“Illini Anthem” Take Over
An anthem that was once a tradition at the University of Illinois celebrates its evolution with a new style and infectious hip-hop sound to create the “Illini Anthem.” The ‘new’ anthem was created by Professor Holden, also known as TheLetterLBeats and Illini alum Jarrel Young. The duo created a sensational anthem that is inspiring and serves a meaning that genuinely evokes the university’s practices.
Professor Holden has had a love for music his entire life, and with the opportunity to be a part of “Illini Anthem,” he is achieving the vision that he has always set for himself. The song’s message has impacted the university and has sparked a new interest in music. Most importantly, the anthem was symbolic in many ways that represent the university at its best.
“I think it’s importance is more symbolic than anything,” says Professor Holden. “Right. It symbolizes the fact that people with real decision-making power are willing to do something different. You know what I’m saying? I love that the students have gotten behind it.”
First Rap/Hip-Hop Fight Song
The instrumentation behind it included an added Drumline-like snares that Professor Holden sequenced, and Jarrel Young rapped to create something truly monumental. The anthem embarks on the positive energy that highlights the university’s notable contributions to society. The University of Illinois is becoming a place of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“Illini Anthem” is the first rap/hip-hop fight song representing a Big 10 University.
“To commit to being an artist or being a producer is like a lottery ticket type of thing,” states Professor Holden. “So in actuality, there are steps and processes you can take that make it into a viable professional. You can develop streams of income, have autonomy over your schedule, and really make a living for yourself.”
Anthem Sparks A Movement
Under Professor Holden’s direction, the music program at the university is doing great things. The program offers new songwriting courses, music business, beat-making, and podcasting. The anthem speaks to the university’s efforts for musical success. In the professor’s words, the anthem serves as the perfect example.
“The song is an example,” Professor Holden explains. “Like I was saying, it’s kind of like we tell you that you can have success streaming, to have success marketing your song, getting your song to big audiences. We have to have a model of that of ourselves. So that’s partly what the anthem is.”
The anthem strives to push for the University of Illinois School of Music to recruit more diverse musicians and meet students’ needs. The impact and legacy the anthem has left are pretty extraordinary. Until then, Professor Holden continues to teach younger generations and be the person to teach real-life scenarios.
“I’ll say what I learned was, okay, you got to bring something to the table,” says Professor Holden. “But then the next part of it you got to learn is actually you can’t go chase and ask. You have to attract, right? And that’s not always the easiest thing to do. There’s an art to it.”