PROVO — Rap history may be made next week in true Provo fashion — with a white guy, “Lord of the Rings” and a barnyard worth of sock puppets.
“In today’s world you need to make a splash,” said Joshua Palmer, a rapper who attends Brigham Young University. “You need to get out there somehow, get people to notice you, and that is pretty hard to do.”
Palmer, a senior studying commercial music, plans to break the Guinness World Record for the longest rap marathon completed by an individual next week by rapping for 30 continuous hours at Lowes Xtreme Airsports in Provo.
He first got into hip hop because of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s song “White & Nerdy,” a parody of the song “Ridin” by Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone.
“It was like me,” Palmer said. “I am visually impaired, I have type 2 albinism, so I am about as white as you can get.”
Palmer is fully aware that when people think of a rapper, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t a BYU student.
“You don’t typically think of Mormons rapping,” he said.
He wrote his first rap song in high school for an English project. It was called “Pro Sports are Stupid,” a position, he said, he’s now softened on.
He’s involved in two musical projects, which includes performing under the stage name Jee Mingus, a name that’s a play off his own first name and is a nod to his affinity for jazz music and Charles Mingus.
The second is Sockhampton, a sock puppet rap group. The group is made up of fictional band members — who are all farm animal sock puppets — and led by a goat named Scruffy, who is “from the meadow” and sells actual grass. Scruffy stars in the music video for “Actual GOAT,” a song that takes hip hop tropes and turns them into goat puns. The video, Palmer’s most popular, has amassed about 5,000 views.
The group’s name is a pun off the group Brockhampton and is a concept similar to the Gorillaz, where every band member is fictional.
“It was something fun, something different,” Palmer said. “Nobody is doing this right now.”
But music is risky. Palmer knows he’ll never have a traditional 9-to-5 job and can expect to spend years making material, failing, and continuing to push forward. It’s why he began looking up hip hop world records and eyeing what could be possible as a way to get his name out there and recruit fans.
The current Guinness World Record for the longest rap marathon completed by an individual is held by Pablo Alvarez, who rapped for 25 hours, 56 minutes and four seconds in August 2017.
“I was like, that’s absurd, but that’s not impossible,” Palmer said.
He’s allowed five minutes of rest for every hour he spends rapping. He plans on drinking water, consuming some form of caffeine that won’t ruin his voice and eating a little bit throughout the attempt. As for if he’ll wear an adult diaper to power through long stretches, Palmer said that decision will depend on how intense he’s feeling.
He’ll draw from two hours worth of songs for material, will freestyle and plans to rap by reading from “The Lord of the Rings,” “Harry Potter” and the “Odyssey.” The puppets will also be on hand.
The attempt will give him hours of practice that he said will make him a better rapper.
“I am hoping at the end of this I will have a little bit better grasp on the art form,” he said.
Palmer plans to perform from 11 a.m. Thursday to 5 p.m. Friday at Lowes Xtreme Airsports in Provo. Admission will be $15 a person to jump in the area where Palmer is performing and $5 to go in and watch. Some proceeds from the event will go to charity.