Freshman works to build name in music industry

Jarriel McGhee writing a song for his group B.R.A.S.H . B.R.A.S.H has been together for about four years.

by Student Writer Jackson Latham

Jarriel McGhee is not the typical prototype college student. He’s a rapper named B.R.A.S.H who has big dreams and, with the help of two friends, has been trying to make those dreams come true. These three freshmen have been working diligently to get their work off the ground and into people’s ears.

McGhee’s passion for music started in middle school.

“Going into my middle school years I came across NWA and more underground hip-hop artists at the time,” he said. “I got more into searching for artists that not too many people have heard of.”

McGhee said he always wanted more out of music.

“I always knew that there was more out there than just money, cars and clothes. People have something to say,” he said. “Going into high school is when I really came across guys like NAS, Biggie, Tupac — all of them. I just felt and respected their artistry. Since they have such big voices for the African-American community, I want to become one of those voices in some type of way.”

McGhee said he was a normal kid who was not predicted to come as far as he has.

“I never really saw myself doing much when I was young,” he said. “People around me didn’t do the same; they didn’t succeed. Being able to come across music, I was like ‘I can make a difference.’ I do it because of that one kid out there who has the same mind state as me, and I could change his life just like those artists who changed mine.”

High school was a turning point in McGhee’s music career, he said.

“It is the big reason why I am the way I am now,” he said. “When I was first writing music in high school my freshman year, there was no substance. I was writing what I heard and I was writing to be on the radio.”

McGhee said he uses music as a tool to relate to others.

“I just had so much on my mind, and I looked to poetry and hip-hop to express my emotions in the best way,” he said. “I just felt that there was somebody out there who could relate to my words.”

Through the years, McGhee said he developed a close friendship with his producer, freshman Ishmael Howard.

“We go back to like ninth grade,” McGhee said. “We barely knew what we were doing at the time. Throughout the years we became closer,

bonded more.

“We had lost a friend to a car crash, and that really affected everybody who was involved with our movement. Since we all had the same dream in common, we were all going to accomplish that goal together. We were going to do this for him.”

Howard said he began experimenting with producing music at a young age.

“I started around 13, and I just played around with it with an old friend of mine,” he said. “And in all that playing around, I found that I was able to make melodies and loops. That’s when I started doing it seriously.”

Freshman TJ Hayes, the engineer of McGhee’s upcoming project, said he fought for recognition when he first arrived on the music scene.

“I started doing music around my sixth grade year and nobody took it seriously until I got recognized by Rueben Studdard and got signed with him for a year,” he said. “I worked with mainly Interscope.”

Hayes said it was not long before he became invested in making a name for himself in the engineering part of the music industry.

“The artist side was cool, but the engineer stuff really got me,” he said. “I just stuck with the engineering. I had a love and passion to share what I had.”

McGhee’s new mixtape can be found on SoundCloud, and is on Twitter as @BeRelStayHumble.