D-Style Brings New Style to Campus Music Scene

By Caitlyn Karol | 5/22/14 3:00am

Freestyle rap as a performance style is largely a rarity across the Ivy League and the real world alike, with only a few other groups in existence. Recently, I sat down with four members of new on-campus freestyle group D-Style — Mike Haughey ’15, Alec Tarantino ’16, Carter Bastian ’17 and Josh Koenig ’16 — to discuss their first year performing on campus.

The group, Tarantino said, started out performing for their friends casually.

“Last year it was me, Josh and two other ’16s just freestyling at pre-games,” he said. “We thought it might be something that people would like to hear, so we did a trial show for our friends and it worked.”

D-Style ended up booking fall shows at Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority and Psi Upsilon fraternity. From there, Tarantino said, the group took off. This term, they’ve added to their initial success with a large show at Alpha Delta fraternity.

In addition to performing at Greek houses, D-Style has performed at Friday Night Rock, opened for (and received a shout-out from) rapper Kitty Pryde and performed at charity events like Relay for Life.

They also accompany well-known campus groups — the Dodecs, the Cords and Sheba. The enthusiastic campus reception has made the process feel surreal.

“We’re performing as a group that was formed about a year ago with these groups that have long-standing traditions on campus, and we’re just loving it,” Haughey said. “We kind of feel invincible where we are right now, and the sky is the limit.”

It is perhaps the “unique and specific” form of freestyling D-Style uses that has contributed most to their success, Tarantino said.

“[You have to get] up there and [try] to rap based off words you just got from the audience,” he said. “I think that is what a lot of the draw is, people just really appreciate it and we appreciate having the venue to showcase this talent.”

For now, they are working to branch out on their style, Bastian said.

“We’re videotaping our shows, seeing how we’re rapping and how we’re performing and supporting each other on stage, just making sure we’re getting better and better,” Haughey added.

The members emphasized the fun they have performing, and that they don’t take themselves too seriously.

D-Style is looking to expand across campus, perform at different venues and for different people, hold more auditions and develop even more as a group.

“As long as we’re having fun we’ll keep branching out, doing different things, adding people to our group,” Haughey said. “We’re not really limited to anything.”

Josh Koenig is a member of The Dartmouth Staff.

Caitlyn Karol