Urban Lyrics Pursues Legacy

Urban Lyrics, SUNY New Paltz’s newest rap and poetry-based team, was created last semester by fifth-year Black studies and sociology double-major Latosha Belton and alumnus Frederick Fernandez.

Urban Lyrics helps writers express themselves through rap music and improve their craft, by creating and performing their own raps. Urban Lyrics has a different feel than organizations  on campus.

“Urban Lyrics embodies a much more urban essence that isn’t found in negative modern day rap music, popular poetry or even on the slam team. Every lyricist possesses a unique writing and performance style from the next, making the team extremely diverse,” said Kevin Cavanna, a third-year English major and member of Urban Lyrics.

Minorities widely encompass the demographic of writers on the team who express themselves through their prior and even current oppression. Urban Lyrics provides a medium for this expression, so others may understand the hardships team members face.

“Urban Lyrics was formed to artistically vocalize the angst, struggle, passion, intelligence and talent of a culture that is often looked down upon. We aspire to create a space where anyone is welcome to creatively express themselves without fear of judgment,” Cavanna said.

Urban Lyrics prides itself on providing all writers with an equal opportunity to express themselves through rap and poetry. Though members don’t endure rigorous training and rehearsals, they experience a sense of structure within the team. Writers are critiqued, but aren’t molded into one school of thought.

“We want to create a safe and creative environment for our teammates to share their talents and we help further them instead of trying to make them conform to one style,” said Danit Ianovici, a third-year elementary education major and member of Urban Lyrics.

Urban Lyrics’ mission is to leave a legacy of unconditional acceptance full of strong voices that demand to be heard in the coming semesters. They said they wish to break the silence of the oppressed by becoming better known throughout campus, showcasing their talents at widely attended events in the area.

“I want to see Urban Lyrics live on throughout the years as an ever-growing, working organization of passionate Spoken Word artists. Spoken Word is a genre that is being given much light now and there are young voices that are tremendously talented and deserve to be heard,” said Belton.

Team members recently performed pieces at the Black Solidarity Day Vigil on Nov. 6, the Latino Greek Council show on Nov. 9 and the New Day Ensemble Open Mic show on Nov. 10. The entire team plans to perform a piece at Dance Evolution on Nov. 12.

Urban Lyrics meets from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays in Bouton Hall’s third floor lounge. For more information, they can be found on Facebook.