Photo and story by Cymone West

On a typical day in 2017 at Blackburn Middle School, one could find rowdy classrooms with distracted students playing games, singing songs and doing anything but their work. Among the scholars was a then-14-year-old boy, Jacorey Mitchell. In his collared white shirt, khaki shorts and white Air Force Ones, accompanied by his diamond-stud earrings, Mitchell sat in the back of the classroom as his friend, Jadarius Smith, began to make a beat by banging his fists against the desk.

Once the sound filled Mitchell’s ears, he went into rapper mode, thinking of anything and everything that rhymed, made sense and went along with the beat. As Mitchell kept rapping, filling the room with the poetic words leaving his mouth, his classmates sat amazed at the raw skill and talent. He not only took to rap well, but stimulated their minds as he talked about multiple topics, such as money and school. After he’d finished his short, Smith took Mitchell to the side and told him he had “real talent,” as Mitchell puts it. Ever since, Mitchell has done his best to achieve his goal of becoming a world-renowned rapper.

That summer, Mitchell took a huge step to show people his talent and get his name out there. “Going to the studio for the first time, having my first show and getting booked,” Mitchell said were his focuses. A local producer saw his potential and wanted to give Mitchell the chance of a lifetime. He remembers the overwhelming feelings of joy.

In the summer of 2017, Mitchell entered a dark, cold room at Blue Concrete–a recording studio in Jackson on Medgar Evers Boulevard. His nerves began to kick in initially, but they didn’t last long. The producer helped “make the beat,” and soon Mitchell began rapping. The words were naturally flowing out of him, as if rapping was the only thing he knew how to do, and he did it well. A few minutes had passed, a couple of adjustments had been made, and “Down Talk” was finished.

Mitchell says he doesn’t feel any insecurities about his music, and it has helped him make progress in the last year.

However, when asked what a critical time in his life was Mitchell said, “September 1, 2017… when I lost my momma. It changed the way I act and left a mark.”

Even though it seems like something that would tear a person down, it is an eternal motivator for the young man.

He now lives with his father and younger brother in Washington Addition off of Raymond Road, near Jackson State University, where he was born and raised. Every day, he strives to make his mother proud and be a role model to his younger brother and anyone else who needs a mentor.

“I live with my dad and brother… He looks up to me,” Mitchell says when asked about his family life.

Mitchell is a freshman at Wingfield School. He decided to join Youth Media Project this year in hopes of “getting out of the street.”