The Daily Gamecock

‘Spurrier Rap’ stirs controversy

Prominent university figures cut from original video

The disclaimer on the “The Spurrier Rap” video lasts almost 10 seconds.

“The following video is NOT endorsed by the University of South Carolina. This is not the original version.”

There’s a very real reason for that disclaimer.

USC celebrities, including President Harris Pastides, men’s basketball coach Darrin Horn, women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley and baseball coach Ray Tanner all originally starred in the video. To begin the original version, Pastides performed in a humorous skit with radio personality Todd Ellis, ending with Pastides repeating a famous rap line: “All I do is win.” Staley and Horn posed on the basketball court, shooting tough looks toward the camera. Tanner stood with the national championship baseball trophy.

Fourth-year integrated information technology student Joey Thompson and fourth-year entrepreneurship student Fabio Frey, creators of the skit and volunteers for Student Gamecock Television, said University officials were originally very supportive of the project. But after seeing the final version, they changed their minds.

Thompson and Frey received a phone call from Cantey Heath, Pastides’ personal assistant. One day later, they were in a meeting with USC Athletics Director Eric Hyman.

Administrators told the students the lyrics were too raunchy. They were also concerned with the burning of the Clemson flag and the perceived thug imagery of the video, according to Thompson. The duo agreed to make some slight modifications but refused to totally adjust the vision of the project.

That meant USC celebrities had to go. With them went Cocky and USC’s cheerleaders.

“They even asked us to cater lyrics about the school and possibly mention the Darla Moore School of Business,” Thompson said. “... But we realized we weren’t willing to do that. As an artist, the worst thing you can do is compromise your vision.”

In an interview with The Daily Gamecock, Heath said the video could have been offensive to the public at large.

“We’re not in the business of offending people,” Heath said.

He referred further questions to USC Spokeswoman Margaret Lamb.

“We appreciate the spirit and creativity of our students,” Lamb said in a statement. “However, in this case there were concerns that the language and content were not appropriate and appeared to be endorsed by university leaders.”

The rap video has attracted almost 70,000 hits on YouTube and has been picked up by local blogs and media outlets. It features local rappers, students and camera shots from all around Columbia. Thompson said alumni and donors have e-mailed him expressing support of the project. He’s been contacted by an Atlanta investor and a T-shirt company would like to use the ‘Rock out with your Gamecock out’ logo. A few viewers have commented online noting the flag burning and content, but most of the comments posted by late Monday were supportive of the project.

According to Thompson, production of the video lasted almost two months. Five Columbia rappers were featured in the video, which was a “real rap video,” he said. It was recorded at the Jam Room, a studio in Columbia, which allowed them to record for free. In total, the video cost $40 to produce and Frey said the only item the duo spent money on was a Clemson flag, which is burned at the end of the video.

The video features former Heisman trophy winner George Rogers and former USC football stars Ryan Brewer and Mike Hold. They all saw the final version and didn’t object, according to Thompson.

“Columbia isn’t a bunch of happy, white people dancing in front of the library, but there’s a few people with a lot of money making the calls around here,” he said. “... If they’re smart, they’ll realize this video is getting them good publicity.”