As the Senior Vice President of A&R and Creative Director at Interscope Records and a dedicated creative artist, Randall "Sickamore" Medford makes magic for a living. He brought a bit of that magic with him to the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute at Harvard University for his two-day residency on April 4th and 5th.
The first day of his residency, Sickamore lent his ideas, and his ear, for an event exploring creativity and performance. Emceed by HARI Research Assistant Marcelo Hanta-Davis, the evening was a combined lecture and master class featuring three student performances. Sickamore began by breaking down the creative process and the practice of producing quality art. He interrogated what it takes to maximize one's creative potential and achieve your goals. Afterward, he provided quality feedback on performances by four undergraduate artists: Ava Brignol (Bava), Edem Girma, and HARI’s own Michael Aduboffour (MJangles) and Lincoln Hart.
On the afternoon of April 5th, The Hiphop Archive was filled with the eager energy of members of the Harvard and greater Boston communities. "For The Culture" drew such great interest that attendees began trickling in as early as an hour before the event began. As the clock passed 3 pm, anyone hoping to sneak their way in was greeted by a startling red announcement that admission was closed. This sign didn’t stop many from going a step further and pestering the Hutchins Center staff on the third floor. Unfortunately for the latecomers, this time having class, or CPT, meant missing a hallmark event for the Hiphop Archive.
In the lively two-hour dialogue with HARI Founding Director Professor Marcyliena Morgan and HARI Innovation Director Alvin B. Carter III, Sickamore humanized success by providing a glimpse into his journey. He didn't hold back in sharing both the ups and the downs, and describing the realistic cycle of opportunities and missteps. We learned about his high school mixtape hustle, and how he pumped out hundreds of tapes using a burner only capable of producing one every 20 minutes. We heard about his early experiences working with Just Blaze and managing Nicki Minaj before she blew up. We laughed at his Travis Scott stories and YG impression. We heard first-hand his hiphop and industry insights, and took notes on his five-step process to unlock and effectively channel our creativity. And when we left, we were motivated to work smarter, harder, and dream bigger so we, too, can make magic – for the culture.