Sam Bernstein, staff writer
Lauren Hannani, culture editor
Last year, most students knew him as that guy from class. Now, people from all over the country know him as Young Pari$, a young rapper whose music they can find on Youtube and SoundCloud. As a new “recording artist trying to make it big,” Phillip Billups, class of 2016, has moved on to the next big step in his life: becoming a well-known musician.
Although he recently started releasing music on popular music websites, Billups wanted to pursue a rapping career early on in his life.
“I started rapping around 13 [years old]. Of course I wasn’t that good yet and my voice was too high, so I waited until my voice got deeper so people wouldn’t think I was some little kid,” Billups said.
However, he began to take his passion more seriously once he entered high school, where he was able to work with useful resources.
“One of my best friends Dashawn told me that I had a dope voice and that I could really rap, and so we started recording at the audio production room after school,” Billups said.
In fact, Billups’ experience at high school taught him some of the skills he still uses today.
“High school taught me a lot as far as rapping. At Beverly I used to go to audio production after school and that’s where I learned how to record and make my voice sound better on the mic,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the class after school, I don’t think I’d be as good as I became.”
His presence at the high school is still felt today. Fellow marching band member sophomore Jude Binkley, who is a fan of Billups, is reminded of other very influential artists in the rap industry while listening to Billups.
“I think it’s [Billups’ music] really relatable to other rappers such as Kanye, Kodak Black and Lil Uzi. They all have a very similar presentation,” Binkley said.
Another fellow marching band member, freshman Joey Austin, said that he loved how the music was produced.
“I like the rhythm. The bass is good really like that and the synth is my favorite part,” Austin said.
Since graduating, Billips has been able to share his music through music festivals, such as A3C and Coachella, where he will be performing at a pool party. He has also met rapper Yung Joc, who is featured in one of his singles. By taking all of these opportunities, he hopes to continue performing in the future so he can “be a voice for the youth of this generation.”
“I definitely still want to be rapping 10 years from now, but I also hope that I can inspire the youth of the next generation and show them that they can do this too and spread a positive message,” Billups said.
Although he is now successfully pursuing his passion, Billups has not forgotten the obstacles he faced to get to his point.
“For anyone that is trying to do this, never let anyone tell you that you can’t be great. A lot of people thought I couldn’t rap because I was quiet,” he said. “But because of people who believed in me, I learned that I have a lot of potential. And lastly just stay focused on your goals–it’s not overnight. It takes time.”
Performing at music festivals and releasing music is not the end of the road for Billups. His goal is to become one of the most well-known and influential rappers.
“I want to be one of the biggest rappers from this generation. My first tape ‘Young Pari$ the Debut’ was just the beginning,” Billups said. “I hope that years from now, people will look back and remember me.”
Taylor Briggs’ music career, partly inspired by his former Alabama guitarist father, photography teacher Tim Briggs. Check out taylorbriggs.net for updates on new music and merchandise.
Priscilla Hopper, staff writer