Nearing graduation, the rapper prepares to release his second mixtape
Like many other seniors this job application cycle, Benjamin Brooks (SFS ’16) has a resume replete with a wide range of activities, from a public policy internship at PricewaterhouseCoopers to his volunteer work at the Center for Social Justice. Yet, Brooks’ most significant accomplishment — his “competitive advantage” — is perhaps his part-time career as a rapper, under his stage name Deuce B.
Brooks, whose first album “The Statement” was released on iTunes almost two years ago, is currently working on a mixtape entitled “AAA,” with an expected release date of early next year. He has also been collaborating with other artists, including Daniel Breland (MSB ’17), on different projects.
Growing up in a low-income neighborhood in Houston, Tx., Brooks started pursuing hip hop after watching rap battle videos with his friends in high school, and around the time that Lil Wayne released “Tha Carter III” —“back when he was still good,” according to Brooks.
Brooks said his hometown serves as an important influence on his work.
“[I’m inspired by] the comparison with [Georgetown and] where I was before Georgetown. I came from a low-income area, so I had to overcome that. I guess I use that as a triumph over hardships, and I try to implement that in some of my lyrics,” Brooks said. “I rap about life, rather than money, cars, clothes.”
When he arrived at Georgetown, Brooks began treating hip hop as a serious career, burning CDs and working on his first album, which was released in his sophomore year. His roommate freshman year, Caleb Corr (MSB ’16), produced the album.
After his first album, Brooks gained popularity around campus and in the greater D.C. area. This year, Brooks performed at the Kickback Music Festival, organized by Students of Georgetown, Inc. He also performs regularly at bars and nightclubs both in D.C. and his native Houston. Since its creation in 2008, his Facebook page has amassed 1,024 likes.
Brooks attributes this success to his extensive use of multiple social media platforms such as Soundcloud and YouTube.
“Making the music is one thing, marketing yourself and finding the resources to market yourself is the second thing,” Brooks said.
However, Brooks said he would like the university to foster and expand the music scene on campus, in order to create a community for the diverse range of student artists.
“There’s so many of us, but there’s not really that community there. Having more of these performances allows the artist to know what other artists are out there. There’s already a diverse range of music, we just need to find it on campus,” Brooks said.
With his upcoming album, Brooks said fans can expect to be surprised, as his musical style is constantly shifting.
“I don’t like to do the same rhyme patterns every time. I like to approach different beats differently depending on what the song’s about or how I feel at the moment,” Brooks said. “I don’t want to be known as the artist whose new stuff sounds like his old stuff … A good artist changes based on how he feels, and how the atmosphere is when he’s making music. Constance is a bad thing. We need to always be evolving.”
When he is not recording or writing lyrics, Brooks’ schedule is similar to that of any other student. An international politics major, Brooks participates in the After School Kids program at the Center for Social Justice, as well as the Collegiate 100 mentorship group. Additionally, Brooks is seeking postgraduate employment.
“I don’t sleep a lot. I wake up at 5 a.m. to do some stuff. It’s really hard to manage it all, but the stuff is what I enjoy doing, so it’s not really a struggle,” Brooks said. “Right now I’m just trying to find a job.”
After his next album, Brooks plans on continuing hip hop as a hobby in addition to his job. Currently, he has been speaking with industry professionals in Houston to discuss how to further expand. However, Brooks has no plans on signing to a record label in the near future.
“I’m probably going to work on dropping random singles, not be worried too much on doing a whole entire project, but just explore different things I can do with music,” Brooks said. “I don’t even know if I’m going to sign to a music label even if that opportunity presents itself. I like doing things independently.”
No matter what he ends up doing with music, however, Brooks said he hopes to continue giving back to the community he grew up in in Houston.
“My major goal has always been reaching back to my community. Some of the lyrics are talking about me overcoming the things I had to experience in my neighborhood back at home,” Brooks said. “The end goal of this is to make it big in music, make a lot of money and give back to my community.”
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