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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
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Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Student gains attention after releasing music online

Fernando+Acosta+%E2%80%9922+releases+music+on+SoundCloud.++PHOTO%3A+MITCHELL+SHIELDS+%E2%80%9922%2FTHE+HAWK
Fernando Acosta ’22 releases music on SoundCloud. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

After dropping a freestyle mixtape to Lil Uzi’s song, “20 Min” in 2016, Fernando Acosta’s ’22 music career took off. 

“I dropped a Lil Uzi freestyle during my junior year of high school, and that song was popping off and got around 200 likes [on SoundCloud], which isn’t crazy numbers but back at home in Puerto Rico, it was,” Acosta said. “I got a lot of positive feedback after dropping that and had a lot of people asking to drop my tape, so I knew I could make something out of this.”

Acosta’s music career began when he was 15 years old in Puerto Rico, after he got his mother’s hand-me-down MacBook Air that came with the GarageBand music editing app.

“I started slowly mastering GarageBand and I started dropping stuff that was super basic around sophomore year of high school,” Acosta said. “So for Christmas, I got a Razor Lab that came with FL Studio and started dropping more complex music.” 

Acosta goes by “Chmst,” pronounced as chemist, when he produces, and Dexter when he raps, in reference to the 90s cartoon, “Dexter’s Laboratory.”

Acosta said in 2016, drawing inspiration from American and Puerto Rican artists,  he started to make trap beats using both English and Spanish in his songs. Trap beats are a subgenre movement within hip-hop that uses hard 808s, meaning a base, subbase and high-intensity notes called hi-hat’s that hit on every count of the beat.  

Acosta said that his songs are mostly freestyle, meaning he only writes the chorus. He hums a note, matches the pitch with a keyboard and samples old school sounds like jazz or Japanese instrumentals, used in traditional Japanese songs, to be in the background of his beats. 

“When I feel like I need to get something off my chest, my outlet is music,” Acosta said. “I’ll make a beat, put my headphones on and freestyle lyrics with a flow.” 

Acosta collaborated with Luis Marqués, who said that Acosta takes bits and pieces from some of his favorite artists and creates a unique sound that will surely turn heads once fully developed.

“He can go as far as his effort and dedication can take him,” Marqués said. “He’s extremely talented, and I could potentially see him as a significant influence in generations to come if he is truly dedicated to the nit and grit of music.”

Javier Carrion, Acosta’s friend from high school, started to collaborate with Acosta after he bought his first microphone.

“At first, it was really raw and we really didn’t know what we were doing, but somehow we were able to get a good sound,” Carrion said. 

Carrion said he collaborates with Acosta on a producer to singer level, and Acosta has made a lot of beats for him. 

“[Acosta’s] music is really a mixture of whatever he’s feeling at the moment and what’s really impressive about him is his ability to externalize those feelings to music, mainly beats,” Carrion said. “I just love the transparency in his music, his versatility is key.”

Acosta said one of the most rewarding parts about making music is seeing people interact with it. Acosta sees it as a way to build relationships that he may not have had otherwise.

“As cliché as it sounds, besides music being a vehicle for myself, I love seeing how other people interact with it,” Acosta said. “It’s nice connecting with people through my music.” 

Francisco Santos, who rapped with Acosta, said Acosta has produced one of his most successful songs, gathering about 10,000 views on SoundCloud. 

“[Acosta] is not only very versatile, but he also has a connection with all sorts of rappers in Puerto Rico,” Santos said. “There is a divide between trap stars, lyrical hip hop rappers and reggaetoneros, which is mostly singing and dancing, but [Acosta] has friends in all of those subgenres and has collaborated with all sorts of rappers.” 

Acosta said he is working on a project now that he hopes to drop at the turn of the calendar. He doesn’t think there is any limit on where his career can go.

“It’s a matter of time until I get into my own style, it’s been a minute since I’ve dropped a tape,” Acosta said. “That being said, I am working on something and planning to drop it by January. I want to be big. I want to be on covers like Vogue, People and Time Magazine.” 

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