A couple of weeks ago, while riding the downtown 4 train into Manhattan from the Bronx, I encountered one of these performers, and while I usually turn a blind eye and go on about my day, something about one in particular caught my attention; his name is Antione Johnson, or as he calls himself artistically, Ya Boy$ Ant.
Ant is a 21-year-old rapper who was born and raised in the Bronx, NY and that day on the train he shared a spoken word he wrote that was inspired by his neighborhood in the Bronx. His energy was one of a kind, and instead of asking for money like many of these performers do, he simply said he would take anything at all, “a thumbs up, some feedback, a smile….”
Ant shares, that while at first he was nervous about sharing his work on the trains, he was inspired by another performer that he saw doing it, “I liked the response he got from the people on the cart. That alone gave me the spark to try the next day,” he says. Ant stays humble though, and says that writing is something he has been doing and has enjoyed since he was about 8 years old, and it was only when he got older, in his late teens that he decided that it was something he wanted to do professionally.
With his mother being his biggest personal inspiration, and his musical muse coming from the streets of the Bronx and other artists like Eminem, 50 Cent and Kanye West, Ant is sure to make an impression. He is smooth in his delivery and knows exactly how to captivate an audience. “I just really want to give back to my people and make good music,” he says.
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