At 17, Aubrey Major, a senior at West Valley High School, is ahead of the game. While many of her peers are still seeking their own forms of expression, Major is telling her stories in the form of poetry set to rhythmic beats. She is a rapper.
It began less than a year ago when Major attended a show where a female rapper, Dime City, was performing.
“I had always wanted to sing and she inspired me,” she said. She went home and started writing. She downloaded a beat and recorded a rap called “Darkness,” filled with a kind of relevant angst: “I tend to be misunderstood, used and abused. I always try to hold it in and let y’all be excused. People take advantage of me and they’re always actin’ rude. The darkness now is closing in, the light can’t shine through.”
The meaning of her words becomes clearer when she explains a bit about her past – moving around a lot and getting picked on in middle school.
“The way that I used to be treated and all of my emotions that have been bottled up have finally found a release,” she said.
Since “Darkness,” she has recorded a dozen songs and has performed at the A Club and the Hop in downtown Spokane. Social media sites have helped her find venues, producers, and fellow musicians and performers. Once she turns 18 in August, she plans to travel to out-of-town venues.
Watching her perform is a bit like watching passionate storytelling. While many people are turned off by the cursing and the “pants on the ground” fashion common among rappers and hip-hop artists, the message is universal, relayed in fervent, and at times brutally honest, rhymes. Even Major’s mother is not a big fan of rap and what may or may not be associated with the art form. Still, Major marches on because she loves what she does.
“I’m growing a lot,” she said. “I may even play around with the image thing. I will go to college. There are so many options and so many things I can do like audio, music production or criminal justice because I’m seriously fascinated with behavior analysis.”
Rap music and behavior analysis seem worlds apart and yet not; Major’s raps are almost musical analyses of behavior. In the rap “My Mask,” she explains: “Kind of hard to realize the situation that I’m in. All my life I’ve done nothing but put on a fake grin.
“I can’t sin, it won’t help me win, all it does is set me back and then my fate kicks in.
“My smile hides my pain and my pain is my fate. It can’t wait ’cause nothing will change the things that I hide each day.”