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Alvin Addo ’12

Five-time Grammy winning hip hop artist, Lauryn Hill once said “Hip hop isn’t just music, it is also a spiritual movement.  You can’t call real Hip-Hop a trend!”   Alvin Addo ‘12 shares this opinion.
“Hip Hop is a culture,” Addo said.  “Many people would not be here without it.  It answers the question, why am I here?”  If this is true then hip hop is much more powerful than the booty-shakin’ Top 40 songs would imply.  Hip hop is a state of being, a tool to connect yourself with the world.  Alvin Addo wields this tool.
His talent did not start in early childhood or even adolescence.  Alvin discovered and cultivated his power as a freshman in Ujamaa three years ago.
“When I was little, my parents thought I was rhythm-less because I didn’t dance and I didn’t enjoy music.  I came to Stanford and something changed.”  Alvin participated in the Annual Delta Gents Pageant as a freshman and decided to use rap as his main talent.  After receiving rave reviews from the event, he continued to write poetry and turn them into lyrics throughout his freshman year. By his sophomore year, Alvin was preparing to write and produce his first studio album.  After spending countless hours in Stanford recording studios, working on the beats to all of his original songs and developing his own website, Alvin managed to single-handedly create his album “Ambition.”
“I wrote all of the songs, produced all of the songs, and at the same time made my website,” Addo said.  “It was a lot of work but I really enjoyed it and I knew that if I did it alone I could do it my way.” 
His first album was inspired by the Jay-Z’s song “Allure”, Alvin’s favorite hip hop track.  “I remember when I first heard Jay-Z’s ‘Allure’ track from his ‘Black Album.’  It was about 4 years ago.  I felt as though I was floating every time I heard the song.  I wanted that feeling every day.”  Since the days of Jay-Z’s “Black Album”, Alvin has tried to mimic this feeling through his music on his first album.  He is currently working on his second studio album as well as working on collaborations with other Stanford musicians and more popular music artists.   
Alvin describes himself as a chameleon, a person always trying to change for the better. 
“I am dynamically changing,” Addo said.  And like a chameleon, he constantly changes his identity at school — from rapper to producer, designer to scientist.  Alvin is a Human Biology major with an emphasis in biomechanics.  He is also the Academic Theme Associate for Kimball and promotes music making and recording in his dorm.  
“I am exploring different options with design and science as a future career,” Alvin said.  “I would not be against having a career as a studio producer, but I also enjoy science and medicine.”
Alvin has gotten his name out on campus by performing regularly at the CoHo, Cantor Arts Center, Parent’s Weekend and Admit Weekend.  He enjoys telling stories his way, without any constraints.  Just like his music, he performs his academics with his own style and personal touch, and just like any celebrity, he is also widely known throughout campus for his fashion.  At every performance he sports a black suit, and he makes sure to keep it classy in everyday life too.
“Just like music, my clothes tell a story as well,” Addo said.  “Gotta keep looking fresh.”

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