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An upstart creativity group aims to showcase UAlbany talent

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Podcasts crackle with the sound of poetry, laughs float up to the comic on stage, and finally, the party is packed with countless people going crazy over the new mixtape of University at Albany rap artists. This is the goal of the university’s artists collective, Culture Shock and the dream of their president, Alvin McNiell.

Culture shock aims to highlight student artists of all different backgrounds and skills, from poets, to singers, and comedians, bringing them under one space to showcase their talents.

“It’s not just a club, it’s a brand,” McNiell said.

To date, the club’s big accomplishment is the Culture Shock Party, which took place in the Campus Center Ballroom at the beginning of this semester. The party had over 600 people in attendance and featured some of the university’s best DJs and rappers.

“I definitely wanna do a Culture Shock Two party,” said McNiell. “It’ll probably happen on Halloween weekend.”

Involved in the club are some of UAlbany’s most talented musical artists including D.J. Tekk whose Caribbean style is closest to another UA artist, Jedo. There’s also the rap artists JD, whose style resembles the tight knit, jam packed bars a New York rapper. There’s also Paris whose poetic lines are reminiscent of rappers like Nas.

In addition to their massive parties, Culture Shock produces a professionally made mixtape featuring rappers or artists to showcase their unique talents. In addition, there are a number of other podcasts and videos created by Culture Shock that features these artists. There’s no limit to the amount of talent either.

“You could go to another club and be a part of the back drop there. Or you could come to Culture Shock and be a pillar in the forefront, an independent pillar,” McNiell said.

The club also features creative outlets for Albany’s up and coming young writers.

“I wanna bring more creative writers together. Originally that’s what I made the club for,” McNeill said.

Culture Shock has created Poetically, a weekly podcast series in which writers can feature their poems or short stories to a wide audience.

While comedians are also featured on the Poetically podcast, McNeill wants to expand the presence of their talent in the club and hopes to draw more from the student body, who he is positive is full of funny people.

“There’s so many fun people on campus, each squad has a funny person in the group. If we could just get one half or one third to join Culture Shock, it would make it much much funnier,” McNeill said.

Thoughts of the Crossgates comedy club, The Funny Bone and Lucky Strike’s Jupiter Hall, aren’t far off his radar either, “Jupiter Hall would be a great place to host the Poetically stage show, or even the Culture Shock Two festival.”

Albany, features a huge assortment of musical and artistic talent, to the point where there’s always something to do.

The magnitude of the scene can be intimidating to some looking to get involved, leaving them unsure where to start and making them question if there’s any room for them.

Culture Shock offers up the perfect solution. With friendly members and a number of talented artists to work with and learn from, Culture Shock a great example of students taking Albany’s cultural scene by storm.

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