CONCORD, N.H. (Jan. 6, 2012) — Forget Jay-Z. Forget Alicia Keys.
In New Hampshire, it’s all about The Super Secret Project and its anthem to New Hampshire pride, “The Granite State of Mind.”
“I’ve done shows when an 80-year-old woman comes up to me and wants to express her pride—but she doesn’t know who Jay-Z is,” said Christian Wisecarver, 34, the band’s idea man. He added, “‘The Granite State of Mind’ filled this void and showed how proud people that live here are.”
The song parodies Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “The Empire State of Mind.” But some people don’t know the song is based on a popular tune. They think it’s an original New Hampshire classic.
The song has also been good to the band, which has 6 million hits on 35 YouTube videos. The band’s also played at events with Gov. John Lynch and in front of former president Bill Clinton. And last year, the song landed the band on the “Today” show and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
“That video went viral because it gives New Hampshire credit,” said Darby DeChristopher, 37, a native of Ogdensburg, N.Y., who moved to New Hampshire after attending Syracuse University. The band would do “anything for New Hampshire,” she said. She described the band members as taking advantage of “any opportunity to get the state on the map,” because it has provided tremendous support for them.
But “Granite State of Mind” was missing something big, a defining characteristic of the state—the first-in-the-nation primary. So, in last year’s follow-up video, “Plow Guy Boogaloo,” Wisecarver—a father who commutes to Cambridge daily—raps about it:
“He’s gonna plow this town/This is New Hampshire, where the first primary is.”
Wisecarver consciously avoids taking a political stance but describes the primary as a spectacle. “All of a sudden, your state is famous for a week,” he said. “And then, all of a sudden people forget about it.”
The band doesn’t avoid political issues. With 2010’s “Middle Class in the U.S.A.,” the band parody’s Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” It’s not victimizing the middle class in tough economic times, Wisecarver said. He thinks it’s a concept that a lot of people can relate to. “It is trying to make a little fun of it, to have fun with the idea,” he said.
Wisecarver was surprised that the band hasn’t received any song or performance requests from Republican presidential candidates. “I was actually waiting for someone to ask us to play it somewhere for the primary,” he said. “But it’s been out for awhile, so I’m cool with moving onto other things.”
(Elizabeth Carey, a graduate student in the magazine, newspaper and online journalism program at Syracuse University, is reporting for the Utica Observer-Dispatch.)