Blue Robot

Local Artist Profile: Greg Falatek

Posted by Mike Hobson on 02/11 at 10:14 AM

As State College anticipates the arrival of Lil Wayne’s “I Am Music II” tour at the Bryce Jordan Center this spring, rap music is very much in the collective musical consciousness of Penn State. Often overlooked, however, are local up-and-coming acts in the genre. One of these artists, Greg Falatek, has a mix tape titled “Higher Education” slated for arrival later this month. Material released thus far points to a promising future for the State College hip hop scene.

From the first listen, Falatek’s music asserts its place in the faction of Hip Hop tailored to the college kid lifestyle. It’s a niche making real strides on a national level, fronted by (but far from limited to) artists like Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, and Sam Adams. In fact, it’s a style diluted by an overwhelming influx of DIY startups aided by social networking and online streaming media. They’re ambitious but often plagued by unoriginality. To stand out among this hoard of laptop producers and marijuana-centric lyricists, it takes a careful approach, one that Falatek clearly understands.

Part of his appeal rests in clever lyrical recognition of this scene, present in his lead single “Get By”: “Just a MacBook Pro/and a phat hook’s flow.” It’s also found in his boasting at the end of “Fly Me To The Moon” (named after the Frank Sinatra song it samples): “…this was just some quick s*** right, I recorded this song in like 30 minutes.” He definitely indulges in some light lyrical matter, but does so with a unique flow that avoids his sub-genre’s all too prevalent clichéd feel. It’s a style heavily influenced by the Penn State party scene—with frequent references to pricey weed and cheap booze—and includes laid-back instrumentals that give off an effortless but effective feel.

One track that stands out among his pre-mix tape releases, “Pink Lemonade x Pizza Rolls”, embodies this enjoyably uncomplicated style. Improvised lyrics, over a beat known to most as Mac Miller’s Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza, describe daytime drinking and smoked out shenanigans in down to earth, comical discourse. And while the beat is borrowed, Falatek recognizes the music’s bigger picture in a pre-verse shout out to his home region: “No disrespect to Mac Miller… I just wanna show him how Philadelphia does things.” The loop first appeared on “Hip to the Game” by New York’s Lord Finesse and carries a steady, laid back beat with vibraphone chords and a reverbed out horn accent. It’s a sound that, while immediately connected to a New York rapper, held an undeniable stronghold in the early-to-mid 90s Philly jazz/hip hop scene (i.e. the Roots’ earlier releases).

While Mac Miller claims Pittsburgh loyalty, Falatek turns attention back to Philadelphia’s influence over Hip Hop music, expressing where its been and where its going. This recognition and respect for the genre’s origins separates him from the typical college kid wannabe rapper, making Greg Falatek a Penn State based (for now) Hip-Hop presence worth our attention.

{name} Author: Mike Hobson
Bio: Mike Hobson is a junior at Penn State majoring in English and minoring in human development and family studies. He is a member of the Penn State Rugby Football Club, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, and he plays drums for local funk band Jackie and the Stylists. Growing up around a vibrant live entertainment scene in the Philadelphia area, Mike developed a passion for live music and comedy from a young age. His favorite bands are Led Zeppelin, the Meters, and Moe.

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