The Washington Times-Herald

The "Z" Watch

March 13, 2013

Cody Zeller inspires rap songs

BLOOMINGTON — If you've ever attended an IU basketball home game during the last two seasons, you may have heard the popular sing-along "This is Indiana" blaring from the speakers.

Played at Bloomington college parties, heard in bars and watched on YouTube - with almost 2 million views - Brice Fox and Daniel Weber's "This is Indiana" might be familiar to anyone living in Bloomington.

Fox and Weber were previously known to many in the IU community as Chi Chi Lightning and Tino Esposito, personas from several YouTube videos they created prior to their successful "This is Indiana" hit in early January. The IU athletic department gave the duo access to archival footage of old basketball games and permission to film at Assembly Hall and Cook Hall, the basketball team's practice facility.

Fox, who was joined by Weber in Los Angeles to pursue a music career after graduation, still gets feedback from friends who hear the light-rap song in even New York or Chicago bars.

"I know it's something that a lot of students and basketball fans look forward to seeing at pretty much every halftime," said Fox, who graduated from IU in 2011. Fox added that sales for the song on iTunes pick up around the basketball season, especially this season.

But Fox and Weber aren't the only two who've turned to music to express their pride for IU Hoosier basketball. Songs about all-star Cody Zeller seem just as likely to gain national attention.

Three YouTube videos about Zeller, each with well over 1,000 views, pop up in searches, The Herald-Times reported (http://bit.ly/ZffWMV ). With the most views is "The Big Handsome Anthem" by Joby Wright & Bo'z N Da Hood. The video stands out due to its catchy notes and the fact that Zeller clearly seems to be a participant in the filming that took place about one year ago. The lyrics "Cody's so large and aesthetically pleasing/the mover is here/this is our season," describe Zeller as "The Big Handsome," a nickname Wright said friends gave him before they thought of the idea for the song.

"But it was kind of cool to see people respond the way they have," Wright said. "And it's been really cool the way students have supported us. It's been a great process."

IU basketball is ingrained in Wright's childhood. His father was a former assistant coach to Bob Knight for nine years, which included the 1987 championship in New Orleans.

"The Big Handsome Anthem" gained compliance from the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and Wright said he and the group did the video because Zeller endorsed it.

In January of this year, the rap song "Cody Zeller" by a three-man group from Gary called Number 1 Playaz played during the CBS Sports' "Inside College Basketball" during an 11 p.m. broadcast. Although the three guys don't have any affiliation with IU, or IU basketball, they saw making a song about Zeller and IU sports as a quick way to get exposure.

"It will also give (Zeller) a song to motivate him before his games and stuff," said Jerry Haymon Jr., one of the group members whose group name is Playo.

Does he listen to these songs to personally prepare for his games? Wright is sure he listens to "The Big Handsome Anthem."

"Cody is in video, so Cody was listening to ours," Wright said. "But he's a good kid."

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