Jared Williams ′13
Hip-Hop Artist, Singer, Photographer, Videographer
Tell the story of how you got to Rhodes College.
The liberal arts education that Rhodes offers seemed to be a good choice because I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to study. I’m glad that I chose Rhodes and wouldn’t change anything about my decision. What I’ve learned here has definitely influenced my perspective on life and enriched my lyrics.
How have you changed since beginning your studies at Rhodes?
Since I’ve been at Rhodes, I’ve met many good people and realized that I can’t wait for opportunities. For that reason, I write music, I teach myself piano, I sing, and I book my own performances. I’ve also gained many friends, who are a huge support system for me.
How did you develop your interest in Peruvian culture?
Spanish is my major and languages have always interested me; however, the story of how I became interested in Peruvian culture has much to do with hip-hop. One of the greatest musical artists of all time, Tupac Shakur, was named after Tupac Amaru, an Incan leader who was executed by the Spanish. While researching the artist, I came across the Incan leader, which sparked my interest in Peru. After that, my Spanish classes at Rhodes added to my overall interest in Peru and I knew that I had to go there in order for my undergraduate experience to be complete. I applied for the Buckman Scholarship and received it, and studied in Peru for six months, which was one of the best decisions of my life.
You participated recently in a campus panel discussion about hip-hop. What draws you to that particular style of music?
I was raised around all types of music, from jazz, blues, and gospel to hip-hop and funk. Rather than being drawn to hip-hop, I’d say that I am hip-hop, or at least a piece of the puzzle that completes it. Hip-hop is an intellectual community that interacts with other genres of music while remaining true to its foundation. It bestowed upon me a voice in a world where so many people’s voices have been silenced. I began writing short stories at the age of 5. At 8, I began writing rhymes, so hip-hop is as much a part of me as my heart or my lungs.
I recently performed at the Rhodes Battle of the Bands, and my band Phlyers X Hundredz placed second, which means that we will be performing at Rites of Spring on campus! I’m so excited to be able to perform in front of my peers. It’s a vision I’ve had since freshmen year!
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I plan on pursuing a career in music and related interests, including photography, videography and fashion design. I know this may mean a tumultuous road ahead, but besides family, friends and creating a new educational system in Memphis so that black students aren’t forced into low-skilled jobs, nothing is more important. And I plan on applying my music towards all of those things. I’m pretty resourceful so, no worries!