"H-A-R-V-A-R-D! I go to Harvard University!"
"Harvard, Goddamn! How do you get through?"
"Pulling freaks, getting A's, and drinking Heineken brews!"
This rap comes out of your speakers, billed as the single "Guaranteed To Rock." You examine the record jacket for the tenth time. Yes, the performers pictured are two white, Jewish boys in Harvard attire.
No, the Beastie Boys haven't enrolled at Harvard, as was recently rumored in the National Enquirer. The rappers on the 12-inch single's cover are Jonathan M. "Sultan M.C." Shecter '90 and Bennington College sophomore Kevin "Kevi-Kev" Krakower.
Shecter's group, B.M.O.C. (Big Man On Campus), cut the single in New York last summer with producer Nile Rodgers, who has also worked on albums for Madonna, David Bowie, and DuranDuran. "Guaranteed To Rock" shares a disk with"Play That Funk," also recorded last summer. Thetwo songs are the first that the reknowned popproducer has worked on with B.M.O.C.
The group's third member is D.J. Kid Swift, ahighly ranked professional disk jockey. "The d.j.of a rap album," Shecter explained, "is the guywho manipulates the record on the turntable toproduce a scratching sound."
Brett Ratner, a sophomore at New YorkUniversity, is the group's manager and executiveproducer. "I heard a demo of the group, I thoughtthey were great and I thought the Harvard imagewas great," he said. "So I got $10,000, finishedthe record, and got a five-record deal with Sire."Sire Records, the label under which the single wasreleased, is a part of Warner Brothers.
"I'm not at liberty to discuss the details ofour contract," said a chuckling Shecter, "butwe're going to make more money than most peoplewould wish to make in seven thousand lifetimes."Shecter described the contract with Sire asunusual: "we're a new group and Sire is a bigrecord company."
Ratner also said he had convinced Rodgers toproduce the record and Diadora, a manufacturer ofathletic clothing to sponsor the group. "We planto include Diadora in our next song," Shectersaid, noting that the rap group Run DMC endorsesAdidas products in some of its songs.
"They will probably be as big or even biggerthan The Beastie Boys because they have totalcrossover appeal," Ratner said of the group.Thanks to its pop producer, said Ratner, "thesingle is very danceable, so it appeals to non-rappeople."
"I hope it expands the musical taste of Harvardstudents who don't even know what rap is, becauseit's what's happening," Shecter said of hissingle.
"I'm a Harvard undergrad, a scholarly scholar,and I'm using rap music to make me dollars, "Shecter says in "Play That Funk." But off therecord, he insists that he's not in rap for themoney, but because he loves the music.
"I've been interested in the music since rapcame out, when I was around eleven years old,"Shecter said in his Cabot House room, which isdecorated with posters of rap groups Erik B. &Rakim.
Shecter, who did his first rapping on a radiostation in Philadelphia, works at WHRB, Harvard'sradio station. He runs a show called "Street Beat"with his roommate Go-go Dave (alias David M. Mays'90) on Fridays from 10 p.m. to midnight. Shecteris also acting in the play Gang's NewThreads, a rap musical to be staged inLeverett House February 18, 19, and 20.
As for B.M.O.C.'s immediate future, Shectersaid the group had "plans in the works" for avideo.
Ratner said the group's songs may also formpart of the soundtracks for two upcoming movies:"Colors," starring Sean Penn, and Eddie Murphy's"Quest."
The single was not available in the Square bypress time yesterday