Parents have a knack for killing dreams. Not purposely, but there’s just something sound and respectable about one’s child being a lawyer - pursuing a career in hip-hop is an obvious contradiction. Everybody has dreams, but few attempt to follow them; even fewer have the stick-to-itiveness to see them through. For RayDawn The 86th, choosing his dreams over normality was the most liberating decision of his life: one his parents loathed, but later learned to embrace.
Born in Pittsburgh, RayDawn The 86th was raised in a middle class home where schooling was the focal point of his life. Highly gifted yet unmotivated, RayDawn struggled in school. He had a talent for writing, but knew not what to do with it. Hip-Hop music governed his life, but never in a million years would he entertain a union of the two. What would his college educated family think?
RayDawn graduated from high school, abided by his parents’ wishes and attended Western Michigan University where he earned a bachelors degree in English. Unbeknownst to his parents, RayDawn began rapping the summer before he left for school. His passion for music was so infectious, his freshman and sophomore year grades greatly suffered.
Near expulsion his junior year, RayDawn cut ties with his music and focused on school - Dean’s List accolades and an acceptance to law school shortly followed. RayDawn graduated and attended law school, demoting his days of writing and recording in his dorm to a distant memory.
Hell bent on white collar conformity, RayDawn spent hours upon hours studying law and drafting case briefs. And by divine intervention, a week before finals his contracts professor chose to start her lecture with an inspirational message: one that would derail his legal career and refocus his ambition on his true passion, music.
“We all have dreams…there are stars out there for each and every one of us to grab…catch is, we only get one life to reach for ‘em!” - RayDawn leads off his single “Wildest Dreams” with this self pronounced mantra. With only two years to go, RayDawn left law school and moved back to Pittsburgh to whole heartedly peruse his dream. This is a decision he doesn’t regret. Music is his life and in turn, his music breathes life into the dreams of others.