By Joe Montgomery

Young Slugga is the name of the artist you will see on the new rap album that was created and produced by a former Eastern student and current resident of Richmond. “Heart of a Lion” is the rapper’s first album, a collection of 12 songs that are meant to get this new artist’s name known and to connect on a personal level with those who are listening to his music.

Slugga started his creative composition of words with poetry when he was young and growing up in Louisville.

Following the inspiration of his grandmother, who also wrote poetry, Slugga picked up the art for himself.

Winning a poetry contest at Doss High School and getting published in the 2001 Young Scholars Program, Slugga has always had a gift with words.

“The spoken word is the strongest weapon in the world – more than a gun. You can get people to do whatever you want with it,” he said.

One day during his junior year of high school in the back of a bus, some other kids were free-style rapping.

So Slugga jumped in and ever since then he took his poetry into a different genre.

Slugga is a rapper who stands aside from the thuggish persona that rap music portrays today.

“Who needs 30′ rims? It’s far fetched,” Slugga said.

Slugga said rap music today is going in the wrong direction.

“It’s transparent. You see straight through it,” he said.

And with his own style, he wants to help put music out there that has heart in it again.

He raps to connect with people, to share the things he has gone through in life so someone else might be able to relate.

When everyone else he knew was putting out mix tracks, Slugga went against the grain and decided to create his own album.

Using an old-school style that is reminiscent of 2Pac, he raps outside the box, staying mostly away from today’s trend of letting catchy chorus lines carry the entire song.

He brings his poetry into his music, because, “that’s what rap stands for: rhythm and poetry.”

Slugga’s music has an old-school feel with a fresh voice.

But despite the fact that he isn’t a fan of the direction of rap today, he still dabbles in a style he said would attract all listeners.

On his album you will hear both styles of rap, and he is proud of the fact that he can put his feet in two different shoes and still make it work.

The song “Close My Eyes” is a great example of his old-school rhythm.

It’s a beautiful song that shows a depth of emotion, which relates to anyone who has lost someone.

“The Story” is an example of how Slugga rarely uses chorus lines in his music.

He keeps the words fresh from beginning to end and, perhaps most impressively, he wrote and recorded the entire song with complete memorization.

He never touched a pen to paper.

Slugga has taken his music to a level he said he hopes will only escalate.

He has competed in and won the Hottest in the Ville competition in Louisville, which awarded him airtime on the radio.

And he also performed at the KYMP music awards, where disc jockeys and music personalities get together to help local artists.

With the creation of his album, Slugga hopes to get his music known and step into the million-dollar music industry for a talent he began on the school bus.