© 2017 by Zach VanHorn

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Stories

Dababy - May 15th

     On May 15th, Jonathan Kirk, also known by his stage name “DaBaby”, pulled into Morgantown WV, during his “Baby on Baby” tour. The same day that the hip hop artist's most notable song, "Suge" was certified RIAA Gold. The song has since gone on to be certified RIAA Platinum, charting number one on iTunes, and number three on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The song came off his most recent album “Baby on Baby”, which features globally recognized artists including Rich Homie Quan, Rich the Kid, and Offset, of the super group Migos. With this much buzz surrounding the upcoming Charlotte, NC artist, we were ecstatic to be handling the event coverage.

     As I drove down Grant St into Morgantown that evening, Dababy songs could be heard playing out of every other college house I passed. Hours before the doors were set to open, I arrived at the venue to find the line was already stretched around the building, and down the block. I quickly made my way inside through security, to begin getting situated. As the veil of night fell over the city, it became evident that these early signs were not misleading. Around 9:00pm, the crowd had finally filed in, and the local openers began preforming. The mood was pure anticipation, as bartenders sprinted frantically to keep up with endless orders, and the steady roar of the audience grew with each consecutive act.  Glow sticks, beach balls and balloons were seemingly in constant orbit, but only visible during the brief pulses of light that sporadically jolted across the floor.    

     At last the Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment staff made their way onto the stage, to secure the area and setup equipment. By this point in the night, the crowd had become a single, untamable mass, moving in unison, like the waves crashing against a rocky shoreline. Finally Dababy’s DJ came out with the mic and pulled four lucky girls up to the stage for a dance battle, as the final preparations were made in the background. After dancing like their life depended on it, the ladies found their way back into the mob, the music faded off and the

lights slowly dimmed. With perfect timing, in a moment of serenity, the DJ played the first “Huh” of DaBaby’s “Suge”, and the crowd reacted as if a grenade had been tossed directly under their feet. Dababy emerged from the darkness at the back of the stage, as if ascending from the underworld. The unruly mob of fans had finally reached their boiling point. It was complete chaos. Having slowly wedged my way to the front row, I now realized it would be impossible to get a steady shot in the midst of this earthquake. I got what I could, knowing I wouldn’t be able to infiltrate these kinds of depths again, and proceeded out of the collision zone to regroup. From the back, I watched as over 300 cell phones rose out of the pit to captured the madness. Song after song, fans screamed every word, radiating an energy that rarely finds its way into small towns like Morgantown. As the show went on, I started to notice his ability to work the audience. The energy he put out was mirrored by the crowd, and he fed off it. The performance rolled into the early morning hours, by which point the majority of attendees had completely forgotten about the outside world. Dripping with sweat, he gave his final performance of “Suge”, before signing off. The night didn’t end there though, as the official after party was set to take place down the street at Blaze Night Club. Fans slowly filed out of the venue, and on to the next stop, still hungry for more. 

     We had a great time taking care of the event coverage for this show, and as expected, he delivered an absolutely electric performance. Be sure to check out our recap video which can be found on our YouTube and Instagram channels. 

S.N.O.W. Cup

Global Menace

     This past season, we put on our first annual SNOW Cup Tournament at Seven Springs Mountain Resort, in Pennsylvania. We selected 8 of Seven Spring's top riders to face off in a series of one on one match ups throughout the 18/19 season. Among those selected were Alex Miller, Will Alarcon, Pat Tolan, Garrett Marcinak, Dave Taylor, Nate Mauck, Justin Bellas, and Hammy Coffman. This group represented what I believe to be a half and half mixture of local legends, and riders on the come up, ready to make a name for themselves. After the first round pairings were set, we began filming in late December, with game one between Alex and Pat. It went fairly smooth and gave me a better idea of what to expect moving forward. One of the largest obstacles we faced while organizing this competition was scheduling conflicts. With Seven Springs being an east coast resort, the elements can often be a brutal road block. This was especially true for our first semifinal game, that took place in debatably the worst conditions of the season. The match between Nate Mauck and David Taylor, also featured our celebrity guest Tall T Dan. Nevertheless, we pushed on, to ensure the series would reach completion on time. Game six and the championship game were both scheduled for the Mashed Potato Meltdown, Seven Springs’ annual send off event. Due to a challenging year for snow fall, they didn’t have enough snow to turn the lift on. This definitely put a strain on the athlete’s, who now had to hike each feature they wanted to hit. Game 6, dragged on for a grueling four hours, under the intense spring sun. After a gritty back and forth battle between Pat and Garrett, Tolan emerged victorious, landing a Rodeo 360 with a Japan grab. Both the boys were left exhausted, but Pat still had a long day ahead of him. After a brief recovery period, we once again assembled at the base of the mountain. Game seven started off with a bang when David Taylor called a double back flip off of the jump. A crowd assembled in anticipation as he made his way to the top of the slope. Dropping in with speed, he approached the lip and threw his feet over his head twice, while gliding through the air.  When his skis met the snow again, he was looking up hill, as he had landed backwards. Though it was undoubtedly a legendary trick, our referee, Hammy, could not count it. In the end Dave was crowned the 2019 S.N.O.W Cup Champion and walked away with a $250 cash purse.

     It was great to see the following that this event generated, which blew my expectations away. Had a blast putting on this first tournament at Seven Springs, and hope to take it to a whole other level next year. Big thanks to all the riders, refs, additional filmers, and Seven Springs Terrain Parks for helping with this competition.You can find the videos on our website, our YouTube channel, or on Newschoolers.

     Throughout the past year and a half, I’ve had the opportunity to push my creative boundaries while working with the rap group Global Menace. Together we’ve produced three music videos and a visual snippet. The four songs were Nightmares, Baklava, Infamy, and Don Quixote, which all came from their 2017 self-titled, debut album "Global Menace". The fifteen track long EP is a mosaic of vibrations, from their ominous “Don Quixote” to their exuberant “Plates”. Personally, I prefer listening to the tracks in sequence, due to the intentional ordering by the artists. 

     For those of you who are not familiar with Global Menace, they are a rap duo originally from Wheeling, WV, composed of Thomas Okel, who goes by "Okel" and Nick Kenya aka "96 Sins". The group is bringing a new sound to the game, combining rap, trap, and electronic elements to create a vocal & bass driven,

in your face experience. Though both members rap, Okel is the lead vocalist, turning lyrics into brush strokes as he paints eerily vivid pictures in your mind that can linger for hours. 96 Sins is the producer of the duo, who’s talent bares a striking resemblance to that of a young Kanye West. Kenya is also quite the rapper, as heard on “Plates”, consistently laying down bars you catch yourself mumbling around the house. 

     This album is special to me, not only as a Hip-Hop enthusiast, but because I lived with Thomas throughout the duration of its creation. We had an extra room in the basement of our apartment, which he was able to turn into a studio. It was amazing to have that behind the scenes perspective, watching all the little parts come together to form the final work of art. Getting home from class everyday to hear the new development of a song, and being able to give feedback as everything came together was one of my favorite subtleties of that house. We had a blast making each video, honing our skills, trying to out do the previous. 

     Moving forward in 2019, we hope to work with the Global Menace family again, as well as some other local talent throughout the Pittsburgh area. You can find the videos on our website, and YouTube channel.