In the Unsigned Hype section of its October issue, The Source labeled him the next big thing.
But for the time being, Arthur Borders,23, can be found in a classroom in the university’s School of Business and Industry.
It is often said that when The Source designates a rapper as unsigned hype, it means his or her career is destined for stardom.
Borders, also known as C.H.R.Y.S. Stylez, was selected to be featured on the same page once adorned by respected artists such as Biggie Smalls, Eminem and fellow Rattler Common.
But despite his appearance in The Source, Borders has not let the hype get to his head.
Borders is still working hard, balancing net checks and mic checks.
Borders first started rapping at the age of 16 on his hometown streets of the Bronx.
C.H.R.Y.S. Stylez got his name after being the first person in his neighborhood to have a bottle of Cristal champagne.
His immersion into the world of hip hop started off as a rivalry between him, his friends and the “old heads on the block.”
“I thought they can do it, so I can do it,” Borders said. Now, Borders is trying to put the final touches on his debut album while juggling classes and a part-time job.
Because of his hectic schedule, Borders has missed opportunities on campus to display his skills.
“I was always in class (and) when there would be freestyle battles on The Set or during BET college tours,” he said.
He found another way to get his voice heard by freestyling in the dorm rooms.
Because of his exposure, Borders found friends who connected him to individuals who could open doors for him.
“My barber kept telling me this kid is looking for me,” said Torrey Ford, aka DJ Speed Racer.
Ford, who has been an on-air personality for Blazin 102.3 for the last four years, hooked up with Borders a year ago. Later, Ford allowed Borders to create an introduction for his radio show.
Ford, a Mount Vernon, N.Y. native, said he was impressed with Borders’s lyrical skills after the first time he heard him rap.
“Maybe I can do something with this kid. He’s not half bad,” Ford remembered saying.
From that point, Ford began giving Borders constructive criticism on his work.
“If someone tells him ‘this thing is wack,’ he’ll (go) back to the lab until it works,” Ford said. “He just keeps on pushing.”
It was that determination that landed Borders in the October issue of The Source. Camille Wildy, project coordinator at Source magazine, explained how C.H.R.Y.S. Stylez was selected.
Wildy said three different contestants competed each week. After six weeks, the contestants had to turn in another freestyle.
When the final six contestants were chosen, some of the magazine’s readers logged on to The Source’s Web site voted and commented on the contestants and their lyrical presentations.
The final contestants were then reviewed by some of the staff at The Source.
“He was clearly the best selection out of everyone he was up against,” Wildy said. “He knew how to market himself and not just tell his friends to log on and vote.”
The perks of winning the unsigned hype competition, Wildy said, are that the artist is kept in mind for future events where talent is needed.
Borders was given the chance to perform for the Justo Mixtape Awards, but because of his scholastic obligations, he could not attend.
Borders does not look at missed performances negatively.
“If I can get my degree, I can still flip it,” Borders said.
Borders said he realizes that being successful in the music business is not a guarantee.
“If music doesn’t work out, I didn’t put all my eggs in one basket.”
He said he feels that if he can learn the business aspect of the music industry, he can market himself better.
As for now, Borders has an upcoming appearance on a DJ Kay Slay mixtape, and his freestyles are still getting numerous votes on thesource.com.
His debut album is scheduled to be released March 1. Borders, or as he calls himself nowadays Carlos Ferragamo, is still working to succeed in class and on the mic.