VCU junior David Roberts, aka De Raw, the songwriter behind "Black and Gold"
UPDATE: Here's a link to Amazing Ghost's brand new (like, as of 11 hours ago) VCU jam, " Virginia Is for Champions. "
It shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with Virginia Commonwealth University that the Rams' basketball success is inspiring artists.
VCU junior David Roberts, aka De Raw , started with a popular song by Wiz Khalifa, "Black and Yellow" (written for the rapper's beloved Pittsburgh Steelers), wrote new lyrics and recorded the song as "Black and Gold" in Roberts' home studio in Midlothian.
"I'd been planning on writing a song about VCU," Roberts says, and with the Rams taking the NCAA tournament by storm, "I knew I needed to do it." Inspiration arrived during his heat-transfer class; Roberts is a mechanical and nuclear engineering major. So he started jotting down lyrics last Tuesday, recording the song that night with Khalifa's beats, and then re-recording it with his own percussion. It was out by Wednesday, and "Black and Gold" has taken off like wildfire, being played on local Clear Channel radio stations and at the Siegel Center during breaks in Sunday's game against Kansas University, which VCU won, placing them in the Final Four. Roberts even got a call from ESPN, but he's not sure if they're going to play the track.
The other big basketball song is "J-O-E-Y R-O-D-R-I-G-U-E-Z" by Amazing Ghost , a Richmond hip-hop group whose members (save the drummer) all went to VCU. As you may have guessed, it's an ode to the Rams' senior point guard, who is the heart of the team. Singer, bassist and composer Eddie Prendergast wrote it in the middle of last season, and it achieved popularity among the band's friends. Now the song is making a comeback and has received airplay on WRIR-LP 97.3 FM. It's also been making the rounds on Twitter and Facebook.
The songs' popularity has prompted some plans for both Amazing Ghost and De Raw. Prendergast, who's laying down tracks in Miami this week, has written a new song about VCU called "Virginia Is for Champions," which may be recorded as soon as tonight, and the band has tentative plans to play a party Saturday night at Ipanema after the 6 p.m. game against Butler University.
Roberts is playing a pep rally Thursday night at Off the Hookah, an event sponsored by Q94, and he's encouraged by the bump to his music career. He started by learning classical piano as a second-grader and progressed to jazz, hip-hop and folk in the Iron & Wine vein. He says he's written between 300 and 500 songs. "Music has always been my passion."
Prendergast was surprised and a bit worried about the Joey song getting popular, because like many sports fans, he's superstitious. "Damn, it's about to jinx VCU," he remembers thinking. "But I don't think you can jinx them. They're too good."
Meanwhile, some of us have an older ditty stuck in our heads this week because it reminds us of Coach Shaka Smart: Sly and the Family Stone's "Wanna Take You Higher." Boom! Shaka-laka …