JOE: At some point in our lives we’ve all dreamed of what it would be like to become
But for this 11 year old Florida native, that dream is morphing into reality.
RAY3RD: Days before I go to school or days I come home, I will try to rap for my mom.
To now I just keep rapping.
JOE: That’s Ray3rd, formerly known as Hot Boy Fire.
He recently made waves online after a photo of his makeshift bedroom studio went viral.
RAY3RD: I was just watching this rapper and the way his studio thing looked, it had the
mic coming down in front of his face.
And then that's when I got the idea of wrapping my charger around the bunkbed and my phone
hanging down upside down in front of my face.
JOE: The photo caught the attention of producer Kenny Beats, who set out to find Ray and get
him some new gear.
KENNY BEATS: I got a lot of people hitting me up wanting to send you stuff.
The guys from Brockhamptom wanna send you stuff.
Kirko Bangz wants to send you stuff.
Guapdad wants to send you stuff.
A ton of people have microphones. We gotta get you a computer.
We gotta a lot of things we gotta do Ray.
JOE: Alongside Kenny Beats, several artists such as Kehlani, and SZA have all shown love
and support for Ray in getting him officially set up.
RAY3RD: I feel like that means that I'm going to make it and I should never give up.
JOE: Ray wasn't always this confident - he only uploaded his first YouTube video a month
before the viral spotlight.
RAY3RD: What I wanna become when I grow up is a rapper.
So I’m making a YouTube channel to see if anyone likes my raps and all of that.
RAY3RD: I was watching a YouTube video, How to Become Famous, said if you want to become
famous you have to have a YouTube channel if you want to become a singer or a rapper.
And I just made a YouTube channel and my first video, I didn't know what to do.
So I really got nervous.
JOE: And Ray has been manifesting this dream for years.
KENNICIA: He would listen to songs and...
He would probably listen to them like once or twice and he'd know most of the lyrics,
like the next day. He was about five, so some of the lyrics were completely wrong.
JOE: That’s Kennicia Byrd, Ray’s mom.
She sat down with Genius News to talk about her son's ambition to become a rapper.
KENNICIA: At first he used to write poems down.
At the age of five, I just thought, 'Okay, maybe he listened to these songs too much.'
After a while, he wrote poems about what he felt and things like that.
And then he just said he wanted to be a rapper, so I just thought, 'Okay, well I knew you
were going to do something like that.'
JOE: Now Ray takes those poems about life, and puts them into rhymes.
But before putting a verse on wax, Ray says the production has to feel right.
RAY3RD: What inspires me to make a song is the way a beat feels, like you could express
your feelings on one beat, you could express the day you're having and everything on a
JOE: Expressing those feelings could be as simple as confessing his love.
Like on his affectionate track “Heart.”
JOE: Despite being only 11, Ray tackles larger issues at hand.
Specifically systemic issues Black people face throughout the country.
On his track, "Black Lives Matter," Ray uses his platform to get this message across.
RAY3RD: My mom, my cousin, she tells me
this is dangerous out here.
They're killing us.
And you have to stay respectful now.
And I just was tired of it and like treated this way and then I wanted to express my feelings
so I made a song.
JOE: While being able to speak about how he feels through music is important, the ultimate
goal as a rapper is to take care of his family.
RAY3RD: I want to be where I can take tours and do everything that I wanted and do anything
that my mom wanted.
To give her anything she wanted.
JOE: And Ray plans on stopping at nothing to achieve that goal.
RAY3RD: I think to achieve this dream, I think I will have to keep going, keep doing at what
I want to do.
Don't give up my music, keep making songs and whatever people want to say, just let
it fly past me.
Don't let it ruin what I want to become.
I’m Joe Ali for Genius News, bringing you the meaning and the knowledge behind the music…