As the Univeristy of South Carolina gets ready to face Auburn in this Saturday’s SEC Championship in Atlanta, Gamecock fans across the country will have a new rallying cry.
“Rock Out....Aaaay! With Your Gamecock Out....Aaaay!”
This catchy, albeit almost lewd, refrain is at the center of Gamecock nation’s latest craze, a video featuring a collective of Columbia rappers musing on the finer points of wearing the garnet and black.
“Rock Out (With Your Gamecock Out),” is the creation of a bunch of USC students known as Dinobrite Productions.
Though the group has had success making videos in the past — their comedy skits have been featured on Comedy Central’s “Tosh.0” — co-creator Joey Thompson says they’ve never had a response like the 143,000+ views “Rock Out” has garnered in just three weeks.
“It’s been completely overwhelming,” said Thompson, a fourth-year Media Studies major who heads up the group with entrepreneurship student Fabio Frey. “The response has been awesome.”
Myrtle Beach Music: Joey Thompson (left) and Fabio Frey, both fourth-year USC students, are the co-creators of "Rock Out" and the leaders of Dinbobrite Productions.
While the response to the video has definitely been worth of awe, putting it together didn’t come without controversy.
Originally, the video featured cameos from a bevy university officials including President Harris Pastides, men's basketball coach Darrin Horn, women's basketball coach Dawn Staley and baseball coach Ray Tanner.
“When we started the university was behind us and got all fired up about what we were doing,” said Thompson. “But in the end, they weren’t too fond of us burning the Clemson flag at the end and didn’t like some of the lyrics.”
Though they offered to remove some of the offensive material, the two sides were unable to reach a compromise leading to the removal of the appearances and the addition of a disclaimer which reads: “This video is NOT endorsed by the University of South Carolina.”
“We were angry at first, because they agreed to do it and then pulled out,” said Thompson. “We had put in a lot of work and were lucky to have a connection to a student athlete who went through the proper channels with the AD to set up those cameos.”
Though he believes it would have been nice to get the added exposure of playing the track at football games and other university functions, Thompson said the lack of university support didn’t diminish the final product.
In fact, Dinobrite was able to convince Heisman trophy winner George Rogers and two other former USC football stars, Ryan Brewer and Mike Hold, to appear in the video instead.
Myrtle Beach Music: Former Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers is one of the past USC players which appears in the "Rock Out" video
Myrtle Beach native Kyle Kovalchek, a Dinobrite crew member who assisted in bringing Brewer on board, believes the appearances really helps reach Gamecock fans.
“We have a couple legends of the Gamecock universe in there and they bring the star power that has really helped the video connect with the intended audience.” said Kovalchek.
The St. James High School graduate said he knew the group was something special after seeing their sketches on campus cable last year. The broadcast journalism major joined the group earlier this year and has done his best to contribute.
“I help write sketches, hold boom mic poles, anything that I can do to help,” he said.
Kovalchek said that while he knew that making “Rock Out” was a great idea, it’s a far cry from Thompson’s original “Click Clack Spurrier Rap” video which inspired the track.
“Before I joined, Joey did this video where he dressed up like Steve Spurrier and performed this really awful rap.” he said. “But this one, even those who don’t like rap are really enjoying the production value. It’s been getting great response.”
Behind the music
While slick-looking shots of iconic sites around Columbia may draw in some fans, the energetic music behind “Rock Out” is at the heart of the video’s success.
The track, produced by Dinobrite’s own Fabio Frey and recorded for free at Jam Room Studios in Columbia, features rappers Diverse, Signature, T-Roc, Five Dollaz and Kev-O and DJ Lucky Leon.
Myrtle Beach Music: Columbia emcee T-Roc raps outside of Williams-Brice Stadium in the "Rock Out" video
Thompson, who wrote the track’s hook, says he was lucky to have gotten participation from such quality talent having never put together a song before.
“We just started sending out e-mails to different rappers and once we convince one guy to come on it led to another and another.” he said. “A lot of people don’t know it but there’s actually a pretty big rap scene here.”
Maybe due to his own lack of lyrical skills, Thompson kept pretty loose restraints on the performers lyrically.
“We just asked them to rap about what USC football meant to them and to put their own spin on it,” he said. “We didn’t want to put our hand too deep into it.”
He says its this hands-off approach to the music that has helped the effort become accepted as a legitimate rap song.
“The rappers love it because it helps get their name out there. We’re even getting some radio play on WUSC and from DJ Lucky Leon who was on the track.”
Capitalizing on opportunities
While Thompson says he’s happy with the success of “Rock Out” the students involved with Dinobrite don’t plan to stop riding the wave of attention it has drawn.
“To be frank, we’re trying to get jobs from this,” he says. “We’re in the marketing phase exploring our opportunities.”
Some of the opportunities on their plate so far include working with DJs to remix the track, marketing T-shirts with the slogan and opening an online store.
But while the brains behind Dinobrite work toward loftier goals, members such as Kovalchek are just happy to be part of something that gets folks ready for the big game.
“This isn’t a money-making thing for us, we’re just trying to show some school spirit,” he says.
And for his thoughts on USC’s chances Saturday.
“As soon as I knew what college football was I’ve been a Gamecocks fan, and I’ve gotta say this is the best team I’ve been alive to witness,” he says. “You can just tell there something special about this year’s team. These guys are gonna go in and take care of business and win the SEC championship. Go Gamecocks!”