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by: Mike Reistetter

At Musical Exchange’s first annual talent show in October, the MSMC student body was introduced to an array of incredibly gifted performers.

A standout from the night was Rob Carvajal, who graced the stage that night with an entourage of his friends, entertaining onlookers at Hudson Hall with the poise of a seasoned veteran in the hip-hop industry. He had a unique ability to convey the full-weight of his interpersonal messages through rapping original lyrics, despite admirably agreeing to censor potentially offensive expletives. This willingness to alter one’s own creation for the sake of compromise and exposure, yet still captivate the majority of the audience, can hardly be taught. For there is a genuine depth behind Rob that will make every ear his sound hits want to turn around and recognize. A creative expression so innately unique, he has a stage persona everyone you ask on campus will already know. When he’s not Rob, he’s Prez PrimO.

Prez PrimO was born in the Bronx on March 13, 1995. His earliest rap and hip hop influences were generation-defining releases of the early 2000’s, as his older brother exposed him to records like Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP (2000), 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2003) and Clipse’s Lord Willin’ (2002), the latter album produced by Pharell. Hearing such iconic albums at an impressionable age, PrimO was immediately hooked, and knew he had to try and cultivate a voice of his own.

“I honestly started writing my own lyrics at the age of seven, originally just out of boredom and curiosity,” said PrimO. “I don’t think I started making lyrical progress until the age of 12. Over the years, more and more people started telling me that I sort of began developing my own sound. So when I fourteen, I started producing my own beats to accompany all the lyrics I had sitting around.”

Around this time, PrimO and his family left the Bronx and migrated upstate, permanently residing in Newburgh. Further enhancing his musical experimentation, a 17-year old PrimO realized the only way to truly find any form of success in the music industry was to emotionally and financially invest himself in his craft.

Upon becoming a student at Mount Saint Mary College, PrimO knew he could use this opportunity to further expand his brand and outreach.

“I’ve been able to shoot over three different music videos in New York City so far, for three different original songs of mine,” said PrimO. “However, I’ve had to pay for my own studio time when it comes to recording my music. I’ve also had to personally compensate the film directors that I contact for the time that they spend shooting my video scenes. “

PrimO believes his participation in self-written and professionally produced music videos are an integral character-builder. One that many up and coming artists may never be fortunate enough to experience.

“It can be extremely stressful and exhausting,” PrimO revealed. “But I love it.”

PrimO is also a firm believer in music as a virtue, or as he eloquently puts it, as an “extension of your soul.” He advises other artists, who may or may not be as vocal or eager to create as him, to be weary of people who try to change or dictate how a person should sound.

“A song is one of the few things that can survive for thousands of years after its original creator has passed on,” said PrimO. “Bottom line: music is immortal.”

Although, he hopes to “go big” and follow his dreams as any one in his position would, PrimO admits he weighs the practicality of his pursuits as well. If he falls short of achieving global stardom, his back-up plan is to become a history teacher, with his studies here at The Mount reflecting his alternative end-goal.

But for now, PrimO and his core group of collaborators plan to grow until they cannot grow any more. He is set to release his debut mixtape, Lovelution: The EP, at some point in 2016. His desire is to construct his much-anticipated EP with two sides: Side A, aimed towards male listeners, and Side B, aimed towards female listeners, so his music can satisfy his following with “the best of both worlds.”

Currently, PrimO has released four individual tracks on his SoundCloud profile: “#Family,” “Presto Magic,” “Throw That,” and “B4 I Go.” In addition to SoundCloud, updates on his releases can be found through his twitter account (@Prez PrimO), Instagram (@prez primo) and on Facebook.

While PrimO is currently operating on a hectic schedule filled with studying for finals during weekdays, and shooting music videos during the weekends, he still refuses to completely budge for his ever-increasing fan-base with too much music all at once.

“I want the majority of my music to maintain its sense of mystery to my audience,” said PrimO. “But when it (Lovelution: The EP) drops, the public is going to go crazy.”