Student artist shows true self in new album


Nicole Goodie

Rapper, DeWayne Ewing practices a few of his songs to find the right beats to go with his lyrics.

“My deepest fear is being average,” is just one lyric that embodies the ideals and lifestyle of up-and-coming rapper and Cosumnes River College student DeWayne Ewing Jr., also known as Consci8us.

Some have said that Ewing uses his passion for hip-hop, poetry and hard-work to better his community and motivate and inspire those around him.

“He really stood out to me as somebody who is talented, as somebody who we’re really fortunate to have as a student here and as somebody who has the potential to create change both on this campus and, I would say, in the community,” said communications professor Georgine Hodgkinson.

Even though he moved here from Oakland only two years ago, Ewing has only continued to expand his presence in the Sacramento community.

He teaches hip-hop workshops at the Oak Park Community Center and is also a motivational speaker for kids and teens.

“I’ve always been an inspirational person, like a motivator, even as a kid I was always the positive person,” Ewing said.

He said he is excited to start branching out to the entire city and begin doing his workshops at local schools. He has also recently started a hip-hop and poetry club at CRC.

Ewing said he wanted to start the hip-hop club because he has loved the campus since his first day and wanted to leave some part of him behind.

“There’s a unique energy here and I felt it like the first time I came and I said ‘I don’t know what that is,’ but I like the vibe here, it’s just calm.”

Without the time or social grouping he was used to in Oakland, Ewing said he had put the idea of the hip-hop club on hold until now. He said everything just started falling perfectly into place.

His goal for the hip-hop club is to build a community that is conscious and thought-provoking, he said.

“His idea of starting a hip-hop club here is a perfect one,” said psychology professor James Frazee. “It’s going to fit into our multicultural and diverse community that we have of our students, faculty and staff. It can be inclusive across the board because it’s a genre of music that people easily get acculturated to.”

Professor Hodgkinson said in one of her communications classes, Ewing spoke eloquently about hip-hop culture and how it can build a sense of community.

Although Ewing said he is dedicated to the hip-hop club and what it can be, his music itself is something that is completely beyond him. He kept repeating the phrase “it’s bigger than me.”

Ewing’s big project this year is an album called “#Day2Day: Still Dreamin’” that he will be releasing in March. He said this project shows so much of him as an artist and as a person trying to get through life the best he can.

“When I first started making music there’s a lot of stuff I didn’t even understand that I used to talk about,” Ewing said.

He said that the struggles he has faced has shaped his music and lyrics indefinitely.

“Every line has so much significance,” Ewing said. “Every artist may not be like that but I put so much energy into my raps and what I’m saying.”

He said the meaning of his album started to form when he began focusing on the right things, surrounding himself with positive ideas and forcing himself to deal with his thoughts. He said he had to start living a day-to-day lifestyle and that is what inspired a lot of his lyrics.

“The whole concept with “#Day2Day” was just focusing on living each day rather than looking at the big picture,” Ewing said. “Just do one thing at a time.”

Ewing said his inspirations naturally flow from his conversations and his music.

“His music said something and I think that’s the rare commodity that he is.” Frazee said.

Ewing said at this point, his music has a universal message that anyone can take away from. Though, he said he does like to motivate children through his lyrics.

“I write it for kids a lot because I feel the younger generation needs people to listen to that have a positive message,” he said. “I like to say a conscious message because consciousness is not always positive because the world is not always positive.”

Frazee said he could actually sit and listen to Ewing’s music with his children.

“Many of the songs were not something I would find inappropriate,” Frazee said. “In fact, any “inappropriate words” that were used there were used in a way that I actually respect. They weren’t used in ways to diminish, they were used in ways to highlight.”

Ewing seems to already be forming a fan base among some of the faculty at CRC.

“He reinforces the great thing about teaching which is the opportunity to work with creative, smart, talented people,” Hodgkinson said. “The chance to get to be apart of their academic journey is one of the greatest gifts of this job.”

One fan, economics professor Edwin Fagin, even said Macklemore sounds like he mimicked Ewing’s music from his first album.

“I told him his first record was so good, and I think he did it before Macklemore came around a couple years back,” said Fagin. “It’s got almost everything that that record has, the catchy hooks, the great music in the back, the great lyric, so it’s got all of that stuff but didn’t reach the public.”

Fagin said a lot of it has to do with getting it to the right people at the right time.

But it’s not like someone can just wake up and make it big, it takes a certain level of dedication and work.

“Most of us can’t get by on our innate intellectual abilities alone, it also takes hard work and I think DeWayne really embodies that balance,” Hodgkinson said. “He’s certainly talented, there’s no doubt about it, but he also works hard and that’s the other really important part of the equation.”

Ewing’s producer and DJ, 22-year-old Ajani Rabb, said he wants people to really hear the effort that they put into “#Day2Day: Still Dreamin’.”

“I want people to understand how much work we put into making the music,” said Rabb. “So when they hear it, they understand just off of hearing it.”

But besides the amount of work that went into producing the album, Ewing said he wants his audience to understand his message.

“You never know how something is going to turn out for you,” Ewing said. “Even if it seems so negative, even if it comes off like it’s bad or even something that comes off like it’s good, you don’t know. So it’s kind of going with the flow, because you don’t really know.”

What Hodgkinson said makes Ewing unique and someone “we should be watching” is his ability to actually initiate positive change through his music and his actions.

“He’s not just a musician. he’s not just an artist. He’s an artist with real clear intent that involves community building and social activism,” Hodgkinson said. “Sometimes I think it’s difficult to bridge those two pools. Just producing the art can be arduous but then to be so committed to using the art to make positive change is incredibly admirable.”

Ewing’s music is available on SoundCloud and Bandcamp under the name Consci8us.