Night has fallen over the Ohio State campus and a student is looking through YouTube on a classroom computer that professors use during the day.
The student finds a hip-hop beat to play on the classroom’s speaker system and a whole new lesson has begun.
The OSU Freestyle Rap and BeatBox Club has been around since the fall of 2010.
It is a learning environment where new members are always welcome.
“We have people who come in here who are just strictly beginners,” said Chris Love, a fourth-year in communication and general member of the club. “Sometimes they can’t even put words together, and you have people who come and they just spectate, they come to another meeting and they might start trying to freestyle.”
Members of the club have played shows at the Scarlet and Grey Cafe and Skully’s Music Diner, said Adam Bryant, club president and fourth-year in communication.
“Everyone’s been growing, every time we perform it’s a better show than the time before,” Bryant said.
Bryant said that he first started rapping when he was in eighth grade. Rappers who influenced him include Chance the Rapper and Nas.
A variety of rap influences and backgrounds come together when club members meet.
“Who I draw my inspiration from is J. Cole, and you could tell. He’s a rapper who speaks on a lot of poverty and where he came from,” Love said.
He said that he plans on pursuing a career in rap music after graduating, and the club is meaningful practice for him.
“This kinda helps me keep my sight on my goal,” Love said “You can lose sight of that goal.”
Members of the club said they want to contribute more to Columbus’ own rap scene.
“I feel like Columbus’ hip-hop scene is kinda lame, it lacks flavor, it lacks originality,” Love said. “We all sound completely different, and we can all be that variety that Columbus needs.”
He said that group members keep in mind where they have been and where they are now.
“We bring a little bit from our hometowns and stuff, so we contribute to this but we also represent Columbus,” Bryant said.
Bryant is from Canton while Love is from Cleveland.
Love said that the members of the club want to be sure to stay true to the original elements of hip-hop culture while also pushing it forward.
“To our core we are all hip-hop heads,” said Ryan Hauldren, a third-year in industrial systems engineering. “These are some of my first friends that I’ve made (at OSU).”
Along with friendship, the club provides a helpful outlet for members.
“I come here, I release everything, I talk about problems that I might be having during the week, but at the same time this is fun to me,” Love said. “I don’t have to go and party, as long as I come here I’m good.”