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Notre Dame’s own gets ‘Shagnasty’

Emily Tumbrink, Assistant Scene Editor | Thursday, April 1, 2004

A far cry from other notable “fair-skinned” rappers, including Vanilla Ice, Eminem and Bubba Sparxx, Notre Dame’s own Brian “B Shags” Shaughnessy, a resident assistance in Stanford Hall, has already established his reputation through regular Acousticafe performances. Fans craving more of this unique artist no longer have to wait patiently for Thursday nights. B Shags has now released his debut album, Stream of Conscience, on his very own label, Tight Yo Records, and has a new album in the works tentatively titled Shagglerock. Though Stream of Conscience cannot quite compare to the overall experience of Shags’ live performances – just a sign of Shags’ chops as an entertainer – it is a solid effort from an aspiring rapper.With the help of producer J. Dizzy, a friend from Indianapolis, and armed with beats downloaded from the Internet, Shags recorded Stream of Conscience by covering his head with a towel to block out any background noise while saying his rhymes into a mic connected to his computer.On the first track of the album, “Stream of Conscience,” B Shags invites listeners to “come spend a day in the shoes that [he’s] stepping in,” in order to better understand whom he is and why he rhymes. Eschewing the stereotypes set by other rap artists, B Shags acknowledges that he is not a thug, and claims instead that “God sent [him] here to love and not to judge.” This introductory track gives listeners a good sense of who Shags is and separates him from the herd of other rappers who try to protect their “tough-guy” images.However, after his relatively wholesome introduction, Shags urges us to get “Shagnasty,” with a more upbeat and traditional pop-rap track. Describing his music as a “Midwest thang,” B Shags displays qualities of more radio-friendly rappers, including lyrics about “sippin’ on forties” and cars rolling on “dubs,” while also maintaining his own unique (read: preppy white guy) persona.”All I Need” shows a softer and more spiritual side of B Shags, and is akin in many ways to “Stream of Conscience.” These two tracks display more honesty than any of the other songs, and reveal B Shags’ own personality and values rather than the emphasis on alcohol, sex and money found in the lyrics of many of his other rhymes. In this track, Shags gives thanks to God and his family for helping him throughout his life, and urging him to be the best person he can be. “What’s your life goals? / I was told to set the bar high / I’m trying to reach the sky and make the stars mine / but only so I can pass ’em along / on to y’all in gratitude for making me strong.”B Shags debut album, Stream of Conscience, possesses many qualities of the average Domer. Containing elements of intelligence, spirituality and preppiness with a measure of mild illegal activity all wrapped up in a wannabe thug exterior, the album could easily be a candidate for “Best All Around.”

Contact Emily Tumbrink at etumbrin@nd.edu