up poetry and rapping . His talent and potential has been recognized by his peers and teachers alike .
Exil ’ s influences include Kendrick Lamar and MF Doom , and he attributes his Haitian background to his love for music . He ’ s done everything from talent shows to open mic nights and poetry competitions , recalling how different the experiences have been over the years .
Student Expresses Social Injustice through Music
By all accounts , the past two years have been filled with challenge , strife , and even tragedy . Against the backdrop of a worldwide pandemic , many societal issues have bubbled to the surface . Among these is the Black Lives Matter movement . In the United States , citizens have watched this movement play out in the media , from election pulpits and in the streets , but it is also being portrayed in more creative ways right here at Jacksonville University .
For Eveul Exil Jr ., a Jacksonville University music business major , music offers a cathartic outlet to express his views . Exil , who goes by “ Evo the EX-I ,” released a single called “ Runaway Slave ” in 2021 on “ Doom is A Mood ,” his second EP . The music video for the song was filmed in his hometown of Miami , Fla . Over a warm jazz piano and the crackle of a vintage vinyl record , Exil describes the ongoing struggles of the Black community , as seen through his eyes .
“ The freestyle but the style is for sale Pay your fees , you ’ re in debt Got us trapped in a cell A debt trap messing with my vibe I ’ m not in the mood to deal with fools time wasted My people facing school to prison pipelines scrolling through my timeline ”
Exil says this excerpt represents the parallel between rap culture and society in general . “ Hip hop is filled with unique flows and sounds which we gravitate to , but those styles have been inspired and influenced by previous music / artists . The ‘ but the style is for sale , pay your fees ’ line is basically me paying homage and dues to those who influenced my sound and rap ability . As for society , that line points out that we attempt to live life the way we want and express our individuality but still depend on society in some way , whether seeking validation through social media , working jobs we don ’ t like just to earn money , or going to school in order to feel accepted by society . We ’ re all guilty of it , and ‘ paying our fees ’ is us paying our dues with our time and money as our consequence .”
With every verse , Exil is cultivating a craft that allows him to turn hard times into art . He describes his music as a “ meditative , nostalgic rendition of 90 ’ s hip hop with a lo-fi feel .” Just like many other artists before him , he has taken global unrest and turned it into music that resonates with people and provides an alternative to the civil unrest . Priding himself on producing content that spreads awareness and tells a story , Exil began playing music at 13 as a drummer in his church . A year later , he picked
“ When you ’ re doing those types of things , you ’ re in a different environment with different audiences . Sometimes you get older crowds . Sometimes you get people your age , so it ’ s a different feel . And it ’ s amazing to be able to tell my story through my music and have people relate to it .”
With every song , Exil ’ s artistry is a testament to how creative endeavors can be used to express feelings and issues that reflect current events . His work offers a different picture of the Black Lives Matter movement , one that goes beyond the streets to the heart and soul of a young artist who is shining a light on social injustice in his own musical way .
Experience Exil ’ s work first-hand on all music streaming platforms under the name “ Evo the EX-I .” His most recent single and accompanying music video can also be viewed on YouTube .
By Kamia Addison
www . ju . edu / steincollege 3