Karanji is a 31-year old hip-hop artist from Detroit, MI who was raised by a single mother on the citys West side. His name,Karanji means a \'spiritual guide\' or \'one who guides.\' Though his parents were divorced at an early age, he was influenced byboth as he grew up. Being raised with an Afro-centric upbringing that taught self-love became an integral part of his music interest and later on motivated him to create music that moved feet as well as spirits. Artists he claims as musical inspirations are Stevie Wonder, Anita Baker, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Marvin Gaye, Earth Wind and Fire,Common, Nas, Tupac,Outkast,KRS-1, Rakim, X-Clan and Public Enemy.Karanji originally was an aspiring singer who was a member of the Hampton University Gospel Choir while attending there and was also a member in several singing groups while in high school. A turning point came in his life at age 18 while enrolled at Hampton University when his mother, whom he was very close to, passed away from a rare form of brain cancer. Her passing motivated him to continue on at Hampton University and graduate with honors with a Bachelors of Science in Marine and Environmental Science. After graduating from Hampton University, he decided that he would give back to his community the best way he knew how and that was by teaching. So he enrolled at Marygrove Colleges GRIOT program, to become a certified science teacher and received his Masters degree in Education in 2000. As a science teacher on the East side of Detroit at Pershing High School he experienced things that would motivate him to do hip-hop music. As a teacher at Pershing, he taught students who felt no one really cared about the inner city child and the things that they went through. Many of his students did not know who their fathers were because they were either dead or incarcerated.Many had parents who were crack addicts and therefore were being raised by their grandparents and other extended family.Most of his students had never seen anyone in their family go to college and the most common successful people in their neighborhoods were drug dealers. Almost every child in his classes either knew someone close to them who had been shot or knew someone who had shot somebody. Moreover, he saw first hand how most current rap music was encouraging children to aspire to live a negative lifestyle that would damage their communities. All of this motivated Karanji to do hip-hop that would not only entertain but would also inspire change. At first,he sought out and formed a group called, \'Griot Foundation\'. This did not work out for him so he set out on his own as a solo artist under his own name. Karanji seeks to shake things up in the rap game and bring a new era to hip-hop that has you can feel with the heart as well as hear with the ears. He has completed his first album entitled, Appreciation, and hopes to sign a promotions and distribution deal that will allow him to spread his music worldwide. He wants his earnings to be substantial enough so that he will be able to give back to his community in order to make a positive change. He believes and lives by the idea of, to whom much is given, much is expected. \'The decisions you make will pave the roads you take\'- Karanji.
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