By MIKI JENNINGS
Pima student and former theater major Jeremy Brent, 20, got into hip-hop about three years ago through a friend who likes to freestyle.
“I just always sort of let him do his thing but he kept telling me, ‘Jeremy, freestyle! Kick a flow!'” Brent said.
One day, Brent broke down and started freestyling with his friend, and says he’s been in love ever since. Hip-hop opened a whole new door to self-expression.
“The last song I did was about loving yourself because I felt like I needed to remind myself of that,” he said. “And if other people catch the message too, that would be nice. Self-love is something the world severely lacks.”
April 9 marked the one-year anniversary of hip-hop shows at Dry River, an anarchist collective that offers space for concerts. Brent performed under his stage name “Citrus” along with other local hip-hop artists.
Dry River is his favorite venue because of how warm and accepting the people are. He has also performed at Club Congress, Skrappy’s Youth Collective, Sky Bar and Shot in the Dark.
Brent has a theater background that spans several years, but doesn’t find it as satisfying as he once did.
“I fell in love with hip-hop relatively recently and decided that’s what I want to be doing,” he said. “Theater isn’t really doing it for me anymore.”
He is currently stuck between majors as he decides what to study.
“You can’t get a Ph.D. in rapping,” Brent said. “It just doesn’t exist.”
He could go to recording school and learn the technical aspects of making music, but doesn’t feel he’s very good with technology. While he figures out what to do, he plans to continue studying at Pima.
One thing that sets Brent apart is his upbringing. Raised by new-age hippies, he describes himself as “extremely” spiritual but doesn’t identify with any one religion.
He was raised to take parts from any religion that makes sense to him and adapt them to his own life.
Intelligence, to him, is the ability to exercise an idea without fully accepting that it’s true.
“I’m willing to believe that God is this guy who made Jesus and all the Ten Commandments are true or whatever, but I’m also willing to believe that he’s a spaghetti monster,” he said. “I’m gonna go with what feels right to me.”
Brent has also learned to read a 52-card deck like Tarot cards. He also meditates regularly, noting “I really know the importance of meditation now.”
Meditation helps Brent to be more calm and aware of his own thoughts. “So many people go on autopilot,” he said.
Brent finds that his spirituality and rapping mesh well.
“It’s just like a prayer, except I’ve created it, I’ve hand-written it,” he said. “It’s the same thing, except a little more rhythmic and bad ass, with different intention.”
While he figures out where to go, Brent will continue developing his style and doing more shows at venues and open mic nights around town.
Citrus has a song up on SoundCloud.com under his name CitrusTheDrunkenProphet.
People interested in checking out one of Brent’s shows can find him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeremy-James-Brent/1507524576 or e-mail him at email@example.com for more information.