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Changing the world one note at a time

Malcolm Luther is a stage name for Jakeem Easter, a 19-year-old from Maryland trying to change the world through his music. He coined the name to honor two of his role models: Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

As a black teen trying to make it in the music world, Easter said these two towering figures served as a source of inspiration.

“I hate the idea of sounding clichéd,” Easter said. “I don’t want to be just another black boy trying to make it as a famous rapper.”

Easter, whose songs are filled with expressions of respect and self control, said he is afraid of falling into the rap stereotype.

“M.L.K. and Malcolm X were both activists. That’s what I hope to be-through my raps,” Easter said.

Easter has been rapping since he was 9 years old. He said that what distinguishes him from other student rappers is his mission.

Easter said when he was a junior in high school his mother asked to hear one of his raps. Realizing that until then he had been following in the footsteps of rappers such as Lil’ Wayne, he was embarrassed that he couldn’t rap those sorts of things in front of his mother.

Since then he said he has tried to inspire and help people with each of his songs.

In his song “Truth Hurts” he writes: “On my life I swear I won't sell my soul/ And I ain't talkin bout my kicks then that promise be broke/ I plan on changin’ the world. While I am tourin’ the globe/ Bringing musical healing so everybody can cope.”

Easter said that the most important thing in his life right now is his music.

However, his education is “up there” on his list. Majoring in sociology, Easter is a first generation college student.

He entered Seton Hall last year as a physical therapy major, but quickly realized that the major was not helping his music, so he switched to sociology. He said he hopes to use his sociology major to shed light on different social issues.

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Easter said that besides Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, he has been influenced by the people who have been closest to him, such as his grandfather, mother, girlfriend and fans.

His rap role model is Tupac Shakur.

“Tupac’s music isn’t like other rappers, and neither is mine,” Easter said.

Easter makes sure his lyrics always stay true to his main values. Within these values lies an elevated importance of treating women right, inspiring others and resisting temptations towards alcohol and drugs.

He said the difference between his music and other’s is the way he is using his education to write about things and issues that matter, rather than to simply go on mindlessly about girls.

In fact, Easter considers himself a feminist and said that in his music he hopes to respect and uplift females and not degrade them the way some in rap music do today.

Although his ultimate goal is to provoke change and inspire others, he said that for now he is working on building a larger fan base.

At Seton Hall he takes part in all of the open mic nights, SHU Voice and a variety of multicultural events. He has been interviewed by WSOU and he hopes to build his reach by rapping in venues in Newark and New York City.

“The moment that I will really know that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing is when someone who only likes rock music becomes inspired and loves my rapping,” Easter said.

Easter said his favorite song is J. Cole’s “Breakdown” because of the way it touches on an important aspect of his own life. When Easter was 2-years-old, his father was shot and killed.

He said this experience has helped him develop into the man he is today.

“That song really reflects how I feel about not having my dad around,” Easter said.

Easter has used that situation and growing up without his father to really fuel his work and make sure he is making his family proud.

Easter hopes to become a role model for kids.

“Parents can act as role models,” Easter said. “But what about the kids who don’t have parents? They look towards rappers and singers to be their role models. I want to make sure I am conscious of my audience and always act as a role model.”

He explains that he is an open book and he hopes that being honest and transparent will help more people relate to him and his work.

Right now Easter has one track out called “Malcolm Casanova,” in which he describes his respectful attitude toward women. He plans to drop a mix tape called “Truth Hurts” in mid-winter.

Malcolm Luther’s music can be found on SoundCloud by searching “Malcolm Luther.” He is the second one down on the list.

He is also found on Twitter- @malcolmluther and Instagram-@_ MALCOLMLUTHER.

Siobhan McGirl can be reached at


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