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Lawnparties: Cannon Club Student Performances

This weekend, Cannon will feature not one, but two, student performers to hype up the crowd before Travis Porter takes the stage to drag some indecently preppy Lawnparties-goers down into a bawdy bump-and-grind with some dirty rap from down South.

John Wolfe ’14 and Elijah Mitchell ’14 will share the Cannon stage, starting at 1:15 pm. Wolfe, who still collaborates with his freshman year roommate Eric Rehe ’14 to handle the more technical production aspects and administrative managerial elements of the music, will perform his own original raps on Sunday.

Wolfe is also a senior writer for the Sports section of The Daily Princetonian.

Although Wolfe has cycled through a few stage names and finally settled on Weston Gates, he’ll perform under his given name this weekend, as always including a shout out to Fort. Sons (short for Fortunate Sons), the music crew that he fronts.

“I changed names a bunch and finally settled on that one as a kind of over-the-top waspy, prep-school kid moniker,” Wolfe — originally a member of the Class of 2013 — said of his stage name in an email interview. “Weston is actually my hometown, and Gates is partially a reference to the Fitz-Randolph Gates (which kept me from graduating in 2013!), partially a nod to Bill Gates and again just something I thought evoked old money/East Egg imagery.”

Wolfe stays true to the prep school kid image in his music that students can preview through free streaming on the Fort. Sons website. The site features rough takes of the first four tracks off of Wolfe’s impending EP “Bored of Education,” which he hopes will drop for free under his stage name Weston Gates on Dean’s Date.

His witty verses feel reminiscent of the best Hoodie Allen lyrics, but Wolfe often delivers them with a flow that has a bit more urgency and anger than the archetypal Ivy Leaguer-turned-rapper. Although his repertoire shows that Wolfe can cool down his delivery when he wants on songs like “Steam of Consciousness,” other songs feature an Eminem-style irritation layered with critiques of expensive, elitist education and the expectations of the life that comes with it.

“The stuff I wrote sort of became the satirical musings slash jokes of a prep school kid loving life but feeling kind of restless,” Wolfe said of the songs he penned for his upcoming EP.

That restlessness certainly comes out in his music, where Wolfe shines brightest when he spits out discontented wordplay about pop culture and current events, his life at the University and our impending collective future in finance. Oh, and sex, of course.

Although Wolfe occasionally still struggles to uphold the image of a well-practiced rapper on songs with faster beats like “Ivy 101” where listeners can clearly hear Wolfe trying to keep up with the quicker tempo he imposes on certain verses, the fresh artist’s sound never falls into the muddled dribble that many rookie rappers produce due to poor annunciation.

With that milestone already passed, I personally have high hopes for Wolfe and Fortunate Sons Music, both for their first live performance this Sunday and for their future in rap. Although we typically choose a few key tracks for readers to listen to before the show, I suggest visiting the group’s website and listening to them all. I couldn’t pick a favorite if I tried (although I currently have “The Bar Exam” looped up on repeat).

Mitchell did not respond to request for comment. He will also perform at Cannon this Sunday as an opener for Travis Porter. His mixtape “Studies and Sins” dropped this March.

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