CMU student chosen to take part in San Francisco hip hop event
Sophomore Jameson Allen has dedicated his life to music in all forms.
And now it’s starting to pay off.
The Grand Blanc native, better known to many as N’Sayne, has been chosen out of 500 applicants to participate in an event sponsored by TeamBackPack, a music website and management company.
He will compete in the live audition section, competing in what is called a cypher on Sept. 7 in San Francisco’s Mission Cultural Center. A cypher is a type of rap battle where every rapper in the cypher is given the same beat and each rapper has to write and perform their own lyrics over the beat, Allen said.
He said he has to write two verses for two separate auditions.
“I’ve done some local shows, released an album by myself,” Allen said. “It’s nothing on a national level like this. It’s a little overwhelming but I try to put that in the back of my mind.”
He said he found out about the competition, which has been lauded by MTV and magazines such as The Source, on Facebook and, at the time he found out, he had little time left to complete a video to be an entrant.
“When I started my video, the contest was ending,” he said. “I had like two weeks left.”
Creating the video was a challenge in and of itself, where he had to get creative.
“I had no one to film the video for it,” he said. “I rolled up a carpet rug onto my wall and recorded through the video’s audio through my iPhone.”
Jameson, who began rapping as a freshman in high school in 2007, said the prize for winning this particular competition will be a professionally done music video, meetings with TeamBackpack producers and management and meetings with others in the hip-hop industry.
Everything that’s led to this point for him can be traced back to his infant years, being exposed to all sorts of music.
“My mom used to tell me that when she was pregnant, my mom would play classical music before I was born,” he said. “When I was 6, I started singing. I loved Michael Jackson.”
He said, as he grew, his musical tastes changed.
“Growing up as a kid, I didn’t listen to much hip hop,” he said. “My mom and dad listened to old school R&B.”
As he got older, he studied the great rappers and artists of the past to try and learn about rapping.
“I looked online for the great rappers and studied them,” he said. “Rakim, Tupac, The Notorious BIG. I learned how they do what they do and apply it to my own style.”
In high school, Jameson played saxophone, viola and piano for the school band.
He even loves the guitar, using the instrument in his recordings he makes in his own home studio.
“I put little guitar effects on some of my words sometimes,” he said. “I just love the way it sounded. It’s something I wish I could get the chance to do.”
With all of these different musical backgrounds, rap music and hip hop is the genre Allen loves the most.
“Whether it’s studying the best rappers who paved the way for me, or just promoting myself, I never really stop,” he said.
His cousin and associate producer for the MTV show “When I was 17,” Paige Barnett, said she has watched Allen grow and enhance his talents and skills over the years.
“He started off making little mixtapes,” she said. “He had his (high school) football team really involved. They would play his CD during warmups.”
She said him being chosen for an event like this has helped him in a lot of ways, including boosting his confidence.
“I think he knows he doesn’t have to give up now,” the New York City resident said. “He definitely has a talent for it.”
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