Jared Xavier’s experiences in New York and NEPA inspire him to make a difference in local rap scene
Twenty-five-year-old hip-hop artist Jared Xavier spent the early half of his life in the ethnically, culturally and financially diverse New York borough of Staten Island. The latter half of his life has been spent in the Pennsylvania borough of Edwardsville — although it was a change from the bustling metropolis of his youth, Xavier likes the influence the Wyoming Valley lifestyle has had on the person he grew up to be.
“I came here and kind of humbled myself and matured as a person,” Xavier said. “The New York scene is kind of wild, especially going to school there. Once I came over here and calmed down I kind of matured as a person and started to adapt to the Pennsylvania lifestyle, whether it’s going to the bars and drinking a couple beers or just sitting back. It’s not as crazy as New York is, but I enjoy spending half my life here as well.”
Xavier is attempting to bring that same positive outlook to the Northeast Pennsylvania hip-hop scene. He said he understands why people in the region see rap music as a negative thing, but not all of the songs that populate the genre glorify negative aspects of life.
“You have to be open … my music is not like that,” Xavier said. “The things that I say, the lyrics that I deliver, it’s only motivation to get people more focused. It doesn’t happen overnight but if we could unify, all come together, we can make a positive change in this area.”
The artist, who released his first song in 2012 after years of exploring the wide spectrum of hip-hop (Common, Mos Def, Nas, A Tribe Called Quest), attempts to make a difference by creating tracks that motivate people to use their thoughts and feelings as much as their dance moves. His desire to craft an enjoyable live show and his affinity for Kanye West’s “The Life of Pablo” have pushed him toward melodic hip-hop, but Xavier doesn’t get along with labels.
“It all comes from a personal place,” Xavier said. “I wouldn’t really call it trap-style rap or conscious rap, there’s not really a lane for it, I just express myself.”
It’s a good thing the rapper is apprehensive about pigeonholes, because his current 30-day song cycle gives him room to change up his sound on a month-to-month basis. His May 23 release “Friends” is an autotuned new school R&B love letter — his June release is still a mystery.
“Next month I don’t know, I’m not really sure,” Xavier said. “I have a bunch of tracks I’m working on; whatever gets finished first is the direction I’m going to take. I just try to do whatever feels good at the time.”
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts