Beau Young Prince: started from Binford, now he’s here

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Courtesy of Leia Gaskin-Sadiku

Baauer, known for his meme supreme “Harlem Shake,” sat on senior Beau Young Prince’s couch.

After playing with Baauer at a year opening concert earlier that night, Prince, with encouragement from friends hanging out after the gig, decided to show Baauer his “Harlem Shake” remix.

“Stop that track,” Baauer exclaimed.

The moment was tense. Then, like the famous lion roar before the shakes’ drop, Baauer delivered his decree.

“Play it again.”

Prince’s Hodgins home erupted with Baauer’s approval.

In that same apartment months later, Prince and friends were playing the original Super Smash Brothers, the atmosphere ringing octaves apart from the night of Baauer’s visit, or, for that matter, the recording intensity that guided Prince’s collegiate career.

Recently signed to Bargal Records, an independent label based in Prince’s home city of Washington, D.C., Prince is a certified hip-hop artist. Prince has opened for the likes of Wale and Chiddy Bang, while, a hip-hop star in his own right, earning over one million views on YouTube.

Yet, a laid-back night of Super Smash Bros. may be more fitting for this dedicated performer than immediately apparent.

Inspiration starts close to home.

On an unassuming Friday night in Binford four years ago, Prince, senior Leia Gaskin-Sediku and Daron Witmore ‘11 played Mario Kart. The games’ earworming theme — if you’ve ever fallen off Rainbow Road, you know it — instigated an impromptu jam. Prince freestyled as Gaskin-Sediku improvised a hook.

“We just had speakers and an imagination,” said Prince.

Later, Witmore added keys, and the trio produced a track, leading to one of Prince’s most popular songs among the Guilford set, “Star Power.”

With Witmore’s spacey production and a sunny hook from Gaskin-Sediku, Prince most perfectly manufactured music for Guilford lake lounging.

“Meet me at the lake. Open up my trunk and let my system Quake,” rhymes Prince. Listening, you can feel sure that’s a Guilford College reference.

“Yeah, I rep Guilford College,” said Prince.

However, Prince and “Star Power” reflect more of Guilford than simple lake shine.

Community and diversity are two core values. Prince’s career at Guilford is characterized by extensive collaboration. The individual shaped by community.

He performed alongside Gaskin-Sediku during their first year at school, this time as the fully formed duo, Superteam. In his junior year, Prince collaborated with Ryan James from Bitter Children. Junior Jordan Clark energizes crowds as Prince’s hype man, performing under the stage name Fish. Currently, Prince is working with rising hip-hop artist L.A.B., known in the classroom as sophomore Rod Walker.

“He’s a guy out here who has potential,” said Prince. “Give him a look out.”

More than music, though, Prince interacts with an eclectic mix of the student body.

“He’s friends with so many different kinds of people,” said friend and senior Rishona Pine.

Experiencing all these different artists and people transformed Prince’s perspective.

“Guilford has opened my eyes so much to what I’ve wanted to do musically, which is to step into myself,” said Prince.

Life meets sound. Prince loves artists ranging from Jefferson Airplane to Duke Ellington.

His music oscillates between frat hop and chill wave. He interacts and collaborates with artists from the lacrosse field to the Pines.

“Prince adds cohesiveness to the community,” said friend and senior Ashley Lynch. “He motivates people to look at different perspectives.”

“I love this place,” said Prince. “It’s been such an experience of personal growth.”

As Prince walks in front of King Hall on May 18, he fulfills two familiar stories. Drake puts one succinctly in his recent single, rapping, “We started from the bottom, now we’re here.” Even more, Prince graduates having truly embodied the school’s spirit. It’s a liberal arts recasting of the hip-hop phoenix myth.

Started from Binford, now he’s here.

Prince plays with L.A.B. at the 2nd Annual “A Dollar, A Dream” tour this Saturday, in the community center. Prince’s next mixtape, “Tapestries and Javelins,” comes out in May.