Sophomore Kwame Harris has found something he is passionate about. Performing has become an outlet in which he can showcase his rapping abilities.
“Rap is essentially poetry over a beat,” said Harris. “It’s giving my experiences and feelings to the audience; I rap over sets that are pre-recorded, but quieter, so the audience can hear me.”
As of now, he has several songs recorded and a disc jockey who mixes his set. Together, they travel to different venues in the Virginia Beach area such as Peabody’s and Shakas.
“I am lucky to be performing in Virginia Beach,” said Harris. “It is a local music scene and the void is there for the taking.”
In preparation for his shows he follows a strict routine.
“I usually run through my set with my DJ a few times prior to performing and since most of the time I am pretty high-energy I will listen to my music a couple hours beforehand to make sure I’m focused,” said Harris.
His upcoming projects include working on more music when he returns to Philadelphia and Baltimore.
“When I return home I hope to begin playing with a live band,” said Harris.
Harris grew up in a musically-oriented family and considers this to be the reason he never experiences stage fright.
“I began freestyling at a young age because in my house if you didn’t speak up, you weren’t heard,” said Harris. “I learned to develop a voice.”
As he grew up, he was influenced by a diverse range of artists.
“Nas, Tupac, and MF Doom are a few of my major influences that inspire me musically,” said Harris.
Even though he has become quite comfortable with performing for a crowd, he still finds it hard to communicate what looking out into the audience and seeing many familiar and unfamiliar faces means to him, as a performer.
“At first, it’s an excited nervousness like when you’re on a sports team right before a game starts. Once I’m into my performance, it becomes like the rush you feel from a roller coaster, only a tad more intense,” said Harris. “And seeing my friends in the audience is always awesome, but I like when I see other people I’ve never met bobbing their heads as I perform.”
Along with attributing his love for performing to his influences, he also recognizes the tremendous amount of support he has received thus far in his musical endeavors.
“Surprisingly, I have had a lot of support,” said Harris. “My mom, dad, fraternity brothers, and friends back home all give me feedback.”
As part of his support system, his fraternity brothers have listened to his music and attended his shows.
“He’s the rebirth of hip hop,” said senior Josh Garris.
His future plans include playing a few more locations, but right now he is simply enjoying the ride.
“As of now I’m seeing where my music takes me. I’m planning on playing a few colleges over the summer and I’m just having fun with it right now,” said Harris.
His music is a great representation of what students in this generation are listening to.
“It is better than 95% of songs you hear on the radio,” said sophomore Alexandra Pouder.