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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Hi! My name is Hannah Jenkins, and I am one of the copy editors here at the North Wind. I am a sophomore at NMU, and I love all things writing and editing-related. I am proud to be a part of this great...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion — Its okay to outgrow your college friends
Opinion — It's okay to outgrow your college friends
Megan PoeApril 12, 2024

Syms: Northern student navigates through life with the help of hip-hop.

Children growing up in the Upper Peninsula typically don’t look to hip-hop as a possible creative outlet. For graphic communications major Jeremy Symons, however, hip-hop is hopefully not just his passion, it’s a launching pad for his future.

Now better known simply as Syms (pronounced like rhymes), Symons has spent the last seven years trudging through the local scene cluttered with rock ‘n’ roll cover bands to establish himself as a legitimate hip-hop force.

“I always feel like I’m being underestimated — coming from the U.P., an area that you never hear of people making it big,” said Syms. “I’ve always just wanted to be something.”

Syms, a 1997 graduate of Ishpeming High School, said since he first learned to pick up a pencil, he’s been writing poetry and lyrics. In high school, a friend suggested putting together a bit of music and getting his poetry and rhymes on tape.

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“From there, it blossomed into me wanting to actually keep doing it and then finding different producers that made music for me,” Syms said.

Many recording sessions and live gigs followed, including shows at the now-defunct House of Muses and last Monday at UpFront & Company opening for Afroman.

“I loved the local support that I got,” he said “But it’s always nice to have people that don’t know you that’ll give you credit for doing a good job.”

Credit is something Syms has always had to earn. In such a rural area, Syms has come to realize that his hip-hop may end up being a stepping stone to his real future, which is why he’s back at NMU after a hiatus.

“I wanted to get back to get a degree because pretty much from my music, painting, writing and everything I’ve done, I’ve always had to advertise for myself in one way or another,” he said. “Whether it be a CD label, a flyer for a show or a T-shirt for promotion, it all came down to being creative. Through that, I just learned that I love graphic design.”

Along with his poetry and lyrics, Syms has been painting for most of his life. After his art branched out to T-shirts, he began J. Symons Design, where he creates and sells his original art in clothing form.

“I got tired of a lot of clothing that’s around here. I would actually buy blank shirts and I started to paint them. It’s like a walking canvas,” he said. “Most people don’t get to see my work because it’s at my house. I don’t put it in a gallery, so it’s kind of cool to be able to have a shirt of yours and say you painted it.”

The clothing design business is where Syms wants to go in the long run. But for now, school is a priority – alongside hip-hop recording and performing.

“A lot of the time when I’m down, I listen to my own music and I listen to the positive messages,” he said. “They’re messages I know and that I believe in, but sometimes we all forget it.”

To listen and download some of Syms’ music, visit his MySpace or

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