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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

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June 16, 2024

Flip the script: Agriculture grad dives headlong into the world of hip-hop

PROVIDED%0ARandall+Henderson%2C+who+goes+by+the+stage+name+gQ+Marley%2C+is+pursuing+a+music+career+after+graduating+in+2010.
PROVIDED Randall Henderson, who goes by the stage name gQ Marley, is pursuing a music career after graduating in 2010.

gQ Marley, Class of 2010, went from studying agricultural communications to pursuing a fulltime rap career. Known by classmates and colleagues as Randall Henderson, he remains determined to make it in the music industry despite obstacles thrown his way.
gQ Marley’s latest album, “D.R.E.A.M. II: Revenge of the NERD,” was inspired by his experiences as a high school student in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas, and his time as a college student at A&M. gQ Marley said he didn’t exactly fit in.
“I was very smart, but because I didn’t fit in the urban lifestyle of that demographic I was considered a nerd,” gQ Marley said. “Sometimes I felt school was a double-edged sword — you hear the relationship of both sides. It’s like playing devil’s advocate.”
Being labeled a nerd by classmates didn’t stop him from seizing opportunities. He did well in school, excelled in extracurricular activities and was admitted to A&M in 2006.
College was both opportunistic and surprising for gQ Marley. He joined the hip-hop society at A&M, which allowed him to meet others interested in the music industry and make connections. He met two rappers, Chip tha Ripper and Big Sean, at a show put on by Silver Platter ENT. gQ Marley was able to reach out to Big Sean afterward, who told him he had talent.
While in college, gQ Marley had a daughter, which he said was “a very unexpected blessing.” Juggling school, a child and a rap career was difficult at times, he said.
“At times where you’re making progress you feel like maybe I should take a break from school, but I never chose to act on it,” he said. “I chose to be very rational with my decisions.”
gQ Marley said he listened to Kanye West’s “College Dropout” to get him through tough times. He was inspired by artists from Nirvana to Notorious B.I.G., the first rap artist he ever listened to and enjoyed.
“Doesn’t matter who you listen to, there’s always going to be some kind of connection or emotion that can be felt by everyone,” gQ Marley said.
Those who knew gQ Marley during college were not astonished by his pursuit of music after graduating, including those who taught and advised him.
“It’s not surprising to me that he’s involved in the music industry and is finally going after that dream that we knew was something he was interested in, but wasn’t necessarily feasible while he was a student,” said Tracy Rutherford, agricultural communications professor and associate department head of Undergraduate Programs at Texas A&M.
While open with his musical ambitions, gQ Marley’s desire to be a rapper was news to some, including Deborah Dunsford, agricultural communications senior lecturer.
“I knew he wanted to do something in music, because he had mentioned that, but he was so quiet that rap was not the first genre that would occur to me,” Dunsford said.
gQ Marley is working on a new album and staying inspired. The album, “Side Effects,” comes out Nov. 10.
“Nov. 10 is a very important day for me,” gQ Marley said. “It’s the day I got my Aggie Ring, the day my daughter was born, the day I became part of a fraternity.”
gQ Marley will also participate in the upcoming Aggieland Cypher, an event that brings together local rappers, and works with a local rap group, The Graduates, who are all college graduates pursuing a career in rap.
gQ Marley said there was one piece of advice that got him to where he is today.
“Chase your dreams no matter what anybody thinks,” gQ Marley said. “The people that don’t mind matter the most.”

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