Tarik Mishlawi '18: Rising Hip Hop Music Sensation

Freshman Tarik Mishlawi is becoming quite the internet sensation as an up-and-coming hip-hop musician. While trying to make a name for himself, the 18-year-old Portugal native has taken to all social media to debut raps that he writes and produces himself. Now, with almost 700 Facebook likes and over 3,000 views on his latest music video, this long-time musician is ready to take center stage on the music scene. 

Her Campus American University: How long have you been involved in music?

Tarik Mishlawi: Music has been an important part of my life, for as long as I can remember. My mom would always tell me that when I was a baby I had a hard time sleeping if music wasn’t playing around me. When I was about five years old, my dad bought me my first drum set and I spent hours on it, messing around and trying to learn how to play. When I reached fourth grade, I started to play electric bass in our elementary school band and eventually in seventh grade, my dad taught me the fundamentals of guitar and I’ve played ever since. It was only in high school when I started to write music and take vocals seriously. 

 HCAU: How did you get started with writing and recording music? 
 
TM: No matter the phases of music I went through and what music I was more interested in during different times in my life, I was always a follower of hip-hop. I performed a rap song in front of an audience for the first time when I was eight years old, and it was probably one of the scariest challenges I chose to face as a child. When I reached high school, one of my friends showed me a rap song which really changed the way I looked at song lyrics and rap music. That song was “Dance With The Devil” by Immortal Technique. That day, I went home and wrote my first rap verse to Immortal Technique’s instrumental and recorded it on my phone. Ever since then I wrote raps normally--now, at 18 years old, I visit the studio every weekend and test new lyrics on the microphone. 
 
HCAU: Could you describe your music in terms of your style, and what you try to portray through your music?
 
TM: I label myself a hip-hop/rap artist, but I never want to limit myself to only one style. I have tried so many different styles of hip-hop over my last four mixtapes, using old school 90’s instrumental beats all the way to reggae and jazzy instrumentals. The truth is, I'm still trying to figure out what works best for me, and people back in Portugal people who listen to my music and follow me give me feedback on what styles they like best. One thing that a lot of rappers today lack is creativity on the chorus of songs, which is why we see so many girl singers featured on all the best hit rap songs. I try my best to spend time and sing my own hooks, and even if I'm not the best of singers I'm always trying to improve--even if I have to take voice lessons later on. I usually write my music about whatever is on my mind, my theory is that the more problems you encounter, the better your lyrics become. Fortunately, I'm blessed enough to go to a great school and live a great life, but the little issues here and there call for new songs all the time. I try to tell stories through my lyrics, relate to my audiences, and send out an important message. I have written so many songs about girls, politics, etc.
 
HCAU: Who's been your biggest influence in the music industry?
 
TM: My biggest influence in the music industry is Richie Campbell. Richie Campbell is a reggae artist in Portugal who is known nationwide; if you live in Portugal you have definitely heard a Richie Campbell song. One time while I was walking through the mall I ran into Richie, and my friends all told me that I needed to go talk to him. I approached him and told him that I was a musician and was trying hard to get my stuff out there, and he gave me his email. That night I sent him a message with links to my music and information about myself, thinking he might never respond. Three days later he answered me and told me he was really impressed with my music and wanted to keep the link between us. Ever since then we became close friends and would hang out backstage after his big concerts and hang out together. Richie Campbell recently told me that he will help me promote my next mixtape when it releases in Portugal, and wants to work with me from now on. He told me that music is my fate and when I'm ready for Bridgetown Talent Agency (his management agency and soon to be recording label), Bridgetown Talent Agency will be ready for me. 
 
HCAU:  What do you hope to accomplish in the future with your music? 
 
TM: I wish to inspire people with my music and make it as the first big rapper in Portugal who does their music in English. I wish to stay modest and build a bigger fan base that I respect and that respects me. If I do manage to do music as a living, I wish to invest myself in other countries and maybe someday in the United States. 
 
HCAU: What has been your latest project? 
 
TM: My latest project was my “Wiz Kid” mixtape which I dropped in Portugal in May 2014 with a couple-hundred hard copies that were distributed. Even though I haven’t released a new mixtape since then, I have been active in releasing new music videos and tracks on Facebook. 
 
HCAU: Anything you can tell us about upcoming music or projects? 
 
TM: I am currently working on a new mixtape set to drop sometime this winter (most likely in January) in Portugal with 1,000 hard copies distributed at seven or eight different high schools for free. After distribution in Portugal I may be able to distribute at American University--if it is affordable. I have always given out CDs for free, I lose a lot of money but I have always been willing to invest in myself in order to spread my music and gain recognition for it.
 
Will we being seeing this hip-hop artist on the iTunes charts in the future? We hope so!