It’s no secret that Tate Tucker (SFS ’14) loves the west coast. From his lucky San Diego Chargers hat to tracks like “West Coast Girls” and “L.A. Sunrise,” the freshman rapper is constantly California dreaming. In fact, Tucker is so eager to get back to Los Angeles that he cancelled a performance at Dartmouth College scheduled in May after his last exam.
“I have extreme homesickness,” he said, grinning.
Right now, though, things are going quite well for Tucker here on the east coast. After spending the semester posting tracks to his YouTube page and performing at different campus venues like Hoya Court in the Leavey Center and Epicurean restaurant, the Santa Monica, Calif., native released his debut mixtape, Blue Dreams, last week to widely positive response.
Tucker came into the campus spotlight this December when he posted a video online of himself freestyling for Lupe Fiasco in Michael Eric Dyson’s “Sociology of Hip-Hop” course. The video quickly spread around campus, and was eventually featured on hip-hop blogs around the country. The thing is, Tucker originally had no intention of bringing his rap game to this level.
“I didn’t rap at my high school graduation,” he said. “I was like, ‘I’m not going to be a rapper. I’m going to be a diplomat in the SFS.’”
Tucker started rapping in middle school, but it wasn’t until high school that he started rapping at parties and battling MCs from other schools. When he started school at Georgetown this fall, he began to grab attention by freestyling at a few parties. After his performance for Lupe, there was no turning back.
“After the Lupe thing, people were all of a sudden like, ‘You’re a rapper,’” said Tucker.
All of Blue Dreams was produced by Will Henderson (MSB ’14), who met Tucker through a mutual friend. Henderson is no stranger to the music scene—last summer, he collaborated with Westchester, N.Y. rapper Triple J on the mixtape Of Mics And Men. Over spring break, Tucker stayed at Henderson’s house in Westchester, where they recorded Blue Dreams in four days.
“We just locked ourselves in the basement for ten hours a day,” said Henderson.
Until now, Tucker had not released any material besides the freestyles he’s recorded in his New South dorm room.
“Now that we have something solid that’s studio quality, you can only go up from there,” Tucker said. “We got what we wanted, a nice fan base, and people are spreading it still.”
Blue Dreams been downloaded over 1200 times since Tucker and Henderson posted it on free mixtape site datpiff.com on April 18.
“People like it a lot more than I thought they would, especially at Georgetown,” Tucker said, adding that he has received positive feedback from fans in Europe and Australia.
For Blue Dreams, Henderson’s beats sample rock groups like Fleet Foxes, Radiohead, and Passion Pit, as well as classic beats from Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Souls Of Mischief.
“I remember when Will asked me what beats I wanted, I wanted them very positive, like upbeat,” Tucker said. “The intricacies of the beat, all that, it really reflected his talent, but it just kind of… I feel like it came together to reflect the both of us.”
Tucker’s lyrics deal with subjects like his life as a west coast transplant, girls, and having a good time.
“You can party to it. You can do homework to it,” Tucker said. “Some songs will get stuck in your head, and it’s only going to get better from here.”
This summer, Tucker is looking forward to bringing his music to a new audience.
“I have a couple shows in L.A. for some store openings, and the name is starting to spread in L.A. as well,” Tucker said. “I haven’t been able to push my music there, so it will be really cool to be on the west coast. ‘Cause my fan base is really D.C., like very east coast, like kids from Connecticut and you know, over here. So I haven’t even touched upon that market that much.”
In addition to working a summer job, Henderson plans to make new beats for Tucker and collaborate with Triple J on a new project. But as of now, neither freshman is looking much further than Georgetown Day.
“I am so excited,” said Tucker. “I hope it’s not overhyped.”