In the weeks leading up to Shortridge, we were told often how great the students were not only in general but also in their writing ability. In full transparency, I didn’t put as much stock into that as I should have during that time; part of me thought it was to put the group at ease and psych them up for their sessions with the students. After my first, and only, time at an open mic, my opinion changed vastly, and my mind was opened. I was honestly blown away by the raw, borderline professional talent those students possess. I remember hearing R—’s reading was mesmerized by the way he was able to weave words together and the rhythm and flow of it was top tier.
The talent was not merely exclusive to R—; B— and D— also have a lot to tap into. Beneath B—’s exterior lies a raw and profound voice that is mind-blowing to believe that it resides in someone so young. Her poem “Code Switching” is insanely wise, eloquent, and profound. D—’s talent is also noteworthy. His craft resides in his raps, and the extent of his knowledge of the rap genre and artists is as equally insane as his talent. While I feel like high school students discipling themselves after their favorite artists and creating and recording work that emulates them is nothing new, I also believe that D— pulls this off exceptionally well. He channels some of his favorite artists, Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole most notably, in his style and drafts to great effect. Underestimating the talent of the students of Shortridge was something that I definitely should not have done.
Thad Boone is a senior Digital Media Production major.