In early March, walls all over campus were dotted with plain pieces of paper bearing nothing but an album cover: a picture of a man holding his face in his hands placed alongside minimalistic graphic art on a black background. This DIY marketing campaign served as students’ first introduction to rapper Tee Kravitz and his debut EP “21 st Century Gold.”

Tee Kravitz is the musical alias of junior Tom Bentley. He took this semester off to enable a greater focus on his musical pursuits, but still considers the community and resources at UR integral to his music.

“It’s been great, people don’t really truly realize all the resources that are actually here for us, like opportunities and things you can get into if you focus and you figure out who you are and you start to lock in there and start to make the moves that make your path unique,” he said.

Most of the production on “21 st Century Gold” was done by people Bentley met at UR, as well as by some close friends and family. These include UR producers Ivy Grand (sophomore Emmanuel Brewer), SkeyronSoLoud (senior Chris Fertakis), and junior Teddy Rycroft.

“Galactic is my brother, my actual brother. RatedTooReal was someone I actually grew up with, like lived around the corner from me so we used to play ball together and all that. So it was all like in-house, close,” Bentley said of some more of his producers.

Collaboration isn’t common between Bentley and his producers, with Bentley handling the writing and rapping duties independently. His producers do work together on some beats,  however, and guest rappers are even brought in on occasion for different perspective.

“There was one beat on there […] my boy Teddy Rycroft, he’s a student here too. ‘Power’ we collabed on, that song’s actually like a year old […] I got my boy Azariah to come through and spit a fire verse on that. I met him over the summer, as soon as we met each other it was all love so he hopped on ‘Power’ […] There’s also a producer Drillz on there. He and RatedTooReal, when they get together, they’re something else. They produced ‘Radio Play’. They also got a bunch of other tracks that they produced that I got coming up soon,” he said.

Tee Kravitz’s wide range of producers leads to an equally broad style in his music. His many influences are also a big contribution to the diversity of his sound. These have included XV, Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def, Wale, Talib Kwali, and Charles Hamilton.

“As far as music that I listen to now, I’m so diverse with it. My most-listened-to genre right now is EDM […] like deadmau5, his work ethic on the EDM scene. I’ve been inspired by that, touched by that. I’ve always broadened my horizons, I’ve been inspired by so much,” he said.

His writing is often direct and improvisational, with Bentley setting no specific goals to achieve impact on a listener and instead relying on the insightful nature of his words to connect with audiences.

“I write a lot, so it depends on the mood that I’m in when I’m writing. I get in there and I freestyle a lot too so some of it is just boom, what’s hitting me. When I’m going in there, how do I feel, I’m just relaying that on the track. I just always try to be conscious. With today’s hip-hop […] the culture is beautiful don’t get me wrong but I like to always be that one kind of person you could lean on to keep being thoughtful and insightful and talk about my life. It’s not going to resonate with everybody but there’s certain things I touch on that do resonate with most people,” he said of his writing process.

Bentley has definite drive to continue with the Tee Kravitz project and is promising greater and greater things in the future.

“My music is like a reflection of me, so where I am in life, all my experiences, every time I learn, something, has potential to be put in a song. The more I grow as an individual, the more diverse, the more exclusive these songs will be. I’m not slowing down, I’m only getting wiser. I’m only experiencing more things, so it’s only going to get more elaborate.”

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