Bryant has its rotating globe and Ventress has its stained glass, but across the Grove from those buildings, Lamar Hall has become known for the loud, party music that bumps out of its POD market.
The small store known for selling snacks to students rushing between classes also serves up music – everything from boy bands to classic soul to the latest trap music – through the three speakers hooked up behind its counter.
The tunes that students, faculty, staff and visitors alike hear when they walk into the building are provided by the two cashiers at the Lamar POD, Cory Blackmon and Kirterius Corley, who typically goes by Scooter.
It is late one Monday morning, and Blackmon wears a black polo shirt embroidered with the POD logo while he scans purchases and swipes the cards of the slow trickle of POD customers. A driving trap beat serves as Blackmon’s soundtrack this morning.
The music, barely audible in the large lobby area outside of the POD, is quieter than usual.
“Oh, man, I would show you, but, I mean, normally it’s just loud enough that you can hear it out on this floor right here,” Blackmon said. “But sometimes you can hear it on the third floor.”
Blackmon said that all people – from those relaxing on the first floor on up to those walking to their third floor classes – enjoy the music. Students, several of whom have taken to social media to express their feelings about the music, are especially fond of the POD’s tunes.
In a post that went viral by campus standards, garnering 193 retweets and 595 likes, marketing and corporate relations major Jenna Kollins (@jennakollinzz) tweeted: “The Lamar pod workers don’t have to go that hard on the aux everyday but they do and I could never thank them enough for their service.”
The Lamar pod workers don’t have to go that hard on the aux everyday but they do and I could never thank them enough for their service
— jenna (@jennakollinzz) April 3, 2018
Another student, journalism major Alexis Nicole Neely (@sixelanicole), took to Twitter to ask her followers to “Name a more (flame emoji) aux than the one in the Lamar POD.”
Name a more 🔥 aux than the one in the Lamar POD.
— Alexis Nicole Neely ♥️ (@sixelanicole) April 19, 2018
A video of Blackmon and Corley singing to Frankie Beverly’s “Before I Let Go” made its way around Ole Miss’ social media circle. Originally posted to Blackmon’s Snapchat story, the video was shared on April 9 by @x_shamerica on Twitter, where it received 151 retweets and 229 likes.
A few days later, the video was posted on Instagram by Old Row Ole Miss (@oldrowrebs), a page that posts anonymous videos and photos mostly related to Greek life on Ole Miss’ campus. The video, captioned “Y’all know the Lamar POD stay lit because of these two,” has received over 21,000 views and 2,000 likes.
Blackmon said the Old Row Ole Miss post marked the first time he and Corley truly went viral.
“After that day – the very next day – we had a cha-cha line in here,” Blackmon said.
bruh Corey & Scoota have our POD in Lamar hall turnt😭 pic.twitter.com/aW4NymyWd7
— merrabell💖 (@x_shamerica) April 10, 2018
As for the cashiers’ music choice, Blackmon said it varies from day to day.
“Most of the time, it’s just how we feel in the morning. If I come in and I’m a little turnt up still from the night before, I play some hip-hop or some old 2000s hip-hop,” Blackmon said. “Mostly it’s just how we feel when we come in – that’s the kind of vibe we roll with.”
Abby Carter, a senior political science major, has visited the Lamar POD regularly throughout her time at the university. She called Blackmon’s music “the single best Spotify playlist I have ever heard” and has been vocal on social media about her love for his and Corley’s song choices.
“Afroman? Check. Kodak? Check. Migos? Check. The occasional ‘90s soft rock? Surprisingly, check,” Carter said. “I am clearly a creature of habit, but so are the other Lamar POD groupies I see every morning.”
Carter said she has noticed a slight decrease in the music’s volume since her freshman year, especially during the period in which Blackmon ran a mobile POD on Business Row while the student union dining hall was still under construction. However, she also said that she has never heard anyone complain about it.
“I think it offers kind of a mental break in the overwhelming bubble of responsibility that campus can be,” Carter said. “I can definitely say that one of the things I’ll miss the most next year will be my daily trips to the POD, but I know that Cory will keep it lit for posterity.”
However, not everyone enjoys the music.
According to Blackmon, one professor walked over to the POD and told him to turn the music down, and another contacted Lamar’s building mayor, who is a primary contact for facilities services in the building.
“The building mayor comes down and she’ll at least tell us before it goes above our heads, and we appreciate her for that, we really do,” Blackmon said. “Because if it weren’t for her coming in with that warning, huh.”
Some professors who teach on the first floor of Lamar don’t see the music as a distraction. Among these is Matthew Murray, an anthropology professor who said that his class can barely hear the music despite being directly across from the POD.
“I don’t find it disturbing. I find it interesting,” Murray said. “It’s never disturbed my class.”
Someone complained about the Lamar Pod music and Lamar was not Lamar today. A hush fell over the great edifice—I wasn’t sure where I was anymore.
— Sof (@sofcooper) April 20, 2018
Brian Foster, a professor who studies the sociology of rap music and has an office in Lamar, said that he wasn’t surprised that professors have complained about the POD’s music. To Foster, the music is an example of the sociological concept of “placemaking.”
“It’s one of many examples of how black Americans set up shop, so to speak, and use our culture to make the places we inhabit comfortable and enjoyable and celebratory,” Foster said. “Even if it’s in a broader context that’s less-than-ideal for us.”
In response to the complaints and because finals are coming up, Blackmon and Corley decided to turn the music’s volume down.
Just as they had done to celebrate the music, students posted on social media about its absence. For instance, on April 20, IMC major Sofia Cooper (@sofcooper) tweeted: “Someone complained about the Lamar Pod music and Lamar was not Lamar today. A hush fell over the great edifice – I wasn’t sure where I was anymore.”
On Wednesday morning, Corley was playing rap music softly and joking around with students who were purchasing bags of chips and debating whether to get lemonade or water.
Whether or not the Lamar POD goes back to full volume next semester, Blackmon and Corley don’t plan to stop bringing their excitement and energy to the job any time soon.