University radio station ‘breaks’ out hip-hop show


Senior entertainment industry major Deveron “D” Dennis will host “The Breaks,” a new segment of WUSM-FM that will air Sundays from 10 p.m. to midnight starting March 27.

The show will incorporate old-school hip-hop and R&B, discussions on today’s controversial topics and spiels on black culture. Dennis said the majority of the music he chose to be played during the show will feature the time periods after 1975 and before 2007.

“I saw that there was a lack of diversity on the station,” Dennis said. “There wasn’t a lot of hip-hop being played.”

William Foley, president of Golden Eagle Sound and Production said the show will incorporate in- depth questions relating with hip- hop and black culture.

“It’s pretty much all I listen to,” Dennis said. “I listen to a few other new artists like J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Childish Gambino, but a lot of the artists now aren’t speaking real English.”

Because of his critical attitude toward modern-day hip-hop and R&B, Dennis decided he would not be joining the same bandwagon as other radio stations, such as WZLD in Hattiesburg and play contemporary music.

“The whole thing with me going to the old-school hip-hop was different,” Dennis said.

When he asked his companions what they thought about his plan to play old-school music, Dennis said they agreed that radio shows do not play that style of music anymore. General manager of WUSM-FM, Justin Martin sent out an email asking if anyone was interested in hosting an indie hip-hop show to the students of the School of Mass Communication and Journalism in December.

“I decided to dive into the opportunity just to see if I would get it, and I ended up getting the job,” Dennis said.

It was proposed to be an indie hip-hop show, but after Dennis talked to a few friends who were not so fond of the idea, he changed the theme of the show to hip-hop.

“The more ‘noes’ I would get, I knew what I was going to do,” Dennis said. “I would see if I could turn the indie hip-hop show into a classic hip-hop and R&B show.”

After discussing the change of plans with Martin, Dennis received the OK. From there, Dennis tried to keep the original idea and incorporate indie hip- hop by allowing various artists from around the Hattiesburg area to submit their music. This would give Dennis and his show crew an opportunity to see if the public reacted positively to that music style.

“I think it will bring diversity to the station, because I don’t think we have anything like that since we play a lot of blues and jazz than hip- hop,” said Sara Littleton, host for the Sunday Brunch on WUSM.“It’s going to be great.”

The show will also have a segment called “What Would You Do?” where the hosts ask Southern Miss students what they would do if they were in certain situations.

Since he graduates in December, Dennis wanted to leave his legacy at Southern Miss and believes taking the position as host of “The Break” will fulfill that legacy.

My goal is just to keep it [the show] going,” Dennis said.

Dennis’ co-host is senior criminal justice major Sharain Bruce who initially suggested Dennis to apply as host for the show.

“We work together, and she got the same email I did and she knows the type of person I am and knows I can come up with different ideas,” Dennis said. “She came to me and said she would be my co-host.”

So far, Dennis has compiled all of the show’s music, come up with ideas for different segments and contacted people he wants to interview for the show.

“It’s not a talk show, but we will have a segment where Sharain and I interview different people around campus who have an opinion or influence on pop or hip-hop culture,” he said.

Dennis will speak on Southern Miss Today on WUSM radio on March 24 to promote “The Breaks.”

The show has been in the works since January. The host and his crew will record Tuesday and Thursday mornings in preparation for the show to air on Sundays. The first people that will be interviewed are two actors from the theatre department who will discuss the white Oscar’s controversy, what it is like to be a black actor and the challenges that accompany. Dennis said listeners can expect the first show to cover the presidential race and other controversial topics.

“Whatever’s hot, we’re going to talk about it,” Dennis said.

Dennis said the show will allow listeners to see the other side.

“When I first came here, I noticed a racial divide,” he said. “I want the whites to see how the blacks feel on campus.”

“There is an imbalance of equality in our community and throughout the rest of the United States, and it’s a touchy topic too,” Foley said.

For listeners wanting to contact the staff, a Twitter account for the show will be created, but in the meantime, music requests and opinions can be sent to [email protected]