FHN Alumnus Continues to Rap as a Hobby
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After making waves in the school community with his vocal skills, alumnus Rana “Sohail” Jchaj continues to pursue rapping as an outlet to showcase his creativity. Known for starting classroom rap battles and freestyling throughout the halls of FHN, Jchaj now spreads his music through the campus of UMSL. With plans to release new music in April, he set out to take his hobby to the next level in multiple ways.
“I’m most proud of being able to do what I want with my music,” Jchaj said. “I was always formulating rhymes in my head as a kid, and I just started off by free styling. It’s such an enticing culture and I love being a part of it.”
By the time Jchaj graduated in 2016, his main achievement as a hip-hop artist was the release of his first mixtape, “I’m An Only Child.” Looking ahead, he felt that the next step in becoming a rapper was to play his first show at a concert venue. After receiving a message from rapper Jess Jones, he was finally able to do so in August 2016. Impressed with his energy and ability to win over a crowd, Jones offered him a 15-minute opening slot for his show at Fubar. The event served as Jchaj’s first gig, and helped boost his motivation to further his talent in rapping and continue making music.
“It’s definitely a very fun and competitive talent,” Jchaj’s friend Chase Jefferson. “I find it very interesting, and the energy that Sohail puts into it is amazing.”
With a mixtape and a show under his belt, Jchaj made an effort to expand his knowledge of hip-hop. In addition to writing lyrics and rapping, he began learning how to record, produce and mix his own songs. After countless hours spent behind a microphone and computer, he can now complete his own songs from start to finish with ease. He has since put his skills to use, appearing on two songs made by local artists and performing a verse on stage with prominent rapper Hopsin.
“I think rapping can give a student like Sohail a lot of self-confidence and speaking skills,” former teacher Brian Santos said. “It’s nice to see students use creative outlets like this to express themselves.”