The Miseducation of Central State University

My name is Tim Gmeiner. Those of you who read my blog know me as “Ill Poetic”, a Hip-Hop artist based out of Cincinnati & Columbus, Ohio. Over the past 4 years, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to pursue my artistry as a full-time career; touring and performing everywhere from Skate Parks in Germany to Community Centers in Cincinnati. One of the greatest gifts this winding career path has given me is the prospect of meeting so many people from so many different walks of life, all tied together through our common experiences and love for Hip-Hop Music and the culture surrounding it. From scene to scene and city to city, we become families of different races, genders, creeds, and sexual preferences. We’ve become a generation of kids who’ve peeled away our forefathers’ ugliest stereotypes without even realizing we were doing so. We are a culture with a wide range of values, beliefs, and life experiences, capable of exhibiting artists with messages from all ends of the spectrum; those positive, as well as those with the negative. Yet and still, a recent experience with Central State Universities Administrative faculty has shown that 25 years later, Hip-Hop as a genre, culture and community still finds itself defending its music and lifestyle to a population of people who group millions of complex, creative and intelligent people into a single negative image of the likes that Mainstream television and radio outlets project hip-hop to be.

A couple weeks ago, Central State University reached out to the “Ohio Takeover 2012 Tour” and requested we be brought in to perform at their annual Springfest Concert. We were set to be the sole headliners on the bill. For those unfamiliar with the artists on this tour, I’ll supply a quick rundown:


Myself – a Cincinnati-bred emcee & producer who has (hopefully) built a reputation for thoughtful lyricism and an overall positive message in my music, persona, image, and actions. I’ve volunteered and performed at numerous community events, local fundraisers and food drives and have actually taught a class on Hip-Hop at Miami University (there’s a reason I’m mentioning this beyond sounding like I’m full of myself, I promise).

LxE for the Uncool – A Columbus-based emcee who is nationally known for his heartfelt and introspective writing, as well as his progressive approach to hip-hop, choosing to exclude all curse words from his lyrics. A little known fact; LxE also spends time in Columbus’s Southside working to mentor at-risk kids. Not that he puts it out there like that, I just know him enough to know that this is how he chooses to spend his free time.

Finally, headliner Stalley – Not that Stalley is the first Ohio emcee to ever gain mainstream industry attention, but he may be the first overtly positive hip-hop artist to do such on his own terms: an artist who secured a major label deal with superstar Rick Ross because he told him he wanted to invest his future earnings into farmland for his family and future generations; an artist who builds his fanbase off of the Midwest Blue Collar aesthetics of staying humble, and working hard and honestly  to reach one’s goals and aspirations.

Ok, back to Central State.

Our booking company, VoiceOfRzn Management, has been handling the booking for this Ohio Takeover 2012 Tour. 2 Weeks ago, the president of Central State’s Student Government reached out to VoiceOfRzn with interest in booking this tour. They connected our booking agent with their Office of Greek Life, who put the order in motion to make our tour the official line-up for CSU’s Springfest on April 20, 2012.

As of Thursday, April 5, all things were reported to be a go, VoiceOfRzn was waiting for the final signature of approval from CSU’s Vice President of Student Affairs. Instead, our agent received an email stating CSU was no longer interested in bringing our tour their campus. This seemed highly odd, as they’d been all for it up until that point, and to change course two weeks away from the show at the last possible second didn’t sit right.


I was informed last night (Friday, April 6), that the Vice President of Student Affairs chose to veto our show because we’re Hip-Hop artists, and he didn’t want “our negativity” influencing the CSU Student Body. Instead, he preferred them to just “put some R&B artists on” instead. We would continue to find out that the VP has not reviewed any of our music, videos, or bios and is not interested in finding out who we are and what any of us stand for. He would be more comfortable canceling CSU’s annual Springfest Concert than having us perform.

   Now, I only know this to be the deciding factor by the reasons given to myself and our booking agent, and if so I commend his efforts to be cognizant of images and influences they subject the CSU Student Body to, but to deny access to an entire preeminent form of art solely off of an unwarranted stereotype of what “Hip-Hop artists” are and represent comes off as a very close-minded opinion to say the least. If he had taken the time to do any research on us as artists, it would be clear to him that we are precisely the type of artists that they should want the student body to be aware of, which present an alternative to all of the negative examples rampantly available to them each day. Not to mention, R&B isn’t exactly a beacon of piousness and purity rings. But I digress.

