By Brooke Hill | News Editor
After Dark will be getting spicy this year with a performance from Milpitas, Calif., junior Isaiah Scott, Sinking Spring, Penn., junior Steven Kuipers and Allen junior Jeremiah Robinson, also known as the Spicy Boiz.
The group was founded by a member who will be absent for this weekend’s performances —Sycamore, Ill., junior Chris Rogers.
Rogers created a SoundCloud account in fall of 2016 and soon asked Robinson to collaborate with him on a track. Shortly after, they invited Scott to get in on the action. Robinson and Kuipers took a Community Leader class together where Robinson showed Kuipers the most recent track they had produced, and Kuipers soon joined the group.
“I’ve been listening to rap my whole life, and I’ve never thought of myself good enough to rap, and he shows me this, and I’m listening to this music, and they’re just having fun, and I’m like, ‘Wow, I wonder if I could do that someday,’ and I just kind of kept that in mind,” Kuipers said.
Kuipers said he was driving one day while listening to a song that used the phrase “ballin’ on a budget,” and he was immediately struck with inspiration. The group got together and used the audio recording booths in Moody Memorial Library to record the song.
“We were really surprised by how people liked it, and it was really, really fun, and since then we’ve just been trying to get time in the studio and just make fun songs,” Kuipers said. “From that point on, the Spicy Boiz kind of became a way to make really fun, really relatable music. ‘Ballin’ on a Budget‘ was really fun and really spontaneous, and that’s something we wanted to continue as our brand in a way: just rap that’s fun and relatable.”
After Dark is an university-wide variety show held annually during Family Weekend. It features top student talent including solo performances, dance, stand-up comedy, musical theater and more.
Scott works in the Department of Student Activities and has heard buzz about After Dark. After auditioning to perform, the group successfully earned a slot in the event line-up. This weekend will be its first time performing as a group in front a live audience. They will be debuting a new, unreleased song called “Food” this weekend, which is a remix of a song originally written and recorded by Scott. He said the song is about what it’s like to not have food ready when students live off campus for the first time and have to cook. To prepare for the performance, Kuipers said they recorded the song and came up with a skit to lead into it.
“We vision cast,” Kuipers explained. “We’ll hear a song idea, and before even writing about it, we decide where do we want to take this song. What’s gonna be funny about it? What’s gonna be different about it or what’s gonna be relatable about it? Once that vision is installed within the four of us, we’ll break down parts of the song for each of us to write.”
Scott said one of the most important parts of forming a vision for songs is ensuring it will be relatable to fellow students
“We try to write relatable content,” Scott said. “A lot of rap today is sometimes kind of a product of people’s imagination, but sometimes it’s hard to connect that to a daily routine. But I think with us being a comedic rap group and having the unique perspective of college students, it’s a great opportunity to be relatable with our audience. When we can perform live onstage, and they can actually see us and see how we like to have fun and just kind of have a good time, I think that’s going to really connect with them.”
Each member writes and records their own part of the song, and the group collaborates for the intro and chorus.
“We’re not really competitive,” Kuipers said. “We’re not here to win the rap game. We’re here to bring people together.”
The group is always open to inviting friends in to join in on new songs.
“It’s been a very cool space of both allowing each other to express our own personality through a song, but also a lot of teamwork and collaboration and features of other artists who we just happen to run into and have a cool idea for,” Scott said.
Scott said although it can be challenging to balance producing with everything else going on in student life, the group tries to be intentional with its music and has produced at least one song each semester since its formation.
“Our goal is to release a ‘Ballin’ on a Budget’ album by the time we graduate, and maybe have like eight tracks on it,” Kuipers said. “The idea is we would want to feed that into a final stand-alone performance at Common Grounds. I would hope we could book it for like a Friday and just get up there and rap seven songs for fun.”
Scott said the main goal for the future is to continue to grow and push themselves as artists.
“We do hope to obviously expand and grow, as we have this semester by participating in After Dark and obviously opening ourselves up to the world of onstage performance,” Scott said.
After Dark provides the unique opportunity of performing to a different audience than the group usually caters to.
“I’m excited just to see the audience’s reaction,” Scott said. “This could be a different type of audience than the type we normally write and record for, which is obviously college students. But in After Dark, you have a lot of younger incoming freshmen who have been here for a few months, as well as their families. So I’m excited to see how this comedic hip hop rap goes over with the older generation as well as the current generation of college students.”
Robinson said he’s excited to showcase his talent in front of an audience that’s excited to watch him perform.
“I just love the thrill of getting to do stuff like perform in front of an audience,” Robinson said. “I think it’s the coolest thing ever when people are like, ‘Oh hey, you like to do this and I like to watch you do this’. So just being able to come out in front of people and be like, ‘I like to do something, you guys are going to watch me do it, hopefully you guys will like it as well.’ That’s always been fun for me.”
Robison added that the best part about making music with the group is the friendship that has flourished between the men, and noted that he thrives off of the energy of his group members.
“It’s just great to have someone when it comes to writing songs — people who are willing to work with you, be willing to look at your ideas, … to be able to have people who were also your friends beforehand,” Robinson said.
After Dark performances this weekend begin at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Waco Hall. Student Productions will also be hosting an art exposition in the Waco Hall lobby during the After Dark performances.