores this fall.

Joc, 24, said he has many aspirations for the future, and he doesn’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.

“I plan on continuing to do what I’ve been doing: making more music and having more fun,” he said.

Yung Joc’s picks for songs to download before the concert:

It’s Goin’ Down

I’m a G

Bottle Poppin’

Contact on-campus

entertainment reporter Melissa Dilley

at [email protected].

MC Lars hopes his music connects with KSU students

MC Lars’ unique style of rapping punk lyrics to the lone background music of his laptop is embodied in his first single, “Download This Song,” in which he satirizes record companies who don’t accept the changing music industry.

Lars, who considers himself a “Post-Punk Laptop Rapper,” describes his music as having punk energy. But like rap lyrics, he said his lyrics don’t conform to opinions generally accepted by society.

“I try to inspire people to do their own thing and to not try to conform because only then are you really creating art,” he said.

Lars began forming the unusual genre when he was in high school in Berkeley, Calif. He was in a few punk bands, and he said it was too difficult to get together for practices, so having a laptop for his music just seemed practical. Also, he said he was inspired by solo artist Atom and His Package. Atom defines “His Package” as a set of sequencers and synthesizers, which are used to create his music.

Those who see Lars for the first time live may be skeptical when he takes the stage with only his computer and a microphone, but he said that’s why playing for colleges on the Crocs Next Step Campus Tour is such a great experience.

“College crowds are great because they are more open-minded to my music,” he said.

Born Andrew Nielsen, Lars got his pseudonym from the 1995 movie “Heavy Weights,” which featured a character named Lars. The rapper, who was only in sixth grade at the time, said he thought it was the funniest name he’d ever heard, and it has been his nickname ever since.

Lars, 25, graduated from Stanford University in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Although he is constantly touring and promoting, Lars is putting his degree to good use by creating songs based on British and American Literature-“Mr. Raven,” “Ahab” and “Rapbeth” are just a few.

At Stanford, he was involved in many different forms of student media, including the university radio station and newspaper. However, Lars got his start in the music industry when he was a sophomore studying abroad at Oxford University. He believes his unique approach to music is what got him signed to Truck Records in London.

“By working with student media, I learned what it’s like to be completely humble and know what it’s like to beg for concert spots or advertising, and I think my music reflects that humbleness,” Lars said.

His humble personality also comes out in person. He frequently blogs on his MySpace page and gives his booking and contact information to fans.

Since signing with Truck Records in 2004, Lars has released numerous albums, formed his own record label, Horris Records, and created poem and comic books.

He just finished recording his latest album, “The Gigantic Robot Kills,” on which he got to work with one of his musical inspirations: “Weird Al” Yankovic. The album is set for a January 2009 release. Lars is also releasing a digital album, which is expected to be online in November.

Lars’ picks for songs to download before the concert:

Mr. Raven

Hot Topic is Not Punk Rock

Download This Song

All songs can be downloaded for free. More information can be found at

Contact on-campus entertainment reporter Melissa Dilley at [email protected].