Vinny Pujji is a freshman in the Huntsman Program who moonlights as a booty–centric rapper. Despite his youth, he’s already made a name for himself in his hometown of San Diego and he has his sights set on the Eastern shores. Don’t let his vulgarity bother you; somehwere beneath the moans lies a highly ambitious rapper. Read below to see how he’s taking advantage of Penn’s prestigious “Booty Scholarship.” Visit reverbnation.com/vspcsquared
Street: We saw your album on iTunes. How did you get recognized? Vinny S. Pujji: I had always just rapped for fun and made songs here and there. But from freshman year of high school onwards, my Myspace account would get more and more hits. “V.S.P.” was requested at school assemblies, and I would be freestyling at every party. After senior year, Hunter “C Squared” Higgins and I wanted to do something more legit, so we locked ourselves in a room with some decent equipment and made a pretty nasty album.
Street: If your music were an animal, what animal would it be and why? VSP: Considering humans are animals too, my music would be a big–tittied woman — probably Latina. If you don’t get the reference, watch Head of State with Chris Rock; it’s hilarious.
Street: Did you reference your musical output on your college application? VSP: I actually wrote my Common App essay about rapping, but I decided to not submit an art supplement. Although I just found out a few weeks ago that the admissions committee heard all my songs online anyways and I’m pretty surprised they let me in. I guess they just let in every ED loony; oh well.
Street: What’s next? VSP: I’ve actually been recording over every break. When I have some time, I’m going to be marketing some of my nastier tracks to strip clubs. A lot of rappers actually got their start in Atlanta strip clubs, so why not me?
Wild Vibes is led by Brett Copell, a 22–year–old Penn 2010er. A member of student–run record label Deerhaus, the band has made their mark on the local community. Copell is also credited as one of the creators of Trippingfranklins.com, Penn’s first music blog. They are described on the Deerhaus website as “a brilliant mixture of pop and longing” that emerged “from an ambient–fueled haze." Visit deerhaus.com/wildvibes
Street: Do you play all the instruments? What’s the extent of your musical background?
Brett Copell: The EP was just me (instruments + vocals), but now I have a full band including Javi Battle and Ben Flesch (both Penn grads). We all live in New York now and work from there. I’ve been making music my whole life in other bands, as well as DJing and producing. I was [also] a music minor at Penn.
Street: If your music were an animal, what animal would it be and why? BC: Our music would be a white stallion, because that’s a beautiful animal.
Street: Do you think Penn is a good place to be a student musician? BC: There’s lots of great Penn music acts. Big ups to Hoodie Allen and Golden Ages.
Street: What’s next? BC: Right now I’m recording new songs, getting the band together and playing some shows in New York in March.
Etan Fraser is a 22–year–old senior majoring in PPE, but he's better known as ETAN, rapper and writer of club–friendly single “Go Time,” which is garnering him some national attention. His debut, The Beginning, came out in 2007, and though he’s unsure when he’ll record a follow–up, ETAN seems primed to blow up. Visit etanmusic.com
Street: We saw your album on iTunes and we heard you're getting some play on MTV and BET. How did you get recognized? Etan Fraser: A major hip–hop media promotion agency took interest in my single and music video, "Go Time," that I released in mid January. [I] met the national account director of [this agency] at the BET Hip-Hop Awards back in 2010 [and he] gave me an audience when I was ready to show him what I was made of. Luckily, the guy was ecstatic about the product when he [saw] it.
In terms of BET and MTV, we are looking at having the "Go Time" video running on there by mid March. Currently, the video is being distributed to 76 National Television stations across the U.S. Once it picks up momentum in those regional mediums as well as online, we can expect these major placements with the likes of BET and MTV direct through Viacom.
Street: What comes first, the beats or the lyrics? EF: Lyrics. Without a doubt. While "Go Time" is (sort of) a more mainstream club track, the purpose of it is to gain the attention of media outlets. Once we have their attention, they’re going to see the 360–degree artist that is "ETAN" and realize that I have much more to offer than a bangin' beat and party lyrics. As will be evidenced by the next four singles I release, I seek to demonstrate my diversity as an artist as soon as possible.
Street: When did you start? EF: I started making music when I was 12. My father, COSMO, is a world–class reggae singer from Jamaica. Having grown up in the music scene (backstage with the Wailers on tour, selling CDs in the audience, etc.), it was only natural that I played my hand at it at a very early age. By the time I was 15, I was featured on my first major record, "We Were Younger Then" by COSMO (check it out on iTunes — the whole album, Alone Tonight, is timeless) and the rest is history…
Street: Do you think Penn is a good place to be a student musician? EF: Yes and no. Yes, because Penn is full of creative minds, which provides for both the audience and collaborative environment to make things happen (on the music and business side). However, no, in that there is (literally) no venue for Penn artists to perform. SPEC seems to focus both primarily on bringing in major/semi–major artists to perform (which, quite honestly, I can't blame them for, as an organization with a tremendous budget at their disposal), but in my opinion, it does not do a very good job of tapping into local talent right here on Penn's campus. Frustrated with this, I nearly created a club, Penn Independent Music Artists (Penn IMA) to do just that, which would have harvested the musical talent on Penn's campus and utilized Penn's facilities to put on monthly showcases. However, [since] things started to take off with my music and I decided to put all my energy into it, I simply haven't had the time to get this initiative off the ground. Oh, and this campus also needs top of the line recording studios. Drexel has them. Why don't we?