I want to write this to the CSU student body population: Before the CSU faculty announces that we will be unable to perform at your Springfest, I as an artist set to be on this bill would like to tell you we were stereotyped out of performing at your college. We were all extremely excited to give you an amazing and positive experience on April 20th. We’ve already begun work on band rehearsals, set visuals, lighting and other performance elements designed to give you all as great an experience as we can.

So I ask all CSU Students who were looking forward to your Springfest Concert this year to peacefully and eloquently write, call, email and converse with your Student Affairs Office (specifically the Vice President) on why he feels a group of artists he’s never actually researched would cast a negative influence on your delicate college minds. Present him and them with examples of progressive hip-hop. You have the power and right to demand of your faculty an open mind to all forms of art, music and culture. You have the power and right to demand of your faculty the same things they demand of you: a dedication to learn about that of which they’re ignorant.

If you enjoy Hip-Hop you are Hip-Hop. When Hip-Hop as an art form is stereotyped, the entire culture is stereotyped, regardless of race, class, or gender. I’m not writing this out of anger, but out of a need to help those with outdated and false views of what we represent to see what and who we are. We are a complex, thoughtful, creative and intelligent population and deserve to be treated as such.

Central State University Facebook Page

Department of Student Affairs Contact Page (office numbers are available)

Department of Student Affairs Email Address

– P.S. – In my years of performing, I’ve never once called out nor do I ever plan to call out a promoter or institution for poor business practices. If something isn’t handled properly, we settle it behind closed doors. However, I felt compelled to write this because  an entire genre and culture, not to mention the CSU student body is affected by this decision for practices I feel to be bias and unfair.


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Posted in Business, Editorial, Hip-Hop, ill poetic, Music, Shows
  • Wow. That is serious.

  • I know Dr Briggs and this article is very misleading…Ill Poetic I challenge you to call Dr Briggs..He actually signed your contract only to have the students come back and request a change of artists. The University choose book another hip-hop act on request of the students..nothing more nothing less. Let’s do our due diligence before we attack and close a bridge for other artists who would like to perform at CSU.

  • Mallory Hart

     As President of the Student Government Association at Central State University, I am very disappointed by this misleading article about our great institution and my Vice President of Student Affairs. Our VP of Student Affairs is very supportive in regards to anything that student body wants to pursue. You were misinformed about the reason as to why we no longer decided to move forward with your performance. It has nothing to do with stereotypes of Hip Hop artists or anything of that nature being that we have had several Hip Hop and rap artists in the past. The student body did not respond well to the option of your performance. As an artist, I understand that your work is very important to you and I respect that, but please know all the facts before you call our institution “miseducated”. We pride our self in meeting the student’s needs from all different walks of life and we will continue to do so.

  • None

    Hey, Tim why so mad? The reason Central State didn’t send you guys a contract to insure that you would come to the school was the fact are student body doesn’t know WHO YOU ARE!!! CSU has had plenty of music artist come to our university and perform from NWA to Travis Porter. Please don’t slander are institution because you haven’t garner enough notoriety yet, not saying that you won’t have a epic career. However, if you take to a blog to bad mouth someone or a establishment when something doesn’t go your way you look petty and weak. CSU is a small college and your harsh critism is detrimental to that small HBCU surviving.

  • Aniquethomas

    I am a active student at Central State University and in actuality you are miseducated. We cancelled your performance not bases on stereotypes about hip hop but because majority of our students did not want you as our performer. Majority rules and SGA is a advocate for what students want. Before you try to slander our institution please get your facts in order. We never talked you in the first place, we talked to your middle man. Our institution has great rich history we are a strong HBCU so how dare you call our institution miseducated because we decided to change out artist. It wasn’t about stereotypes it was about what WE the student body wanted! Don’t be upset and make blogs because that makes you look un professional.

  • Anonymous

    As someone who personally knows ill po i find it hard to believe that he would just make some ish up  just cause hes sour that he didn’t get a show. Rejection is not something he would be unaccustomed to as long as hes been in the game, comes with the territory. What it more sounds like is that someone wasn’t honest with the “middle man” about the reason CSU was pulling out, trying to let’em down easy by passin the buck, then got caught up b/c ill is not one to let a perceived injustice pass lightly and generally writes about things occurring in his life. Seemed to me he was trying to speak up in support of the CSU students and SGA in this case in response to the explanation given. Note to the faculty member delivering the message, in such cases, honesty is always the best policy. It won’t hurt the artist’s feelings if you say the students requested otherwise. idk, just my two cents. 

