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The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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Local rapper releases new single

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Treasure Franklin
Leo Whyte sits atop the UNA sign.

Leo Whyte, better known by his stage name, LEO.MAKES.ANTHEMS, is celebrating the release of his most recent song, “Mamba Year Freestyle.” The record marks the artist’s eighth release.

Leo, a Huntsvile native, has been drawn to music all throughout his life. Though he had played piano and sung in choir when he was younger, his first foray into rapping came during his highschool years. “My friend in highschool, he was a rapper and he asked me to be on one of his songs. I was just like, ‘why not? I like rap, I like to play with rhymes in my head, let me come up with something,’” said Whyte. “After I did that, I knew I had a talent. […] Not to brag, but, I believe I had the best verse on that song. Not only do I believe that, but people told me that.”

“Looking back on it, my parents, they played music all the time; every time I got into the car. […] I don’t know if you’re familiar with 106 & Park […] I was six, seven, eight [years old] and watching these music videos,” Leo says about how his childhood drew him to music. “A really big thing, too, was that I had a radio in my room. […] Being surrounded by music, having the radio in my room; it was something that was pounded into my psyche from a young age.”

After his first verse, however, Leo took a break from music during the COVID-19 epidemic, not returning until this past year. “A lot was going on; it was a complicated life,” Leo said. “So then I came back; I started back making music last year, 2023, and I did a remix to Drake’s song, “Jimmy Cooks.” It was a Christian remix called “Jesus Cooks.” […] It ended up just blowing up naturally.”

“You need to include the artist and engineer M SIX,” said Leo about one of his collaborators and producers. “He’s the reason why I started back because he had a studio here. He knew how to make music sound very professional. […] We made “Jesus Cooks” and it blew up. Then we made the “UNA Anthem.””

“UNA Anthem” has become Leo’s most streamed song to-date, and it signaled the start of a consistent string of releases from the artist. Leo says, “After I made “UNA Anthem,” I was just like ‘you know what, I’ve got more song ideas so let me just keep going. Ever since then I’ve just been trying to be consistent.”

Despite combining his faith and his music in several of his releases, Leo says he wants his music to be enjoyed by people, regardless of their religious background. “I try to make things that people can relate to. Whether you’re a person of faith, whether you’re not a person of faith.”

“I plan to drop one song a month. I’ve got a good Black History Month song dropping pretty soon, so be on the lookout,” Leo says about his future plans for his career. “I’m a nursing major, so that’s my career. I love caring for people and I love the field of medicine […] Career-wise, that’s what I plan on doing. However, I’m a believer in God, and I’m also a believer in consistency. I believe music can take off for me. Let’s just say something happens within the next six months to a year with the music. If it takes off I’ll go full time with it; I’m open to that. I just want to stay consistent with the music and consistent with my scholastic career as well.”

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About the Contributors
Trevor Mickle, A&E Editor
Trevor is a freshman student from Jemison, Alabama, majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Digital Media Production. Trevor is excited to get involved on campus help keep students informed on important topics in our community.
Treasure Franklin, Deputy Chief Photographer
Treasure Franklin is a junior majoring in Psychology with a minor in Applied Behavior Analysis. She is a member of the LaGrange Society, Student Government Association (SGA), and is in the Cole Honors College, as well as the Presidential Mentor's Academy. She is currently serving as a Staff Photographer; she has previously served as the website editor, and she has been a volunteer photographer/writer with The Flor-Ala since August of 2021.

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