Straight Outta Virginia

Charting The Grooves with William and Mary’s Hip Hop Collection

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The College of William and Mary’s enthusiasm for this Hip Hop Collection notwithstanding, its future is uncertain. Kevin Kosanovich may or may not be at Swem much longer. There are hopes to bring him in for a year on a part-time basis, but that (or anything further) requires donors, honoraria, sponsorships—the usual academic funding stuff. In the meantime, the rap-minded redhead is looking for a real job.         

“Obviously, if Kevin left, we’d have to rethink our approach,” Gaidmore says. “But whether Kevin is here or not, we’re fully committed to him, and to the hip hop community, to keep the collection going.”         

“I’d love to stay,” the man himself says. “But I may get a position somewhere else.”         

When I trade a firm handshake goodbye with Kosanovich, outside of Swem library, it’s still sweltering. But my head is clearer and I have a newfound respect for the inclusionary nature of cultural institutions set in idyllic locales. I also have no doubt in my mind that, if the man behind the college’s Hip-Hop Collection should leave for, say, the University of Dayton, that there will be a burgeoning Ohio Hip-Hop Collection developing very, very soon. Kevin Kosanovich doesn’t just have mad skills; he’s a builder.         

Driving out of Williamsburg with the AC on, I flip around on the radio and eventually run into the closing minute of “Happy,” the gazillion-selling hit that Pharrell released last year. I’ve heard it played so many times that I almost can’t process it anymore. But listening again, I very quickly realize that Ike Owens is right—it’s the drums, those Virginia drums. And the beat goes on.

Click here for more on the William and Mary Hip Hop Collection. If you have materials or information to contribute, contact Swem Library Special Collections at

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