Just a few seconds into S-Jayy's full length EP, one can tell that this FGCU senior in business management has the talent to make it in the highly competitive hip-hop world. And if the 24-year-old's history is any indication, he should be in MTV's video lineup before long. S-Jayy, the performing moniker of Stevie Johnson, has already performed at 2008's Eaglepalooza in addition to opening for Busta Rhymes, Lil Wayne and Yung Joc. Yet despite his impressive resume, his friend, Christine Deramo, insists that S-Jayy "is still the same guy he was in high school."
Deramo, a graduate student studying public administration adds, "I can see him being humble even if he gets really big." This humility is evident not only in S-Jayy's lyrics about college life and daily experiences, but also in his style, which he has branded as "ties and trucker hats." The "ties and trucker hats" tag has come to define S-Jayy to the extent that he even named a recent club tour after it, and he explains that if he had a record label, that would be its name.
Nick Podkowik, a junior communications major, describes SJayy's style as "preppy," adding that it "helps him relate to his following and appeals to the way he performs."
S-Jayy, who recently traded his trucker hats for a hairstyle he calls the "Gumby fade," explains that his choices "go against the norm and help me to stand out." He is inspired by artists who have dared to be different such as Prince, Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga. Even S-Jayy's Eaglepalooza performance demonstrates this commitment to originality — he stunned audiences by bringing local rock guitar player Dixon Cleaves to the stage for a live collaboration.
This same spirit continues in S-Jayy's third EP, "Moon Rockz." "Moon Rockz," which features Plex, a producer from Key West, has a spacey sound that runs through the entire album. And the EP, which is available on iTunes, has already generated interest from some major labels, including Ludacris' label, DTP. Whether or not this immediate interest turns into a record deal, his fans agree that he will be on a major label before long.
"He'll get a record deal," says Andrea Polick, a senior nursing major. "I don't know when it'll happen, but I definitely think it will."
Ever since S-Jayy turned the occasional rap videos he made with friends into a performance opening for Yung Joc, the realization of this dream has never been far off.
Three years ago, after taking advantage of this chance of a lifetime, S- Jayy realized that, "I was born to do music. There is nothing else that I was meant to do."
S-Jayy immediately changed his major to business management with the hope of using it to one day to navigate the treacherous world that is today's music industry, and eventually start his own label. He even has a studio in his house so that he can take control of his future as a rap artist.
But for now, S-Jayy is just finishing up his senior year at FGCU. He wants fellow students to know that, "If you see me (on campus) say ‘What's Up' and ask for a CD, because it's about to get serious."