- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 09 November 2016
- Written by NICOLE SEITZ | STAFF WRITER
Every semester, Monmouth’s student-run record label, Blue Hawk Records, creates and records a compilation album featuring various artists on campus. The Applied Music Industry class creates and produces this album; this includes holding auditions in Lauren K. Woods theatre to releasing and promoting the album.
This semester, the class is working on their ninth compilation album, Nine Lives, which will be released Dec. 7 with a show held in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center. The album features six Monmouth University artists from varying genres.
This week, I met up with two of the artists on the album to talk about their tracks on it and their experiences as up-and-coming musicians.
Jamier Gee, a senior music industry student, spoke about his Hip-Hop song, “Tune In.” Gee is also known as “Jax the Geenius,” which he explained as a pun on his initials, JG. Gee came up with “Jax” while he was reading a mythology book where a character’s name was Jax, who was notorious for having “fire in his heart.” He took this and compared it to the passion he has for Hip-Hop and music in general, and decided to incorporate that into his name. The “Geenius” part of his stage name is supposed to be a pun on his last name, Gee. Incorporating the word genius symbolizes his wittiness with words.
Gee is certainly a passionate and clever guy; he has had an interest in writing poetry since the sixth grade, which is where his love for music began. He would write poems and eventually performed them in a slam poetry style. After a while, this developed into rapping. Gee’s love for music came from his family; his dad was in one of the original break dance crews in New York. Being exposed to this scene gave him a good sense of music and how it could make a person feel.
Some of Gee’s greatest influences growing up were actually R&B groups, including Shai and Jodeci. It wasn’t until later in his life that he really got into Hip-Hop. Some of Gee’s other influences include Method Man and Nas.
“Jax the Geenius’” music could be described as Hip-Hop with an R&B flare. He started by just writing down how he felt about all that was going on in his life and transformed those thoughts into lyrics. Now, Gee has been producing music since he was 15 years old and performing since he was 17 years old. This past summer, Jamier even did a three-state tour with 22 shows.
Another artist on this semester’s album is Trevon Bailey, a sophomore biology student. Bailey and Gee both believe that Hip-Hop is about being your authentic self. Jamier said, “There are so many imitations now, being the real you is so important for your fans and yourself.” He continued to say, “It’s especially important to be real in your music. Having a mix of fun songs and serious songs makes you a well-rounded artist.”
Bailey explained, “Music is all about struggle and the realities of life.”
Gee added to this and said, “Hip-Hop came from struggle. During the 60’s and 70’s, these artists who emerged felt that struggle and created music from it.”
Bailey further talked about how meaningful music is through his influences. Bailey admitted that he first solely listened to ‘commercialized Hip-Hop,’ and he found that the messages in these songs were meaningless; this theme is not what he’s about and he wanted to find more expressive music. His greatest influences are Chance the Rapper, J. Cole, and Kendrick Lamar. Bailey explained that he gets his musical influence from Chance because he “likes the feel and the different moods in Chance’s music,” while lyrically, he looks to J. Cole and Kendrick for inspiration.
Trevon Bailey was born and raised in Guyana, a country along the coast of South America. Bailey moved to Maryland when he was 13 years old, and it was around this age he began rapping. He started out by doing freestyle for “anyone who would listen.”
Bailey began writing songs from his experiences when he was 15. In his sophomore year of high school, Trevon entered a competition at the University of Maryland. He was the only high school student in this competition, and he had to perform an original song. He then questioned who would want to listen to a “high school kid,” but ended up winning the competition. This is what made him feel like he had to keep going. We’re lucky he did because now we can hear his track, “I’m Good” on the album this semester.
Both Bailey and Gee’s songs are about being yourself and being true to the art of Hip-Hop. Bailey described his track, “I’m Good,” and said, “This song is essentially about being satisfied with what I’ve been through and where I am now. Despite all the craziness of life, you’re going to be alright!”
Gee can relate to the struggle that Hip-Hop often talks about. He grew up in Trenton and explained, “Music was therapy for me because growing up in Trenton you were either on the streets or playing sports.” He continued to talk about how he went to Princeton High School on a sports scholarship, and taught himself how to play the piano his freshman year.
While at Princeton High School, he often played around in the music room. For his junior and senior year, Gee transferred to Princeton Day High School for football. It was here that he met a highly influential music teacher who exposed him to a great amount of music and allowed his passion for music to grow. Gee eventually created his own system for playing the piano.
These struggles and real life experiences are what drive Hip-Hop, and both Bailey and Gee see and present that through their music. Jamier’s track, “Tune In,” serves as a reminder to tune out the nonsense of the radio and media.
Gee said, “‘Tune In’ is like the theme for Hip-Hop for me… I’m asking people to tune in to real music and the real world. This song is me bringing you real Hip-Hop.”
In a world where Hip-Hop is often looked at as meaningless party music, both Bailey and Gee remind us of what real Hip-Hop is. You can see both of these artists in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center on Dec. 7 for the release of Nine Lives.
image courtesy of Ty Poland
Image courtesy of Emily Minieri