Campus Celebrity: Cody Epps

Meet this week's campus celebrity! If you haven't already heard of him through his “Spoken Word” video from MSU's very own poetry slam, allow us to introduce you all to Cody Epps. Cody is an aspiring musician with hopes of making it to the big time and filled with all the drive to reach stardom. Her Campus has had the pleasure to sit down with Cody to talk about his passion for music and writing, humble beginnings, and inspirations. Here's a small glimpse into the craft of one of MSU's rising stars. 

Name: Cody Epps

Hometown: Perth Amboy, New Jersey

Major: Liberal Arts

Minor: Philosophy 

Year: Senior

Age: 22 

Favorite song at the moment: "Pray 4 Love" by Travis Scott

HCM: Since your major is liberal arts, have you ever taken a music class?

CE: I’ve never taken a music class in my life. 

HCM: So are you all on your own with music?

CE: Not all on my own. But teaching myself, yes. But I have friends who are all into music too. Both my brothers are into it as well. I have friends who are producers, rappers, and singers, and poets. I like surrounding myself around in that community of people; it inspires me. 

HCM: What’s your inspiration – personally and artistically?

CE: My inspiration is basically the world around me that I’m living in and the experiences I’ve been through and a lot of spiritual things, just the aspect of art as a whole for music. You have people out on the radio now who are just rapping about cars, money, girls, and drugs. Like that’s all it is. I really want to hone the aspect of making art instead of just a song for someone to listen to. Make it from not just the lyrical content, the message, but the beat and everything else. This is sonically a piece of art. I want you to feel it. I’m also inspired by other people’s creativity that I see online and things that other people do. How I can morph that into my own things and take bits of this and put it together. It’s basically my journey what inspires me all the time. 

HCM: Who are your musical influences?

CE: My biggest inspiration is Kendrick Lamar. Lyrically, his message is a lot deeper than what some people would think. How he portrays that storyline and message of whatever he’s saying, it doesn’t need to relate to me. I don’t live the life he lived [in Compton] but how he relates it makes me feel what he’s been through and that’s art. Like the way he sets up his music and how he carries himself. There are a lot of rappers or musicians that don’t give a crap about things. But he’s all about the creativity, all about the love, all about the music, and humanely love too in our own existence, so that really inspires me. Also, people like Kanye West; he’s a huge inspiration for me. He is a genius when it comes to music. He’s just creative, beat-wise, lyric-wise, and he’s also doing fashion. He’s made leaps in fashion that will be here for a while. He’s a huge pioneer in that aspect. He’ll always be respected as one of the greatest producers of all time because of how he utilizes his beats. He uses full orchestra. He uses people with actual instrument. That’s so inspiring in an artistic way. That helps me and drives me to what I want to do with my music as well. 

HCM: How did you get started with music?

CE: It started as a hobby. My brothers and I would fool around with music. My oldest brother plays the guitar and my other brother used to play the drums. My dad is also big into music himself, he sings and plays the keyboard. We were brought up in a huge music environment. We’ve been taught to respect all types of music and I think that’s something that’s important in being a musician or artist in any aspect, to respect the craft fully of what you’re doing. I’ve been up on oldies. Some of my favorite oldies are The Temptations and Frank Sinatra. I love listening to that because I’ve been brought up on it, but it also helps me respect music in general a lot more. Around age 14 or 15, I got into rapping and my brothers and I would make remixes. Around 18, I got more serious with it. Then I started to write as much as I could and find beats to remix until I began doing my own.  

HCM: What do you identify yourself as?

CE: I don’t like saying rapper, because it’s too misconstrued nowadays. I say writer or a term I like to say is “sonic painter.” I like to write the lyrics and write stories out. I’m very into fiction, making up stories for a song, and making a new reality someone can just enter. Since I don’t have the background that a lot of people do, like out in the streets, you can make up your own and suspend reality. It’s kind of like writing a novel. 

HCM: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

CE: I really hope to be recognized on a level where I can sustain myself. I’m not saying on a level like Jay-Z, but a level where I’m doing shows and living off of what I’m doing and just getting bigger from there. 

HCM: What drives you to succeed?

CE: My drive to succeed is because this is something I live and breathe. It’s something I have been wanting for a while. It’s something a lot of people told me I couldn’t do because this industry is so hard to get into. Also, I don’t want to live a mediocre life. I don’t want to have a 9 to 5. I don’t want to sit behind a cubicle. I want to live the dream I have. I want to do what I love. If your job is what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. 

HCM: What advice do you have to others in regards to following their dreams?

CE: Just don’t stop. If you want something, just go get it. There should be no if, ands, or buts. There should be no one else steering what you’re trying to do. If you want to do it, have no excuses for it. Put the work in, much passion, emotion, and heart into what you want to do for it. Whether it comes to be that you don’t get to where you wanted but you put that passion in and that work you were supposed to put in and it didn’t work out, well it didn’t work out. You have no regrets in the end. Things happen for a reason and all of us are put on earth for a certain job. So whatever is constantly on your mind all the time that you can’t sleep without thinking about or have a day without thinking about, then that’s what you have to do. For me, that’s music so I’m going to pursue it to the ends of earth and that’s it. 

If you'd like to know more about Cody and his music, follow him on Instagram and Twitter: @malachisrevenge

Also, feel free to check out his latest single, "Book of Arc" on SoundCloud.