Bahsil Moody: Expert Performer and Lyricist With a Purpose

Bahsil Moody: Expert Performer and Lyricist With a Purpose

Maya Shabtai/Riverdale Review  The Album Cover of Moody's single, "The Resurrection of Hip-Hop"

Maya Shabtai/Riverdale Review
The Album Cover of Moody's single, "The Resurrection of Hip-Hop"

Maya Shabtai/Riverdale Review  Moody posing on the steps of John R. Johnson Student Center.

Maya Shabtai/Riverdale Review
Moody posing on the steps of John R. Johnson Student Center.

Bahsil Moody is a performer in every sense of the word: he acts, sings, dances, and raps, though he is hesitant to use the word “rap.”  Of all these arts, he is most dedicated to “spoken word with rhymes,” which he uses to express himself and to give a voice to the issues he cares about. Moody limited his use of the word “rap” in describing this form of self-expression because the message he tries to express through music is more similar to messages found in spoken word poetry than in twenty first century rap. “I have my own personal messages, but there are some things in the news that need to brought up more ... I’ll make a club banger as soon as someone is not getting killed or molested or raped,” Moody explained. His musical inspirations are thus those who tell stories through music rather than “perpetuate stereotypes,” such as Run DMC, Method Man, J. Cole, and Kendrick Lamar.

His music, performed around the city - from school talent shows to the annual Diversity Awareness Initiative for Students (DAIS) conference - is inspired by current events. Moody finds purpose in using music to shed light on the issues he feels deserve attention: “I feel like I’m the one who has to make sure people are aware of this.” By making his own music, Moody combines the ability to express himself, raise the voices of others and have people listen. He also speaks to people of different socioeconomic classes, races, and genders to bring scope and credibility to his music: “I feel like I have so many people to give credit to if I had to write a bibliography for every song I wrote...my music comes from truth, real feeling and emotion.”

As a performer, Moody has taken on the name Xavyer (pronounced ZA-VEE-AY). This stage name combines the name of the character played by the rapper Bow Wow - who friends and family say he looks like - in the 2005 film “Roll Bounce” and a French twist inspired by his growing interest in the language. “It’s just a fun name that I can use on stage,” he said, “but even with that fun name still comes serious and thoughtful music.”

Moody is always improving his craft. He performs in both the fall play and the spring musical in addition to being an active member of the dance team and the Testostertones. Dancing or acting in front of an audience requires a certain amount of comfort on stage, so Moody trains himself to be a better performer by taking what he learns from Riverdale theater and applying it to his performances as a hip-hop artist.

Despite his dedication to hip-hop and performance, Moody noted that some members of the Riverdale community do not take his work seriously. However, regarding those who are not supportive of Moody’s artistic pursuits, he stated, “There are going to be people out there who appreciate what I do and they will be the ones who fuel what I do.” Refusing to take Moody’s work seriously is a form of silencing that he refuses to let affect him. In response to those students, he says, “Be open to different things and be respectful of what I have to offer and what everyone has to offer.”

Moody’s plans for performing do not end at Riverdale’s front gates. He hopes to get his voice out digitally by uploading songs online and to perform at others schools around the city.

At the end of the day, Moody’s dedication to his craft is greater than himself. Through music, he wants to ensure that not only his voice is being heard, but that the voices of those silenced by our society are heard as well: “It’s a duty for me...and rap and poetry makes it easier.”

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