Tuesday, July 10, 2012

13-Year-Old’s Rap Talent Defeats Stuttering & Bullying: Lil JaXe Raps for Drake

Thirteen-year-old Jake Zeldin, aka Lil JaXe, of Toronto is making headlines these days much like his idol Drake. When JaXe – whose near-debilitating stutter disappears when he raps – free-styled flawlessly for Drake backstage at a Tyga concert 2011, the Grammy-award-winning rapper was clearly impressed, giving JaXe a high five and plenty of encouragement. A year later, Lil JaXe is performing front stage instead of backstage. He’s also writing and recording music, releasing videos and dedicating time and energy to charities, especially those that combat bullying.

“I was super excited,” Jake said of the performance, “It was a dream, actually. It didn’t feel real.”

This summer, JaXe will be featured alongside rappers like Mos Def and Talib Kweli on Pacha’s Pajamas, a children’s hip-hop album about the environment, set for release in July.

He’s also performed at more than a dozen recent festivals and charity events, and appeared on several Toronto television and radio programs, including Canada AM, Much Music and CTV National. He’s also been featured in newspapers, including the Toronto Star.

Lil JaXe’s battle with stuttering began when he first learned to talk. His family spent thousands on therapy, but nothing helped. Then, about three years ago, JaXe discovered he could rap. In fact, he can deliver rhymes (that he writes himself), with absolutely no hint of a stutter. Before long, he was dazzling his peers – and music industry heavyweights.

No one’s completely sure why JaXe’s stutter disappears while he’s rapping, although it may have to do with the part of the brain he uses while rapping, as opposed to speaking. Science points to complex neurological reasons, but JaXe offers a much simpler explanation: “I'm not sure, but (rapping is) funner.”

Whatever the reason, JaXe’s amazing talents are proof that no matter what challenges kids – and even adults – face, there’s no goal that’s too lofty. And JaXe wants to make sure other kids understand that. That’s why he spends time performing for charities, and plans to start his own anti-bullying charity. As JaXe well knows, kids can be cruel. Bullied and teased from classmates and teachers was something that was part of everyday life for JaXe who simply can’t carry on a conversation the way most people can.

Lil JaXe’s mother, Robyn Zeldin, heralds 2012 as “applauds her son, not just for sharing his talents, but for conquering his fears and finding a way to communicate in a way that lets the world see just how fantastic he is. I believe that his story is one of determination, inspiration and overcoming life's challenges,” Robyn says.

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