Students find community and collaboration in underground music scene

Photo courtesy of Maryse Bombito | Temple junior Jhefferson Blunt found support and community in the underground music scene at Baylor, a group he says challenges one another to improve their art.

Lindsey Reynolds | Reporter

He sat there bobbing his head up and down and strumming his fingers on the table next to a giant pad of paper. It was adorned with hieroglyphic-looking scribbles that, to an onlooker, seemed to have no order or purpose. However, far from meaningless, these scribbles were the highly poetic thoughts of an artist with a purpose.

Temple junior Jhefferson Blunt, who’s stage name is “Judah,” is not only a corporate communications major on the pre-law track, but also an audio engineer and rapper in Baylor’s underground music scene—a community of artists that unite in efforts to support, improve and promote each other’s art.

“All of us, in one way or another, have stepped in foot in each other’s artistic lives,” said Blunt. “I feel like because of that, we are able to propel not only ourselves, but one another a little bit further.”

This growing community of Baylor students represents a deepening network of musicians, writers, visual artists, poets, songwriters, rappers, singers, spoken-word poets, audio engineers, videographers, photographers and graphic designers. They are not an official Baylor organization. Rather, these students are united independently by one thing: self-expression.

Baylor alumnus Ejay Mallard, a 2018 graduate in computer science, is a singer and songwriter from California. He was one of the prominent advocates for the new recording studios on the garden level of Moody Library.

“Baylor has done some things to advocate for the underground music scene here,” Mallard said. “One of the main things was the recording studio in Moody. The recording studios have given many of Baylor’s underground artists the tools needed to create anywhere from a single song to a full album.”

The studio in Moody is also a place to network. Many times two artists will meet while they are in the studio area. One may be a part of the underground music community, while the other completely unaware, thus expanding the reach of this community.

“There’s definitely a huge underground music scene at Baylor,” said Mallard. “I think there’s a lot of talent here that goes unrecognized, and I’ve been very blessed to be surrounded with some dope people.”

Although not formally recognized by Baylor as an organization, these students impact the community around them. Many members are a part of other groups, such as Greek organizations, Baylor athletics, choirs, church worship teams and other student associations.

Both Blunt and Mallard said they have received invaluable feedback and advice from their fellow artists in the community. The advice is often times very specific, suggesting that the artist pitch up a drum or fix the cadence when he or she is off by a syllable. Because this community has cultivated a trust in each other’s creative discretion, it is a safe place for the artists to exchange ideas, gain support and refine their art through constructive criticism.

“I’m so thankful for the people I have met in this community,” Blunt said, “they validate this dream I have to pursue music as a career.”

You can find Mallard’s music on Spotify and SoundCloud at Ejay Mallard and Blunt’s music on SoundCloud at Judah.