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Christian Wisecarver: Organic rap producer
Meet the guy who turned Stoneyfield CEO Gary Hirshberg into a rap star.
Tue, May 17, 2011 at 12:54 PM
Wisecarver and his son. (Photo courtesy of Christian Wisecarver. Note: The baby's beard was drawn onto the photo, not the baby!)
Christian Wisecarver is a fan of stopping by woods on a snowy evening. The 33-year-old father of two became famous in his home state of New Hampshire last year after he released "Granite State of Mind" (also found at the bottom of this page), a rap video parodying a Jay Z song in which he extols the virtues of the Granite State. He caught the eye of of Boing Boing, the mega blog and "directory of wonderful things" with his inclusion of the entire Robert Frost poem, "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening." You haven't lived until you've listened to Frost mashed up with Jay Z.
Christian heads the Super Secret Project or SSP, the comedy troupe he started after graduating from Emerson College, the respected Boston film and communications school. The SSP is rounded out by singer/songwriter/actor Billy Donohoe and producer/editor/actress Darby deChristopher and has been on a tear in the days since "Granite State of Mind" first dropped. They opened for Weird Al Yankovic, performed for the governor of New Hampshire, and took a congratulatory phone call from former Granite stater Adam Sandler.
Their follow up video to "Granite State of Mind," titled "Plow Guy Boogaloo," was released in February and features a high-powered cast of cameos including Ken Burns, Sarah Silverman, Michael O'Malley of "Glee," and Stonyfield CEO and founder Gary Hirshberg. (Stonyfield's headquarters are in New Hampshire.)
Hirshberg was so impressed with SSP's videos that he hired them to help him produce a wonderfully cheesy rap video about the benefits of eating organic foods. The video stars Hirshberg, who unabashedly rolls through rhymes about farms, pesticides, and why we should choose organic farms. Christian worked with Hirshberg to write the lyrics, Billy D provided the tunes, and Darby helped edit and produce the shoot. The video has pulled in over 56,000 views since being launched last month and even inspired a battle rap response (which is as equallyendearingly nerdy) from Honest Tea founder and TeaEO Seth Goldman.
I first met Christian during our freshman year of college back in 1996 when we lived across from one another in the dorms. I've worked with the SSP over the years whenever they've needed help with things like getting a website up or photoshopping Christian into a picture with Adam Sandler. I can even lay claim to inspiring a Boston-themed parody of the "Perfect Strangers" intro and a rap battle video aimed at Internet funnyman Jon Lajoie (aka 'Taco' from The League).
I caught up with Christian in a rare lull in his insanely busy schedule and asked him seven questions.
MNN: How did you find yourself turning Gary Hirshberg, founder and CEO of Stonyfield Organic, into a rapper?
Christian Wisecarver: After we name-dropped Stonyfield Yogurt in the first "Granite State of Mind" video, Gary sent me a nice note of congratulations, a "thank you" and a ton of free yogurt, which was rad, since my kids eat YoBaby like it is going out of style. A few months later, he had the idea of doing a music video about the importance of eating organically, so he called me in for a meeting, and we hit it off. Over the course of a month or so, we wrote the lyrics together and my SSP cohort Billy Donohoe created the music tracks. Gary and I recorded the vocal tracks at his house, and he was really great to work with. That guy is the real deal. In the end, I think that tune is really catchy, and hopefully that will translate into more people being conscious of the benefits of organic food.
Last year you mashed up the Robert Frost poem, "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening," with a Jay Z song. How'd that happen?
I'd like to say that it was great forethought and talent that brought those two things together, but it was really just pure laziness. I was working on the third verse of GSOM["Granite State of Mind"], and was out of stuff to say. Rather than cutting the third verse, I thought putting in a Robert Frost poem would eat up some time, but I wasn't sure if it was going to work or not. After some finagling with the syncopation, I got it to work, and it ended up being my favorite aspect about the song. Sometimes you just get lucky, I guess.
(I invited Christian to make up and answer his own question here) Christian, if you were stranded on a desert island, what would you bring with you?
An airplane with lots of fuel. And some Ray Bradbury short stories. But mostly the airplane.
Does the world need saving?
I'm not sure if the world needs saving. People? That's another story. The planet is going to be here long after we are gone. Who knows what sort of creatures will be chilling here in 350 million years? When people talk about the end of the world, they are really talking about the end of people. MNN probably isn't the best forum to express this opinion, but I think it is in our very nature to destroy everything in our path. The environment, ourselves, everything. Really, as a species, we kind of suck, but that's how we're made. That being said, I think prolonging that outcome for as long as possible is a good thing. One way to do that? I think we could seriously prolong our human life expectancy with some sort of reproduction license. Too many stupid people having too many stupid babies. Seriously.
What's the difference between green and greener?
Green is using trash to power your DeLorean, even though there are Texaco gas stations in the future. Greener is using plain old-fashioned lighting. Plutonium just seems like a huge risk, considering those other options.
Who is one person doing good for the world (besides yourself) who we should know about and why?
Westboro Baptist Church. It's so refreshing to see such a rational, dedicated group of human beings get together and try to make this world a better place, using nothing but sheer intellect, sound logic, and elbow grease. Oh wait. I just realized the sarcasm font does not yet exist. In that case, whoever is working on the sarcasm font (or sending those folks Kool-aid in bulk).
Can we expect any future environmental hits from SSP?
Never say never. We usually don't map out our videos with that amount of planning, but if something struck us as funny, sure we'd do it. We tend to take on subjects that we can put a unique spin on, so if the right idea came along, we'd throw it in the queue and see if it rose to the top. We have three or four music vids in the works right now, and none of them seem very environmental, though they should make you laugh. If not, I'm still a billionaire. And by billionaire I mean working a full-time job.
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