Introducing: THE SOUND OF AN ERA featuring International Rap Battle

Hello loyal listeners! Whew, it’s been a while…

…Time really flies, as they say, especially these few fleeting years we call “The College Years.” As the trees bloom, and then get snowed on, and then (hopefully) bloom again, we’re reminded of our own endings and new beginnings here at WVKR. With that in mind, it’s my pleasure to bring you…


(a new reboot of an old series)

Our new/old blog series celebrates our most special student DJs: the seniors in their last year at Vassar, and the babies in their first year at WVKR. Each week, we’ll bring you a few words from one of our oldest or our youngest in the hopes that you’ll give ’em a listen before they fly the nest :’) 

So without wasting any time, I’d like to present to you with our first feature:


International Rap Battle joined us Fall 2015 with one mission in mind: to find the world’s best in hip hop and bring it to our lil station in Poughkeepsie. On DJ Pan Am‘s stage, nations compete to claim the title of the home of the greatest rappers. It would truly be a better world if all foreign policy was conducted in this format, under the impartial judgement of the United Nations Hip Hop Association, every Saturday from 2am-3am.

We sat down with DJ Pan Am to hear the latest from his travels.

WVKR: Your show’s taken you all around the world, musically speaking. What areas of the world do you find yourself returning to, and what hip hop scenes have yet to be explored?
DJ Pan Am: I consistently find myself coming back to French and Francophone hip-hop. The French were definitely early adopters of American hip-hop music as well as culture and yet they manage to totally have their own feel for the music. On the other hand, there are countries like Turkey that don’t have a super large hip-hop scene, but definitely have a language that lends itself to rapping. As for things to explore in the future, I’d like to spend more time listening to South American, Middle Eastern, and North African hip-hop: I know for a fact that there is excellent hip-hop that comes from almost every culture in the world, sometimes it’s just harder to find than others.

WVKR: What can you learn about a country from listening to hip hop from there?
DJ Pan Am: Hip-hop serves as the voice of disenfranchised peoples everywhere, so if you want to learn about and understand parts of a culture that wouldn’t by just looking a the normal pop culture, look to the hip-hop.

WVKR: If Bulgaria and Vietnam went head to head in an international rap competition, who would win?
DJ Pan Am: I’m not that familiar with the hip-hop from Vietnam, but my money would be on Bulgaria – they have some super dope rappers, like Upsurt and Santra (check ’em out below). Don’t be surprised if you see this as match-up on the next season of IRB.

WVKR: What’s the best thing you’ve eaten in Poughkeepsie?
DJ Pan Am: Hmmmm… I gotta go with the Banh Mi at Saigon Café, but that might be because I just really like Vietnamese sandwiches.

WVKR: What’s it like being in the studio late at night/early in the morning?
DJ Pan Am: I love it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d prefer to broadcast at time when more people were listening, but there’s nothing like feeling like you’re the only one awake on campus and jamming out wacky world hip-hop at full volume :) .

Don’t forget to check out International Rap Battle with DJ Pan Am every Saturday at 2am!

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