By Hal Dockins
CHANTILLY, Va. — At first glance, high school senior Muhammed Zufar appears to be just your average student.
He takes average 12th-grade classes at Chantilly High School here, including government and English. He enjoys watching average sports, such as basketball and football, during his downtime on the weekends. And he indulges in average fast food stops such as Chipotle.
But Zufar has a secret. He has dreams, big dreams, of making it large in the music industry as a hip-hop artist.
“(It would be nice) to get to do what you love for a living,” he said.
He decided that he wanted to become a hip-hop artist four or five years ago when his English teacher encouraged him to write poetry.
“I really got in to it,” Zufar said. “I was like, ‘I want to personally try it.’ I felt like I found my niche.”
And so began his dream.
Zufar began writing down lyrics, both poetry and song, almost daily. He often scribbles just a line or two at a time if he can’t formulate an entire piece. He said he believes that the most important thing that he has been able to do is have a plan.
“I’ve continued to write lyrics,” Zufar said. “I know a few open-mic sessions. As far as taking steps, I’ll be doing them soon now that school is about to be over.”
But Zufar does not want to become just an average rapper in an industry that is rampant with thugs and gangsters. He feels that his claim to fame will be getting fans to fall for his distinctive style and flow.
“I go on places like MySpace where people can pick up your music and do something with it,” Zufar said. “You definitely have to be unique and indulged with what you do. There are so many good artists out there.”
Zufar describes his favorite artist as 11-time Grammy winner Eminem. He envies how the hip-hop phenom has the courage to be unique and different. Zufar said he is inspired by the Michigan native because he embodies everything that he wishes to achieve, particularly the ability to stand out.
Zufar said that the main struggle is that there is so much competition.
“It’s not guaranteed,” Zufar said. “There is a very slim chance that things (will) work out.”
He said he wants people to listen to his music and appreciate it.
Music aside, the always-studious Zufar tries to keep school as his priority. However, he said he believes that he can accelerate towards his goals and advance in his career very shortly.
“This summer I’m really going to get going with it,” Zufar said. “It’s been three or four years and I still haven’t recorded a single track. Now I’m like, ‘I really need to get something started.’ ”