Mahkai Bailey, or Truth Speaker (center), celebrates his high school graduation dinner at the Brewster Inn with Jim Webb (top left), Manu El:Bey (top right), Jeff Kelsen (center left), Freedom Bailey (bottom left) and Kirk Gibson (bottom right). (submitted photo)
At 15 years old, internationally-recognized hip-hop recording artist Mahkai Bailey, or Truth Speaker (Voice of the Youth), made history by becoming the first artist from Syracuse to perform at the New York State Fair Chevy Court stage, opening for hip hop legend NAS. Now, Bailey has made the transformation from center stage to the classroom by choosing Cazenovia College, over many other collegiate offers, and even receiving a Presidential Scholars Award as an incoming freshman majoring in fine arts.
With “profanity-free” thought provoking lyrics that ignites the youthful spirit of both the young and the old, Bailey constructs positive life choice messages spilled throughout melodic, soulful beats self-produced under his alias “Konstruction Boy.” His lyrics are directed to help young people realize their inner potential and the ability to change personally, focusing on becoming a positive influence with goals directed toward improving their community’s problems.
When Bailey was asked why he choose Cazenovia College, he said, “I have strong ties to the CNY area and being in close proximity to Syracuse, I’ll still be able to record music while attending school. Art has been a passion of mine since I was a toddler and I know that there’s many fields that I can pursue after obtaining a degree in fine arts.”
Driven to bring change to the youth and especially to those in poverty stricken urban communities, Bailey applauds those who make a conscious effort to give back, such as Jim Boeheim’s and Carmelo Anthony’s Courts for Kids. Bailey insisted that a scene be filmed at Comfort Tyler Park in his 2016 music video “Young Starz,” which is based on the story of two youths making different life choices, one of education versus a life of crime on the streets.
Bailey, along with 25 of his closest family and friends, celebrated his high school graduation dinner at the Brewster Inn in Cazenovia. He met Kirk Gibson, one of the owners, and joked about the Brewster being another reason for him to attend Cazenovia College.
Bailey’s latest single, “Stop the Killin’ in My City,” is taking aim to reduce violence and to help teach youth how to cherish life, as well exploring creative ways to spread the message of change.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.