Celebrate expansive Rutgers talent that exists all around


RU Conscious


With the thousands of students that attend Rutgers University, you can only imagine the amount of talent that is brewing in the Hub City. When we think of Rutgers talent, the first thing that may come to mind are athletes or famous celebrities that are known for being birthed from Rutgers. Yet, there are thousands of Rutgers rising stars that we should keep on our radar. There is no doubt that we will be hearing about them on TV or seeing their star on the Walk of Fame. Here are just a few Rutgers’ underrated rising stars.

Asha Griffith says she is what you would be left with if you marinated Hip Hop and Elegant Trap with a teaspoon of soul. This Rutgers grad brings a unique style of hip-hop, paving her own lane in the process. She graduated from the University in 2012 with a degree in psychology, which you can tell greatly influences her lyricism. Her newest project, MASTERBAIT (not masterbate) is the bait that will reel you in to Team Asha if you are not already a believer. She’s the type of artist that may remind you of J. Cole: you know, the “swaggy” college student with a conscious mind. She’s that rapper that can make you turn up at a party, or sit down and think about the real issues. The type that you can relate to even if you are not a young black woman with a college degree and impeccable style.

Sean “DJ Kiff” Canzius is a DJ-turned-music producer from Irvington, N.J. He started as a DJ in 2007, mixing at house parties. Fast-forward to today, and he is one of the hottest young producers representing Brick Bandits, a New Jersey music label responsible for kicking off the “Jersey Club” movement. Graduating with a political science degree may not do much for one’s music career on paper, but DJ Kiff has had great success producing and mixing music, including but not limited to traveling abroad for DJ opportunities and appearing on MTV. Despite his successes, DJ Kiff remains humble, paying homage to musicians who came before him and recognizing the support of family and friends.

Need a cut, a trim or a dope new look for the weekend? Hit up Abayomi Olaogun, known on campus as “Ab the Barber.” Ab is a communication and human resource management major with an eye for entrepreneurship. He started learning to cut hair as a way to keep himself looking presentable while attending boarding school. But with the lack of people who can properly cut Nigerian hair and the amount of people who consistently asked him where he got his hair cut, Ab had no reason not to go into the business of barbering. Ab now has a clientele of consistent customers that make sure to book Ab the Barber anytime they need a trim.

The Logan Brothers are a duo that you are likely to recognize on campus. The two blood brothers, Tyrone and Steve, are creators that defy traditional labels. You can’t call them just rappers, just musicians or just comedic personalities, because they incorporate all three aspects into everything they do –– whether they are hosting an event at Rutgers, performing a song, playing an instrument or doing a comedy routine for a crowd. Tyrone and Steve bring a new angle to music –– one that will make you laugh and will definitely make you want to have a good time.

Johnis Dupuis is a funny man with a master plan. He is graduating in May with a plan in mind –– in fact, the plan has already been put into place. This IT major is one of the founders of a web development company called Cicada Tech Solutions. Cicada Tech Solutions is a company that caters to start up business and those involved in rebranding, offering web development, graphic design, social media marketing and more. Owning his own business has always been in Johnis’s blood, beginning with his very first endeavor: candy distribution in high school. He always made sure he had the best variety and a suitcase for presentation, freezing the product the night before selling to ensure quality. He even developed a team of people to sell candy for him!

Rutgers University is full of talented individuals that you may have not have heard of otherwise. Open your mind to what you are not used to. Turn off the radio for a second and pop in a mixtape from an underground artist. Support more startups as opposed to large companies. Book talent that is underrated and creative, rather than the generic artists audiences would expect. Break out of the conformity and take a walk on the unconventional side. Value uniqueness, creativity and dopeness above all.

Kaila Boulware is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in public health. Her column, “RU Conscious,” runs on alternate Fridays.


Kaila Boulware

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