Northwestern student wins rap contest on ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’

Amanda Gilbert, Summer Editor

Former Northwestern point guard Omar Jimenez represented the school in a new way Friday, appearing on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”

The rising Medill junior won the talk show’s Battle of the Instant Rappers competition — and a pair of Beats by Dre headphones — after rapping about breakfast for dinner, a topic provided to him. The show’s writers gave him 40 minutes to pen his verse, which was about a minute long.

“From there, the writers came to meet with me, at which point they gave me my topic, a notebook and pen and an iPod Shuffle with the beat The Roots would be playing so I could form my rap around that,” said Jimenez, who goes by the rapper name OJ Tropicana.

About a month ago, Jimenez was waiting in line to see the show when a producer asked if anyone had rapping experience. Jimenez talked to the producer about his mixtapes and past performances, including one last fall at The Rock.

(Quirky Questions with Omar Jimenez, aka OJ Tropicana)

“After that, he asked for my contact information and said they were casting for a bit coming up in a couple of weeks,” Jimenez said.

He later auditioned for the spot by rapping about a given topic. Jimenez said he recorded his song on his iPhone and emailed it to the producer, who responded to Jimenez about two weeks ago.

“It was unbelievable and a dream come true,” he said. “I’ve loved ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’ since the show launched for the first time ever, so to be part of the last show in that Studio 6B was something special.”

Jimenez said he thought he would be nervous while performing, but Fallon’s personality made the experience enjoyable.

“Once I stepped out there, he set the vibe that it was a place to have fun,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez said actress Vanessa Hudgens, a guest on the same show, congratulated him after his performance.

“Definitely one of my top moments that night,” he added.

— Amanda Gilbert