  • Illpoetic

    I’m going to try and address all the comments below in one brief overview:

    I appreciate and respect all CSU students and administration who have taken the time to thoughtfully express their views on this subject, however, I feel none of you have quite fully read or digested the point of my letter. I’ll try to summarize the chain of events here to hopefully help everyone understand why I wrote this letter:

    Back in November, our booking agent originally reached out to CSU for interest in booking our tour in February of 2012. Though talks began and folks at CSU seemed genuinely interested, they eventually stalled.

    Suddenly, 3 weeks ago, CSU reached back out to our booking agent with extreme interest in booking the tour. They stated that Student polling showed interest in our tour (Obviously, I’m assuming Stalley moreso than myself). Business continued quickly, as Springfest was quickly approaching.  CSU stated they would like to move forward with the tour pending one final approval. All business was handled properly on our booking agents end.

    At the last minute, our booking agent recieved a very casual email stating they would no longer be bringing the tour. 


    The follow-up reason that CSU gave to our booking agent was:

    A conservative upper-level of folks who did not want any hip-hop events playing at CSU due to previous problems. 

    This is what we were told by CSU, hence the letter. 

    Now, if our tour never polled well with the students, that would be fine and understood. But to reach out to us specifically, state already that we polled to strong, positive results, then give us two conflicting answers on why CSU chose to back out (first due to “hip-hop’s negative influence”, then due to weak response from students) does not feel right.

    So, again, I wrote this letter as a response to the reasons given by CSU Adminstration. If I and my bookikng agent were misinformed, it was by CSU Adminstration. Thus, the issue still resides with CSU Adminstration.

    I seriously have no ill personal feelings toward any of you. I’ve been through much worse with many a promoter and have never publicly spoke on it. However, when the initial reason given is due to a specific adminstration’s view on a wide genre of music and culture that we help to represent, I feel I have to speak on it. I feel as if I wrote the letter with a level head, and was as respectful as possible to all CSU staff, faculty and student body.

    Hopefully, this addendum will help clear up whatever miscommunication sparked this in the first place.

  • Aniquethomas

    You still were wrong in saying that our institution was “miseducated” because we certainly are not! That’s offensive you don’t know anyone of us here. Before you make a blog, talk to the administrator you felt stereotyped by first. That would have been the respectful thing to do, not publize our institution and slander our name. That was really un professional! We have hip hop artist perform all the time at major events, we just decided on a different artist. If the tables were turned you wouldn’t want to be called miseducated. You would want us to talk it out with you first before slandering your name right?

  • reader

    everyone got on the defensive. no one payed attention to the big picture of what you were saying. in short, if what the middle man told ill was indeed what was said then this post is justified (not to mention it is his blog and his opinion. like it or not.) if, however what the middle man told ill was indeed a fabrication it is a misunderstanding and would leave this blog as null and void because it was created from false information. in such a situation the best thing is to kick the middle man in the butt cheeks one swift time and keep it movin. fact is at the time this was written ill was reacting off of the information that he had received – information from, what he thought was, a reliable source – information that made it seem like the student body wasn’t getting what they want. he was writing it for the students and hiphop fans to call them to arms to fight for what they wanted. it wasn’t not doing the show that tugged at ills heart. (one show isn’t going to take food off his plate.) it was the fact that he felt like the students were being cheated, which has been known to happen often concerning hiphop acts because of the negative air that floats over ‘hiphop’ music. le sigh. i see where you were coming from ill, but slap your middle man one time. lol. it shouldn’t be that difficult to see that you were really being unselfish and trying to help. what if the information wasn’t delivered wrong and the students really wanted Ohio Take Over to perform (which is what ill was told and believed) and you read this? you would be outraged and signing petitions to get them back on the bill. what if the information wasn’t delivered wrong and the students really wanted Ohio Take Over to perform, but he never wrote this blog about it? no one would know the truth and would just be at a loss as to why they didn’t get to see stalley, ill and le. its not just black and white text. look for the #yellow.

