Alumnus makes rap video to enter in YouTube contest

Graduate, get a job, start making rap videos. It may not be the future that every TCU student has in mind, but that’s the way it has turned out for one 2006 graduate. On March 30, Chip Hanna, a TCU alumnus who works at an advertising agency in Fort Worth, submitted a rap video to YouTube and entered himself into a contest to win $25,000.

Hanna, who graduated with a degree in advertising and public relations, is one of 370 entrants in a contest sponsored by TurboTax, a tax preparation computer program.

The contest, called the Tax Rap, accepted entries until March 30 in the form of two-minute-long rap videos submitted to YouTube. Online viewers were allowed to vote for their favorite rap about TurboTax until April 8, at which time the top 13 videos were submitted to be judged by Vanilla Ice.

Hanna said the idea to enter came from an e-mail he received with updates about happenings in the advertising world.

“I saw that Vanilla Ice was sponsoring a contest for TurboTax and I was like, ‘I could write some phat rhymes,'” Hanna said. “I just sat down one night and started writing stuff down and I decided to enter it.”

The final product, called “Hip Hop Tax Blues”, is a music video tour through Fort Worth with Hanna’s rap alias, White Chocolate Chip.

Though the alumnus said the video was made in an afternoon, his friend Whitney Barnard, a junior communications studies and radio-TV-film major, said she was genuinely impressed with it.

“It wasn’t just like ‘I am going to film you while you sing this little thing you made up,'” Barnard said. “It had great camera angles and lots of awesome cuts and there were different themes through the whole thing.”

Still, winning the contest requires more than resurrecting an old Halloween costume – which was the inspiration for the White Chocolate Chip character – it takes good camera work.

Hanna made groups on Facebook and MySpace in an effort to garner votes and the video has caught on at his job at the Balcom Agency, an advertising agency in Fort Worth, and at his church, Grapevine’s Fellowship Church.

But the aspiring rapper said he thinks his work paid off.

“I am pretty confident that I made it into the top 13 because I had a lot of views on YouTube compared to most other people,” Hanna said. “But after I get past that round, it’s not up to me.”

After the first round, it’s up to Vanilla Ice to pick the grand prize winner and a panel of judges will select the winners of first and second prizes, $5,000 and $1,000 respectively.

Win or lose, Hanna did his part to expose TCU to the Tax Rap world by wearing a TCU hat as part of his White Chocolate Chip costume.

“I think it’s great exposure because it really shows how creative and outgoing our students are,” said Hanna’s friend Shannon Ferguson, a senior advertising/public relations major. “Him putting together this advertisement, still being in the Fort Worth area and wearing that hat – I mean you couldn’t ask for a better example of what our ad students can do.”

Though Hanna didn’t fully attribute his hat choice to a desire to advertise TCU, he did say it was a consideration.

The alumnus said he wore the hat because it is one of the only hats he has and because a rapper would never wear a TCU hat.

“I thought I would give some shout outs to TCU,” he said.