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Sunday, October 26, 2014

King Kobraz’s Rebel anthem goes viral

The journey from being local rap artists to the voice of Ole Miss’ 2012 football season has been a rather surreal experience for Blake Pruett and Patrick Haadsma.

Thursday night, the two Ole Miss rappers, better known as the local YouTube sensation “King Kobraz,” found themselves flanked by hundreds of Ole Miss students, Rebelettes and a camera crew as they bounded from under Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, past where Chucky Mullins’ bust typically resides on game days and onto the green playing surface.

In the recent weeks the Tupelo natives and current Ole Miss students have experienced somewhat of a meteoric rise to stardom as their song “Rebelz” picked up steam and transformed from a viral sensation into a practically University-sponsored rallying cry for the Ole Miss fan base.

Thursday, in fact, the talented duo recorded an updated version of their “Feed Moncrief” hit video with the aid of Ole Miss to be released sometime before the Rebels face Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 5, 2013.

Playing off of the original video’s house party setting, Thursday’s video shoot featured the duo — in their trademark tuxedos — starting from outside the stadium. From there, Pruett, a senior studying international studies and Spanish, and Haadsma rapped and danced their way through the players’ tunnel and onto the playing surface.

“FEED MON CRIEF” flashed on the jumbotron as the congregation of students, going wild to the catchy tune, absorbed Pruett and Haadsma into a chaotic dance party reminiscent of the Egg Bowl’s aftermath — but on a much smaller and controlled scale.

Personal appearance
Donte Moncrief himself, along with several teammates like Chief Brown and Trae Elston, even caught some face time in front of the camera as it panned the crowd.

“That’s the only word to really use, surreal,” said Haadsma, a junior studying English and political science.

Pruett said they got the idea for the song from some shirts that began circulating after the Texas game that simply said “Feed Moncrief,” referring to Ole Miss’ talented sophomore receiver.

“It was such a great idea and we wanted to perpetuate it so we made it into a song,” Haadsma said.

“We wanted it to be free for the Rebels right before the Egg Bowl,” Pruett said. “We shot (the original video) the week right before LSU and we were thinking we were going to have to release it LSU night because Donte had an awesome game that night, but we lost so we figured that wasn’t really the time to put that out there.”

On Nov. 20, three days after the Rebels lost a heartbreaking 41-35 game at LSU, the video was posted on YouTube.com.

Shortly after, the video began making the rounds on various message boards and social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.

By the time the Egg Bowl rolled around, “Rebelz” wasn’t such a secret anymore.

Aided by Moncrief’s three-touchdown performance in Ole Miss’ 41-24 victory against Mississippi State on Nov. 24, King Kobraz’s creation received plenty of playing time inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Pruett said the group had heard Ole Miss might play their song, but they didn’t have any idea it would get as much airtime as it did.

“I got wind in The Grove that it was going to get played before the game. That’s all I thought was going to happen,” he said. “They didn’t tell us Donte was going to catch three touchdown passes. He really hooked us up for sure.”

Following each of Moncrief’s touchdowns against the Bulldogs, “Rebelz” boomed through the stadium while Moncrief pantomimed along with the song on the video board.

“We didn’t know if other people were feeling it and then (Moncrief) just started going ham on the field and people went nuts,” Pruett said.

While King Kobraz was clever enough to come up with “Rebelz,” they aren’t taking sole credit for the song’s viral success.

“People were going crazy. The jumbotron is what made it because, like we’ve told people before: We made the song, he made it cool,” Haadsma said. “That’s the only way to put it. He normally doesn’t really celebrate and was just doing a ‘No. 1’ and then he just lit up and started eating. That’s what set it off. It would have been a weird song had he not danced to it.”

Immediately after the game is when Pruett and Haadsma saw the spike in views on YouTube.

“We put it on the internet and it got some hits and the beat writers got ahold of it, Hugh Freeze and Sparky Reardon retweeted it. It was huge,” Pruett said. “Some bigger names starting picking up on it and then the game happened and it just snowballed.”

“I told Blake before the game that I bet it gets like 2,000 views just from this game and then it got like 50,000 almost overnight,” Haadsma said.

As of Thursday, “Rebelz” had more than 80,500 views on YouTube.com.

Now that King Kobraz has gone mainstream, what’s next for the Tupelo natives?

“We just released ‘It’s Always Sunny in Oxford,’ it’s just kind of about being a student here,” Pruett said. “There’s some good songs on there.”

To checkout King Kobraz’ other songs, such as “TSUNami” and “When I Grow Up”, visit kingkobraz.bandcamp.com.

Ole Miss Sports Productions took on the revised music video and brought in Tim Burkhead, who had a preexisting relationship with the band, to direct. (December 7, 2012, Page 6A)

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