  • Phoenix

    Dear CSU …as a fan of Hip Hop and a VERY biased fan of iLL Po…let me talk to you for a second.  
    Without all the facts – all I can do is read what I’m reading, assess some thoughts, and voice my opinion based on what I know/what I’m interpreting through others and their comments.  In doing so, I’ve come to see this situation with what I believe to be a pretty accurate assessment:  No matter how I look at this…you guys lose.I’m NOT trying to be arrogant, or short – but honestly – “Ya’ll f@cked up”. (LxE doesn’t cuss…cool…I do) Plain and simple – whether the university chose to shut this tour down OR your student body chose to shut this down…you STILL lose.  Why?  Cause you guys just denied the opportunity to see Stalley, LxE for the Uncool, and iLL Poetic!!!  Simply put:  If you don’t know…I won’t try to explain.  All I can say to this is: “For who?  Who is the artist you guys settled on?  I gotta know.” I don’t care what the reason for denying the tour was (I’ll address that in a second) – I just wanna know who you’re “student body” chose instead?  I mean…I’ll be the first to admit that I know music is as much individual as it is universal, but you’re telling me the CSU student body and/or leaders of the university just said “Nah…” to 3 of the top 10 performers coming out of Ohio in 2012??(…and that’s a conservative statistic cause I don’t have time to argue about why it’s really the “Top 3 out 5″).  I have a problem with that and again…”Why” and “For Who”??Also, since you seem to be so informed on what REALLY happened…how many people from your student body were represented in the decision making process?10?? 100??? 1000?? EVERYONE that goes to school there?? This is an important stat that should be shared, no??  I mean…I suppose if everyone in the school cafeteria dropped off their votes and the Ohio Takeover Tour didn’t make the cut, then yeah, that would constitute a majority/fair ruling of denying what was previously agreed on (another bogus point to this story – REGARDLESS of why the show was cancelled). So I ask you, how many people “voted”/represented themselves in this decision making process?? Until I know the process in detail and have some factual data representing your “decision”…not only do YOU LOSE, but YOU’RE WRONG.       1)  You’re wrong in your musical preference (“I joke, I joke…”)      2) You’re wrong in your assessment of Ill Poetic’s initial commentary and…      3) From what I can tell…You’re wrong in your current understanding of this situation.How do I know, FOR FACT, that you’re wrong?Most obvious explanation??  I actually know Tim (Surprise!!) and I know Tim would never compromise himself or his art by writing a review of the this situation that falsely accuses your institution of stereotyping an entire community.  And I know he wouldn’t do that b/c Tim is not Dumb, Jealous, or overtly controversial.  Writing a false account of what has happened here, specifically to the magnitude of what Tim has wrote, would be all of the above.  So I’ll go out on a limb and say that I trust Tim on this one. How do I know you’re wrong(cont’d)???  B/C it doesn’t take a GENIUS to know that upon being accused of such a “miseducation” – an institution of higher learning is not going to admit anytime soon that they’ve stereotyped an entire community…whether they have or haven’t. See story line below…      Accuser:   “Hey CSU!!!  You guy’s just stereotyped an entire culture…”       CSU: “You’re right…and we’re sorry.  We absolutely shut down this event due to an opinion that was not only uninformed and ignorant, but, it didn’t take into consideration the feelings of our students either.  We’re sorry and we promise to watch more      Hip Hop videos in the future.”  That sounds pretty unbelievable right?  WHICH IS WHY TIM SPOKE UP!!!! I won’t speak for him, but I’m guessing that his thought process went something like this…       “Well, I got people/fans that are going to be upset that we’re not going to be performing at this show. I’ve been practicing hard to prepare for this show as it WAS ALREADY AGREED UPON…and now I have this for my written reason as to why the         show was cancelled:  “A conservative upper-level of folks who did not want any hip-hop events playing at CSU due to previous problems”  You know what??  This is B/S and I should probably say something.  If not for our fans that were excited to see us, for        ALL the fans across the world that are constantly subjected to this type of treatment from people “outside” the spectrum of Hip Hop.”Seems logical enough, no?  Is potentially worth an applaud, right?? Well, some of you have made it quite clear…and I quote: “I am a active student at Central State University and in actuality you are miseducated. We cancelled your performance not bases on stereotypes about hip hop but because majority of our students did not want you as our performer.”But why the signed contract in the 1st place then??  And I quote:  “I know Dr Briggs and this article is very misleading…Ill Poetic I challenge you to call Dr Briggs..He actually signed your contract…”So…to all those students of CSU who are MORE INFORMED ON THIS DECISION THAN ILL POETIC (A man who actually SIGNED the contract and has a documented reason as to the cancellation) – Did the contract get signed before the vote…or after?  Cause ya’ know what?  If by some chance – you guys signed a contract before getting approval from you well represented student body – that would be a miseducation of Business 101…c’mon…The facts are simple when I look at this: – Someone of some authority books the tour and the “upper-levels” don’t want it so… -Tour gets cancelled – Tim writes about  the realities seen from HIS perspective and… – There’s now some backlash towards his writings being unfair and wrong.  People, Ill Po is trying to stand up for you…I think it’s very easy to understand what’s happened here IMO but I gotta go…   

    Long Story Short, and b/c I don’t have time to be writing this, CSU…you guys missed out.  That much…I KNOW!!!

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous