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Hip hop + Symphony = A SUNY Potsdam arts experiment

Only at one of SUNY’s premier arts campuses would you find a fusion of talent like this! At SUNY Potsdam, home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, the College performed a unique arts experiment to cap off the fall semester.

Bringing together the Crane Symphony Orchestra and Crane Chorus with SUNY Potsdam graduate student Elijah Foulks, also known as Knowle’ge ReignSupreme, who picked up the mic and began to rap as the musicians started improvising to back him up.

Check it out above.

“This collaboration shows just how chameleon-like hip hop can be,” Foulks told the student newspaper, The Racquette. “Even this freestyle had jazz influences and classical influences that combined with my hip hop flow.”

The impromptu performance took place on the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall stage in between back-to-back Candlelight Concerts on Dec. 4, 2011. The project was the brainchild of Director of Marketing Deborah Dudley, who wanted to showcase the arts diversity that makes Potsdam stand out. Videographer Doyle Dean captured the experience.

“Being on an arts campus, you have to live creativity. The experiences have to be real. You can’t fake it,” Dudley said. “That is the beauty of this place. It doesn’t matter what major you are. This experiment will hopefully feed more creativity in every discipline. The power of music is just one example.”

Couldn’t quite catch some of the Knowle’ge lyrics? Hard to believe he came up with this on the spot:

“On stage with stars, celestial. I acquired a choir and orchestral. Uh, strings, bend all kinds of things. Admired, heavy with the choir. Every plots higher then, viler than vitamins, run up with the strings on a violin. On stage every day, baby. Have a Merry Christmas Day, baby.”

Take a virtual tour of SUNY Potsdam here:

And check out more SUNY Potsdam videos on the College’s YouTube channel, at

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