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Vibes and Vision: Capella Grey and the Future of Music at Harvard Law School’s Hitmakers Symposium

By Najya S. Gause, Crimson Staff Writer

Amidst the golden inscriptions of musical legends like Chopin and Beethoven on the high ceilings of Paine Hall, Harvard’s music building transformed into a buzzing hub of hip hop culture at the Hitmakers Symposium event on March 30. The event, hosted by the Recording Artists Project at Harvard Law School and PUTINWORK, drew a crowd eager to engage with the evolving music scene. This event was the second part of the program, following a day of panels regarding different aspects of the music industry, such as a business and legal panel, a media and culture panel, and an artists and repertoire panel.

The audience entered to a charged atmosphere as a hard-hitting bass filled the room from the stage. This contrast between the room’s classical aesthetics and modern sound set an exciting tone for a night dedicated to the future of music.

The highlight of the event was a discussion with Capella Grey, known for his hit song “Gyalis,” which went viral when it was released in 2022. Grey, who switched twice between being signed and independent, shared his insights and hopes for the future, encapsulating the essence of what he believes the music industry craves: vibes.

“The industry just needs vibes,” Grey remarked during the discussion, which was moderated by Ify White-Thorpe. When asked what his goals were in the music industry, he answered that it was to spice up the music scene by slowing it down, making it more “wavey” and “vibey,” and bringing listeners into the moment.

Grey is no stranger to the challenges that come with producing new music, particularly the legal intricacies of sample clearances. His comment about avoiding lawsuits drew laughter from the audience, which felt especially poignant given that the event was held by the Law School. “Vibe responsibly,” he quipped, revealing his upcoming album title.

Looking ahead, Grey’s ambitions extend beyond music. He envisions a career that includes film, luxury clothing, and poetry. “In 5 years, think of the word ‘mobile.’ You'll see me everywhere,” he said.

One member of the audience was David Monroe, who goes by Monroe X, an artist signed under Grey’s label, Allepac the Family. “I thought the discussion was absolutely amazing. I’m humbled,” Monroe said.

The symposium also featured a competition among emerging talents, showcasing nine talent acts which included Boston rapper Big Sosa, New Jersey native Baby Teo, and Harvard College’s own Dexter Suhn ’27. The energy culminated with the last performer, Harvard graduate Bizzy Savant. Savant was chosen by the judges as the winner of the showcase. He thanked his mother in the audience, underscoring the personal connections that ground up-and-coming careers.

“We’re here to elevate talent, to promote hip hop, to preserve hip hop, and teach you guys all about the music industry. We hope that you guys were able to get something out of this year’s Hitmaker’s Symposium,” White-Thorpe said at the end of the evening. “Thank you everyone and have a great night.”

As the night wrapped up, the consensus was clear: The Hitmakers Symposium wasn’t just an event — it was a milestone for Harvard’s engagement with hip hop culture. It provided a platform for understanding the nuances of musical innovation and the importance of authenticity in an industry that’s as much about vibes as it is about hits.

This symposium, blending the celebration of talent with forward-thinking music entrepreneurship, underscored Harvard’s role in nurturing not just academics but also the creative pioneers of tomorrow. As the crowd dispersed from the historic hall, the echoes of the night’s discussions lingered, a reminder of the vibrant future of music carved out right within Harvard’s storied walls.

—Staff writer Najya S. Gause can be reached najya.gause@thecrimson.com.

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