Saddleback College student pursues his passion for rapping

Josh Saunders on the cover of his new album ‘Freshman of the Year’ (Courtesy of Josh Saunders)

Chelsea Jarrell

Josh “J. Saun” Saunders began tossing rhymes around for fun with his friends during his freshman year of high school. Two years later with a crisp new microphone, some recording gear, and a little encouragement, he decided to take rapping as a career more seriously.

Now a Saddleback College political science student, Saunders realizes music is the polar opposite from his plan of going to law school. But his passion is contagious, and the beats just won’t stop playing in his head.

Saunders wants every word to be well thought out and have a purpose.  “I rap about life events and things people can relate to,” he says. “Also, I went all Will Smith in my album-I don’t cuss in my music.” Preferring not to use curse words as “fillers” in his beats.

Saunders’ first clean mixed tape titled, “Freshman of the Year” was just released online this month. The album has taken over two years to write but he is pleased with the album’s sound and variety. His songs, “Swag,” and, “Never Made It,” were written when he was only 17 years old.

Writing lyrics, recording, mixing beats and marketing has proven to be a lot of work but Saunders is taking on gigs and showcases in his free time. His last gig at the Shark Club in Costa Mesa he ended up performing in front of an audience of over 200 and turned the crowd from boos to cheers.

“Some guy invited me to perform at the Playboy Mansion but I didn’t go because my mom would kill me,” Saunders says laughing. “I’m really just looking to put my music out there. If people like my style, they like it. If they don’t, they don’t.”

Between studying and focusing on his music, Saunders runs the 110-meter and 400-meter hurdles on the Saddleback track team. He plans to transfer to USC Gould School of Law fall 2014. 

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