8 Questions for Justin Tobin


Poetry Week has ended, but not for one student, who plans on continuing it throughout his lifetime. Justin is staying true to his belief that kids, “should never stop writing” through his career in both poetry and rapping. Whether you’ve heard him at school, on Soundcloud or at Louder than a Bomb, Justin’s writing is sure to make a lasting impact.

1. How long have you been rapping? Writing poetry?

I have been writing poetry since seventh grade and I started rapping a few years ago.

2. What artists have influenced your work the most?

My largest role models are Kendrick Lamar and Biggie. I also look up to any rapper that is rapping for a cause and whose lyrics mean something.

3. What inspires you to rap and do poetry?

All my past memories inspire me to do poetry. I have to write them and share my experiences with other people. It became part of my life.

4. Where do you perform and how do you promote your music?

I perform at the school, Columbia and Louder than a Bomb, one of the biggest competitions for youth in Chicago. I promote my music on different social media sites like Soundcloud, Facebook and YouTube.

5. How is the creative process different in rap than in poetry?

The processes are very similar. I want both rapping and poetry to mean something. The only difference between the two of them is that in rapping I have to take an extra step to add a beat.

6. How are you going to incorporate rap and poetry into your life after high school?

I’m going to Columbia University and majoring in poetry. Rap goes along with that because I try to incorporate my poetry into rap. For example, I will start some of my rap off in a poetic voice for an impact.

7. Through poetry and writing, what is your goal?

I want to inspire people and to have my story and art heard. I also want people to see the vision I have. It could help them get through a hard time.

8. What is some advice you have for aspiring writers?

I would tell an aspiring writer to never stop. You should never let anyone who is judging your art stop you from continuing to write. Your story could help someone else, so it’s important that you tell it.