In a McGill State of Mind

Trip Yang, BA&Sc’11, is not the first to compose a song about McGill. But while numbers like It’s Winter Carnival Time and Put on Your Red and White Sweater pay fitting tribute to the University, neither does so with the swagger of McGill State of Mind, Yang’s rapping ode to his alma mater.

Trip Yang's YouTube video, "McGill State of Mind," pays loving tribute to his alma mater

Yang uploaded his song, a remake of Empire State of Mind, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’s 2009 love letter to New York City, to YouTube in September. The track quickly went viral, and in March Yang premiered a music video to accompany it.

“I did an ode to McGill because I went to school here,” he says. “I really liked my experience, and I wanted to create a music video that highlighted the diverse campus life and all the student groups.” So far, it has attracted more than 50,000 views on YouTube.

In the video, Yang, bedecked in McGill garb, makes his way through the University’s downtown campus as he name checks its landmarks. He is accompanied by Aiza Ntibarikure, who sings the song’s hook and bridge, and a sprawling cast of students and professors who make cameos throughout.

“A lot of these guys were my friends, and some of them were people that contacted me because they responded to my call-outs,” Yang says. “We got over 35 student groups in the video.”

Despite the song’s success, Yang, long a fan of hip-hop, does not aspire to a career in music. “I’m working on President Obama’s re-election campaign,” he says. Still, a nod from the rapper who inspired his anthem wouldn’t be unwelcome. “If I got a call from Jay-Z or got an email from Jay-Z one day, that might be the best day of the year.”

Lucas Wisenthal, BA'03