Wharton freshman Kayvon Asemani started his own business where the product is free. Coming from a difficult background, Asemani believes that everyone should have the chance to experience the music that is part of his brand: Kayvon Music.
He says he practices “ethical capitalism,” so that even those who can’t afford his rap music can still enjoy it. He has made a profit selling T-shirts with his logo designed by College sophomore Adam Reid. He said the design — which is a blend of a lion, bear and wolf’s face wearing a crown — reflects the theme of his songs, which start with “a fierce dark element” and end in a hopeful tone, reminiscent of his own past.
By the age of nine, Asemani lost both his parents and was subsequently shuffled around to different family members. Eventually, he attended the Milton Hershey School, a free private school for underprivileged kids in Pennsylvania. He graduated as valedictorian of his class and was determined to pursue a degree in business as well as his artistic dream of making music.
Most of his music is about the struggle of social stratification. College freshman Roger Lee said that Asemani’s music “challenges the status quo and addresses the sickness within society.” Asemani describes his music as “serious, but it can also be funny.”
Asemani acknowledged that he did not start with the same resources that other Wharton students might have had, but he works tirelessly to compete at the same caliber.
“There would be days where we’d be up until 5 a.m. studying after he’d already had a full day of performing and writing new music,” Wharton freshman Dawit Gebresellassie said. “And he does it all not for the grade, but for knowledge’s sake.”
Asemani’s music has gained recognition among the freshman class. He performs at open mic nights and other events around campus and has created several albums and a music video, “Crying Out My Soul,” with the help of College sophomore Chaz Smith. His site, kayvonmusic.com, sells T-shirts and functions as a blog. Anyone can become a member to get discounts on merchandise, listen to music and share thoughts. There are currently 61 members.
Some have criticized Asemani for his views on Greek life in his songs. Although he attended rush events, he decided not to join a fraternity because he dislikes “the idea of manufactured adversity to bring people together.” He likes the idea of brotherhood, but not the process of getting there through pledging or hazing. “I’m not saying to destroy frats,” he added.
Asemani plans to release new merchandise and a new album called U4IC (pronounced euphoric) on his website soon. In the coming months, he is looking to headline a show in Philadelphia.
“Kayvon Music is where it starts,” Asemani said. “The idea is Kayvon Enterprises.” He compared the Kayvon Music movement to Snapchat. “No one ever expected an app that started as just a way to send pictures to develop into something you could use as a news source,” he said.
“Kayvon illuminates what entrepreneurship is,” College freshman Andrew Valdez said. “He’s not just making music, he’s making something real and tangible.”
Asemani said he wants his words to be meaningful to listeners. “I want people to feel something even if my music pisses someone off,” he said. “I want them to feel some way about it.”
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