Seniors make music personal

When rapping becomes more than a hobby

Seniors Amir Davis and Joseph Koroma pose for a picture. The two have been collaborating together and have produced their music on SoundCloud.

Seniors Amir Davis and Joseph Koroma pose for a picture. The two have been collaborating together and have produced their music on SoundCloud.

“I’ve always had this dream when I was a kid of having a sold out show in Madison Square Garden,” senior Joseph Koroma said.

“I want to travel the world and help everyone that supported me while I was growing up and doing this,” senior Amir Davis said.

Music has always been more than a passion for Koroma and Davis. It is something that they hope to pursue as a career.  Koroma, who is best known as Kid JC, and Davis who is known as Astro Davis, have produced multiple songs and remixes together on SoundCloud.

Davis’ interest in music first started off as poetry from a young age. When he was in the seventh grade he began rapping in what he considers was “low-key.” Koroma’s interest started around the age of 15 after the creation of his rapper name he started to see himself as an artist.

The two met at Poe Middle School. Koroma helped Davis adjust to the middle school after arriving from Alexandria Public Schools. Over the course of their friendship, they soon realized that music was something that united them. Davis observed Koroma and was able to expand his interest after he saw him succeed.

“There was this one day where we were going to a birthday party and I was showing him one of my verses,” Koroma said. “He started singing and messing around with it. I heard it and I told him that it was really good. He had this beat for me and he sent it to me and I wrote a verse and he wrote a verse and we ended up singing it at Heritage Night last year.”

The use of technology has played a big part in their music. They have been able to change and modify their use in technology since they first started.  During their earlier years working on their music consisted of using a webcam microphone in Koroma’s room and with Davis computer software they were able to produce music. Several of the recordings take place at Davis’ house where they are able to manipulate the sounds and effects.

“At first it was just a fake green screen and now we do a lot of our stuff in my house until we get an actual studio, probably next year. We started off with a lot of basic stuff and made it something big,” Davis said.

Both artists have varied music inspirations that have helped them expand in their music styles. Koroma’s music inspirations are Drake Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean. Davis’ musical influences consist of old school stuff like Wu Tang, Frank Sinatra and Marvin Gaye.

The process to writing songs can sometimes be lengthy and tedious. After Koroma finds beats on YouTube, he tries to connect to how he feels.  Perfection is important to him before he shows it to Davis to work on. Davis attempts his process with writing first and then adding in the music. After he has the lyrics he finds a beat that flows and then he shows it to his group.

The duo is consistently challenged, but they keep moving forward towards their goal.

“Some of the challenges are getting my views up. It started off really low and I never even expected to get 500 to 1,000 views,” Koroma said. “Staying patient is always hard.”

As for Davis, keeping everyone united is a challenge that he takes on personally.

“Trying to get everyone together in a group can sometimes be a challenge because every now and then someone has to take responsibility for it and trying to get people to listen to ,” Davis said. “The biggest challenge, like Joseph said, is staying patient and having to wait and watch what happens.”

The musical duo however, has expanded recently with additions to their group.

“It started off as just us two and then we made a rap group called The New Youth and we have people like senior Andre Wright, two kids that graduated and then some middle school kids as well,” Koroma said.

Over time, as the two rappers have grown, they have also learned about themselves.

“I think this is a talent,” Davis said. “At first I was messing around and thinking my music wouldn’t be that good and then when I put it out on SoundCloud, I saw the thousands of views with Joseph and I started taking it more serious. Now it’s like a job.”

Koroma, on the other hand, believes his music ties into more than one aspect of the spectrum. To him music is always about developing and getting better. He has began to take music more seriously after he saw progress in the development of his music .

Since they started pursuing music, their style has changed over time.

“Vocabulary gets bigger and music flows better,” Davis said.

Koroma describes his change in style as being able to develop into his own person.

“The lyrics have gotten more detailed and as you get older, the music changes, and it starts flowing. Before I sounded too much like one artist and too much like another and now I sound like myself. Now I have my own identity,” Koroma said.

Davis’s musical inspirations when writing his songs consist of trying to relate with what people are thinking and as well as his personal experiences.

“With my music, I try to say the stuff that people are thinking, but don’t have the courage to say. I talk about my life and I try to relate with my audience and the people I make music for,” Davis said.

As for Koroma, he is inspired from his surroundings and personal feelings.

“My inspirations are stuff that I’m feeling, stuff that you can’t just go out and say every day and stuff that you hold in. I spend a lot of time looking at people, looking at the world and I use that and express it in my music,” Koroma said.

Their songs are based on their relationships, their future ambitions and expressing who they are. “Reaching 2,000 views on SoundCloud and meeting new people is dope as well,” Davis said in terms of their accomplishments.

They have performed for different audiences and are gradually expanding their abilities. Koroma and Davis have performed at several places like Homecoming; Heritage Night and individual performances at AHS coffee house and even at George Mason University annually, in a program Koroma participates in.

Davis’ advice to students who are interested in pursuing music is to be patient and observe those around you.

“Learn from people’s mistakes and your mistakes as well,” Davis said. “It’s not easy. People always think it’s easy. You should just start on your own and do everything by yourself. Roll into it.””

Koroma’s advice to others consists of similar concepts.

“Start off on your own. Sometimes we get people that ask if they can start doing stuff with us, but they’re not ready for us yet,”” Koroma said. “You can’t just jump up to where we are. We started off low and you have to just take your own journey.”

Despite their passion for music, they have other priorities to attend to and must organize their schedules.

“During the winter, I’m usually working on basketball. Other than that, I’m always on music and school work. I try to balance it. I used to stay up until three in the morning just working on music, thinking about new things, and working on content,” Davis said.

Davis’s favorite thing about pursuing music is that it allow him to be something he isn’t always allowed to be.

“You have an excuse to do things you can’t do. It’s like an alter ego because you get to be something you’re not. You get to touch other people with the music. It’s cool,” Davis said.

Koroma shares his favorite thing about pursuing music is the emotion that he gets from it.

“The explosion you get from it. The feeling when you’re on stage in front of people and you’re able to express yourself. You can’t do that just walking around being normal. You get to step outside of your normal self,” Koroma said.

When performing, Davis and Koroma have techniques that allow them not to be as nervous.

“Before, I get nervous, but when we get on stage it’s all gone,”” Davis said.

“I usually get nervous right before. At homecoming I got pretty nervous, but then once the music goes on, it’s just natural for me,” Koroma said.