[heard]Do songs like “Laffy Taffy” and “Stiletto Pumps in the Club” have you wondering what in the world has gotten into hip-hop? Sure these songs are funny to hear and maybe even to sing and dance to, but when you find yourself pointing to your stilettos in the bar, you have to ask yourself – what is going on with rap music? So what\’s missing from most mainstream hip-hop these days? One answer can be found in Joe Becker’s album, appropriately titled Purpose Driven Flow. A purpose is exactly what the driven MC believes is negligently absent from the world of rap music today.
“The major problem is that you have people with this amazing chance to be heard and make a difference, but very few who are making a positive influence on their listeners,” Becker said of the genre today. “This makes people get the idea that hip-hop is only about violence, drugs and hos.”
[joe]In his album, Becker talks about the influence hip-hop and pop culture have on the younger generation, which flames his desire to create music that means something, and most importantly, teaches. As a teacher himself, Becker is all for taking full advantage of the mass audience music has the potential to reach and using it to spread knowledge. He expresses this idea of education through music in a verse from his song “OH Lord:” “Television blinds us, keeps us from the truth, pop culture is the education for our youth.”
Dedicated to bringing purpose and diversity to rap, Becker prides himself on his originality and content. “Most people out aren’t doing anything different,” Becker said. “My sound and style is different from any other artist out there.”
He makes this clear in his song, \”No One Like Me,\” which points out the many differences between Becker and other rappers:
Anyone can speak about hos and trees, but no one in the game has got a flow like me/anyone can put their voice over a beat, but no one has got delivery like me/anyone can bump a track out of a tape deck, but no song can bang hard quite like J. Becks.
But what could be so different about this rapper? For one, he started listening to hip-hop only toward his final years of high school, giving him a newcomer’s outlook on the music. He uses this fresh prospective to analyze rap and the culture it has created when producing his songs. The end product is hip-hop music created in a totally original way that smacks of motivation to make things better. His boy-next-door image debunks most visual stereotypes many people tend to associate with rappers and the hip-hop culture altogether. He is a successful college student and student teacher who has never been shot or tried to kill anything but the negative connotations associated with rap through hooks like these from \”Haters\”:
Is it cuz that I wasn’t what you were expecting? Is it cuz that I bring the straight up truth directly? Is it cuz I work hard and my flow is perfecting? You might not feel my lyrics but you gotta respect me. Is it cuz I ask what I gotta be a thug for? Is it cuz I never pushed weight as a drug lord? Is it cuz I bring a new perspective to the game? I might not be like most but you don\’t have to hate. [joe3]
Is it true? Has hip-hop finally spread its seed so far from the boroughs of New York City and the streets of L.A. they’ve made it all the way to suburban Michigan?
The 22-year-old Kentwood native started freestyling as a senior in high school, but was truly motivated during his freshman year at MSU. Here, he was introduced to other students with similar interests, who later became good friends and performing partners around campus and in nearby Canada. Two open mic night first-place wins later, Becker, then known as Cajun, created his first album: Energetic, Magnetic, Aesthetic, which he and friend Pat Fay, also known as MC Project, put together in a dorm room of Mary Mayo Hall. Yes, the same Mary Mayo where most students can’t even produce homework for class, these two managed to manifest an entire album, which became a local hit. “It was bad compared to the stuff I’m working on now, but we would walk down the hall and hear people bumping our music,” said Becker.
Next came their second album, Verse-Atility, followed by Fire, Becker’s first solo album produced in a studio, which paved the way for Purpose Driven Flow. Now, signed to record label Defnok Entertainment, Becker is reaching and pleasing a much wider audience. “I cater to a lot of different people’s interests,” said Becker. “I have people who generally don’t like rap, but like my music. My mentor who’s like 35 never liked rap until he heard my songs.”[joe2]
Becker\’s musical influences include Nas, Tupac, TI, Jewelz Santana and One.Be.Lo, who are currently cracking the speakers of his CD player. “I like Tupac because of his energy and flow,” Becker said. “Nas is very unique and talks about other issues with a lot of truth and makes it sound hot at the same time. Jewelz brings a ton of energy and a unique delivery. I try to bring all of these aspects into my raps.”
So what’s next for J. Beck? For now, MSU’s own is working as a high school social studies student teacher in Comstock Park, but the possibility of another album is strong. “I wasn’t really sure about making Purpose Driven Flow until I met a producer who hooked me up with some solid production,” said Becker. “If I get some crazy beats again I’ll probably pursue it more.”
Although he may be taking a small break to sell his album and focus on teaching, rap remains an important element in Becker’s life. He and Fay started a Web site, www.amateurbeats.com, which is dedicated to hip-hop production, where rappers can find that one unforgettable beat to match that perfect song they’ve been so desperately searching for and where producers can finally be recognized and heard.
Rapping was the key that opened the door of possibilities for Becker, who admits producing music is his passion. Writing and putting songs together from beginning to end would be, in his eyes, a dream job. “I truly believe this was a God-given talent and I plan to use all of the strengths that God has given me in my life,” said Becker.[one]
Look forward to seeing and hearing much more from this lyricist/producer, because he says he\’s just getting started. “In five years I want to be making a major impact on the world,” Becker said. “I just want people to hear my work.”
For more information on Joe Becker and to purchase his CD visit www.amateurbeats.com/JBeck.html, and www.myspace.com/purposedrivenflow.

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