Wilmington rapper goes back to school to earn high school diploma

big baby smash

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Instead of hitting the books as a senior in high school, Wilmington’s Jacobi James wanted to write to beats.

James should have been a member of the class of 2019 but decided to drop out of school to pursue a career as a rapper.

“I just didn't feel like going (to high school),” said James, who’s rap name is Big Baby Smash. “I just didn't get up and go because I wanted to do music so bad.”

Without a high school diploma, James found it hard to earn enough to pay for his music dream.

“I needed it (high school diploma) so I could fund my career,” said James. “The only way I was going to fund my career is if I can get a good job and I can't get a good job without a high school diploma.”

That’s when James's uncle Tut Grady, owner of Stay Rooted studio, pushed him in the right direction.

“He needed to go to school,” said Grady. “I was for him making his own decisions if he was going to graduate to be a man. If he wasn't ready to make that step forward, I wanted him to go back to school.”

Going back to school wasn’t easy, but he finished the classes he needed to become a high school graduate.

“Hallelujah! That's the only thing I could say,” said James’s mom Tequila James. "It's a joy. Prayer works. We prayed and Tut provided.”

Now with a high school diploma in hand, James is working toward other goals.

“I’m trying to be the greatest,” said James. “I want to be the best. I feel like nobody can touch me here with this music stuff. I want to be the greatest. That’s my goals and aspirations. I want to be the greatest."

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