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Campus News

May 2nd, 2023

Jordan's advice: Enjoy the journey

Former Garrett College student is regional hip hop artist and mentor


Regional hip hop artist Eric "Monstalung" Jordan said he's found the journey is more important than the destination.

Former Garrett College student Eric "Monstalung" Jordan didn't reach his desired destination – but that in no way diminished his trip.

"My goal was to take over the world and be the biggest hip hop artist in the world – and that didn't happen," said Jordan, this month's featured speaker in Garrett College's Joan Crawford Lecture Series. "But I enjoyed the journey."

Jordan introduced himself last Wednesday night as "a hip hop artist" rather than as the program coordinator for West Virginia University's Center for Black Culture and Research. And he said that was intentional.

"I led with hip hop artist because I think you should state your passion first," explained Jordan. "Before you can embrace your journey, you have to truly know your passion."

Jordan said embracing one's passion can be complicated.

"You don't discover your passion, you uncover it," said Jordan, noting one reason he knows music is his passion is he's found himself working almost through the night on it.

"When was the last time you put in extra effort?" Jordan asked his audience. "When I'm working on music, I can look up, and say, ‘Oh, I have to be at work in three hours!' I think that's passion."

Jordan noted passion can translate into career success – largely because that's a quality employers are desperately seeking in employees.

"In a recent survey, 60 percent of employers said a lack of passion is one reason employees don't perform well at their jobs," said Jordan. "And 76 percent of employers don't believe passion can be learned."

Jordan credited his father, Norman Jordan, with instilling within him a love of the arts.

"Dad was director of Cleveland's Karamu House, the oldest African American theater in the United States," said Jordan, whose father earned a bachelor's degree in theater from West Virginia University and a master's degree in African American Studies from Ohio State University.

Jordan initially attended Marshall University, which turned out to be a "hip hop boot camp" for him. He credited Marshall upper classmen Chuck Richardson, DJ Jon Quick, and Rod Whitehead with being important mentors.

"They were into hip hop like me, but they were also excellent students," recalled Jordan. "They took me under their wings, taught me how to study."

Jordan initially went to Marshall University to try to walk on to the men's basketball team. When that didn't work out, a Marshall assistant coach connected Jordan with Garrett College head men's basketball coach Dennis Gibson.

Jordan called Gibson "the best coach I've ever had" and told a humorous story about his GC tryout.

"I didn't think he would be playing in the pickup game," recalled Jordan. "He [Gibson] comes out in shorts, sneakers, and I'm like, ‘You're playing?' And he's like, ‘Yeah.' And he ended up offering me a partial scholarship."

Jordan ended up earning his bachelor's degree from Salisbury University before returning to West Virginia to mentor the next generation of hip hop musicians.

"We started having kids come to our shows – they were so proud to have their own thing," recalled Jordan. "West Virginia hip hop didn't really exist until we did our thing.

"I was committing to leading by example – I worked hard at my music, but I didn't miss work," said Jordan, whose music was played on 28 West Virginia radio stations.

"And we were going to do this legally," Jordan said. "At that time, for so many hip hop artists it was ‘sell drugs, use the drug money to invest in your business.' It was important to show we could do it legally – but it was harder."

During the Q-&-A period, a Garrett College student asked Jordan if he would perform one of his original works. Jordan chose "Since 1982", with an ending which brought his message full circle:

Live the life you love,
It's better than any high,
from any type of drug.

Figure out your passion,
and make your hopes to follow,
And your soul won't be hollow.


Garrett College's faculty created the Joan Crawford Lecture Series in honor of the dynamic educator Joan R. Crawford.

Crawford, who died in 2010, served the College community for more than 30 years, including serving as the head of the humanities division and director of enrollment. After her retirement, Crawford was named Professor Emerita.

The Joan Crawford Lecture Series of presentations are offered free of charge, and the public and community members are invited to attend.

All presentations from the Joan Crawford Lecture Series will be available to view online through the College's Facebook page. The lectures will be live streamed and recordings will be posted shortly after the event.