Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Student artist finds true passion in music

Published: August 31, 2012
Section: Features, Top Stories

Far from only labeling himself a rapper, Osaze Akerejah ’14, a philosophy major who is more recognizable by his stage name Saz.É , identifies himself first and foremost as an artist.

Rebuking the pressure merely to conform to what is deemed popular by mainstream artists or society, his creative passion becomes evident as he adamantly proclaims the desire to convey emotional experiences and musical quality through his work. In an interview with The Hoot, Akerejah revealed the personal struggles that have served as a source of inspiration to his work, and the redeeming effect that music had in his life.

Akerejah is originally from New Jersey, and released his first mixtape, “DjFreeez Presents … Saz.É’s The Little Black Boxx ,” in 2010, and a second tape, “DjFreeez Presents … Saz.É’s Invincible Tomorrow,” in February 2012.  Akerejah is currently collaborating with producer Dom? Beats on the upcoming release of the project “One Hell of an Internship.”

One of his most popular songs, “Dear Daughter,” which he performed on campus last year at Culture X, expresses his desire to raise a black daughter, as evident through the lyrics “I am a black father / or soon to be a black father / can’t help but want a pretty black daughter.”

As Akerejah spoke, his passion for music became evident. “I feel like above all else music should be very emotionally connective as well as thought-provoking,” he said.

Akerejah traces his love of rap to his youth, and he recalled initially falling in love with rap at age six, when he would listen to records with his brother. Despite exploring the possibility of becoming a zoologist in subsequent years, Akerejah once again became enraptured with music in seventh grade while experiencing the emotional turbulence accompanying his parents’ divorce. Calling music his savior, he said that music was a “mean to channel negative energy in the household and give me a space to talk about it and express myself.”

Rather than narrowing the scope of his music to a certain audience,  Akerejah said, “I don’t make songs for specific people or groups, I make music for specific emotions and feelings.” Akerejah also uses lyrics as an outlet not only to express his own emotions, whether it be heartbreak, depression or even elation, but as a means to channel the struggles  and experiences of those around him as well.  While discussing his passion for music, he simply stated, “I always said that it saved my life, because it’s been the thing where when I was suicidal, I thought ‘well man, if I’m dead I couldn’t write songs anymore.’ I always say music is my ground.”

Akerejah continued to explain that he idolizes musicians and artists such as Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Jay Z and The Beatles. “Rap is very musical,” he said. “The way they put together their verses is like putting together an arrangement for any instrument.” In terms of his own personal style, he labels himself as a conscious rapper, meaning his lyrics focus upon real issues, reflecting the personal ties in his music.

Despite the overwhelming number of individuals hoping to pursue careers as artists, Akerejah distinguishes himself through his unique sound. When questioned as to what he will contribute as an artist to the blend of music that is already produced, Akerejah referenced his background in poetry, a factor that lends itself to his distinct writing approach and complex lyrics.  He explains, “I don’t get too caught up in trying to do what’s hot, I just try to do what sounds good musically.”

Beyond the individuals he idolizes in the musical world, Akerejah continues to look up to other prominent figures, including President Obama. He also has very personal idols, including his deceased brother Nelson, who was autistic. “In his silence, he taught me a lot. He taught me strength,” Akerejah said.

Utilizing this strength, Akerejah remains driven to continue pursuing his musical career post-graduation, confessing, “I will either succeed in music or die trying. I really feel like this is what I am best at and what I was put here to do.”

During his classes at Brandeis, Akerejah said the most rewarding compliment he has received was from a fellow peer who confessed, “You made me appreciate rap. You showed me how it can be an art form and how it can be poetry.”

Akerejah appreciates support from his family and friends, and wishes to perform at SpringFest this year, saying that “Brandeis is the place I really want to love my music. If you don’t have support from family, and I consider Brandeis family, you have nothing.”