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Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Zhou Morado

Chloe Hooker

Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Zhou Morado

September 29, 2016

Music has always been a part of the lives of Skyshon Mosley and Kevin “lil ch6po” Norman. But it was not until the winter of their sophomore year that Norman and Mosley, juniors, along with friends Derek “Mellow” Anderson and Avery Jewell, juniors, became more serious about their love of rap music. With the app SoundCloud growing from just 700 million users in 2013 to 2.5 billion in 2014, it has become more and more popular for posting original music, according to Music Business Worldwide. The guys decided to start publishing the songs they had previously sang together for fun.

The four friends formed a group called ‘Zhou Morado,’ named after the Zhou dynasty because it is the longest running Chinese dynasty, and began to write, record, produce and post their own original rap music. Although forming the group was initially Norman’s idea, Mosley quickly warmed up to it.

“I used to make fun of rappers when I was 8 or 9,” Mosley said, “But then people started telling me I was actually good. We always knew [this group] was [Kevin’s] dream, so we just went from there.”

Norman and Mosley both agreed Zhou Morado has been a positive experience for them. Mosley found is own reasons to love producing music, beyond the satisfaction of knowing he was helping a friend accomplish a dream.

“My favorite part is being up all night making good music with my friends,” Mosley said. “Everyone is different, but I do it for that feeling you get afterwards, that rush when you get to see what you’ve [accomplished].”

With their group comes arguments and fall-outs, but there is one thing the guys can agree on: their group has helped them become closer friends.

“What made us friends [in the first place] is that we all have messed up pasts and families that we don’t deserve,” Norman said. “When we started [Zhou morado], we made a promise to each other that we would show people like us that you can get through it. We want to leave an impact on people, [and not perform] for the money.”

While none of them are sure what the future will hold, they are planning to perform several live shows in the next two years, something they have yet to accomplish. Without a doubt, however, Norman knows he will continue to try to accomplish his goal to spread his message through his music.

“I’ve been inspired by a lot of writers and artists [like Eminem and Kendrick Lamar] who started from nothing and made it to the top,” Norman said. “That’s my message. That’s my motivation.”

Mosley agrees with Norman.

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Photo courtesy of Kevin Norman

“We [didn’t do] it for money or fame,” Mosley said. “We do it because it’s enjoyable to us. [We do it] because it’s our dream.”

Q&A with local artists:

When he was 8 years old, Ethan Redick’s dad handed him his first guitar.  Ever since that moment, Redick, junior, has been in love with music production. Recently Redick began posting his original tracks on SoundCloud.

Q: “How has school affected your music?”

A: “A lot of people bring it up to me at school [and] jokingly make fun of me but it doesn’t [bother] me. I will keep playing as a hobby.”

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Photo by Zachary Clingenpeel

Since he was 9 years old, Ezra “E2K” Blair, senior, has been influenced by rap music by his older brother and cousins. His junior year, Blair began posting his orginal tracks on soundcloud.

Q: “What is the most challenging thing about this?”

A: “[My biggest challenge] is writing. [It’s hard because] you have to keep writing and starting over because what you write can’t just be okay. It has to be amazing.”

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Photo courtesy of Ezra Blair

Kenan Dogan, sophomore, has always had a knack for singing and performing covers of his favorite artists like Javier Colon. This year Dogan switched from posting music videos on YouTube to posting tracks on SoundCloud.

Q: “What are your plans for the future?”

A: “I just got in contact with a person with a lot of connections to record producers. I think I have a lot of potential and I really like [music].”

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Photo courtesy of Kenan Dogan

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