The sounds of hip-hop music blasted through the University Student Union’s Southwest Terrace during Wednesday’s Noontime Event.
Long Beach rapper Adam Cruz used his one hour session to perform his debut EP, “Firstborn,” along with about nine other tracks in front of a crowd of students.
“Sometimes we think success isn’t for us,” Cruz said. “I believe success is for everybody. We just have to continue to pursue that.”
Cruz was Associated Student Inc.’s last Noontime performance for the month of April, following the previous weeks’ Mike Schiavo and the Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration Kickoff.
Under the warm sun, students who were studying, eating, or passing by the performance treated themselves with cold mango iced tea as they watched the show.
Midway through the set, Adrianna Barbosa, a student who was in attendance, asked Cruz if she could do a display of her own. She then started to twirl her pair of silk veils to the beat of the music.
“I was like, ‘oh, someone’s performing, let me just go up there and attract some attention to it,’” Barbosa said.
And this was especially pleasing for Cruz, who said that his goal for his music is to inspire.
His brand name, “Firstborn,” means something more than just a label to spread on his merchandise.
“I’m really trying to take the brand even bigger than the project,” Cruz said. “I believe that we all, whether you’re the first born in your family or not, are called to make a difference in people’s lives … to be successful in whatever it is you’re trying to do.”
Despite having grown in up in Southgate, Long Beach has always been a second home to Cruz. For the past decade, the 26-year-old has serviced a youth group at Revive Church on 7th Street and Obispo Avenue. His song, “Role Modelz Wanted,” is inspired by some of the kids that he has helped who have absent fathers.
“I can tell that they want a role model in their lives,” Cruz said. “They want someone to guide them.”
At the age of 16, Cruz started rapping with his twin brother, Justin, a business major at LBSU, as part of a duo called Sage and Reason. Cruz began making music independently three years ago and now records in a professional studio.
Cruz raps on beats that are produced by a friend. Though faith is always an underlying message in his songs, he tries to keep his music geared towards every hip-hop fan.
“I try to keep it not overly preachy,” Cruz said. “I don’t want people to think that it’s just church music.”
Cruz normally performs at church events and conferences. Locally, he has a consistent following, as most of the 5,000 Spotify plays for “Firstborn” has come from the Long Beach area.
“It was really exciting to be here,” Cruz said. “Something different.”