Every time I’m here I’m reminded of the Jamaican vacation I went on by myself. I was hanging out at the beach–they had a club there at night: tiki torches, maybe 400 people dancing on platforms to a reggae band. I was chillin’ by myself, and the singer from the band said, “You gotta be a star to be with a girl,” kinda dissin’ me for being alone. And I said, “If anyone’s a star, Azhar’s the star,” and he said, “What makes you a star?” and I let him hear a few of my rap songs. The next night he brought me up onstage and the band started playing this busta rhythm. I only had two songs at the time, but the ladies started rushing the stage and I was feeding off their energy and I started freestylin’. I kept going on and on until the guy tapped me on the shoulder and said, “It’s my turn, man,” and started singing. I graciously evacuated the stage, and out in the crowd the rastas said, “You caught the rhythm, man.” Unlike a lot of other cats, I truly have had my 15 minutes of fame! I still do an open mike every now and then–who knows, I may get another 15 minutes at some point.

–Azhar Nawaz, pharmacy student