By Yonathan Shimelis
Rapping started as a hobby, but now Gabriel Felsher uses rap as an outlet for his painful experiences.
“Since freshman year I’ve always loved rap. A friend showed me one of J. Cole’s albums and I think from that moment I loved everything about rap,” says Felsher.
Felsher, who goes by the stage name “Gfelsh,” is a 22-year-old rapper from Missouri. While he always enjoyed freestyle rapping for fun, his friends and family eventually encouraged him to take rapping more seriously.
Felsher spent a year and a half in the Israeli army as a paratrooper before coming to this university. Many of the themes and lyrics in Felsher’s songs are inspired by an injury he sustained while in the military and its effects on his mental health.
“One of my commanders, it was funny, we were on the border of Gaza and he told me I should start writing. So I did,” said Felsher.
Through his music, Felsher hopes to connect with listeners and to send a positive message for those who are struggling.
“Now that I’m in a better place I’ve been so desperate to tell that this is what’s been going on. It’s not anything to be ashamed about,” said Felsher.
Dovid Zak, a friend of Felsher and a sophomore computer science and business analytics major said he empathizes with Felsher when he listens to Felsher’s music.
“Hearing Gabe open up about his mental health definitely makes me think about my own, and it’s comforting to know somebody else is going through tough times and sticking it out, and it kinda helps me to do my best,” said Zak.
Another friend of Felsher’s who supports his music is Coby Offer, a sophomore public health science major. He said Felsher’s music feels different since he’s friends with Felsher.
“It hits home. You really never know what someone is going through, and to hear him talk about it and go through it in his music, it sheds light on the fact that you should be there for people,” said Offer.
Felsher said music is a form of therapy to help him cope with the struggles he’s faced, and hope sto send a message to others who are struggling,
“I encourage anyone who’s really struggling just to have faith and to keep on pushing day to day, keep pushing,” said Felsher.
Felsher doesn’t have plans to rap professionally. He said for now he’s just having fun making music.
Although Felsher hasn’t been enrolled in the university for a few semesters, he hopes to be able to return to campus soon. For now, Felsher is focusing on himself and making music. He has 10 songs and he plans to release one song every two to three weeks. He says it’ll be his first project, which he says is about his relationship with pain.
Felsher’s next song, “Okay,” released on Dec. 20. Listeners can stream his songs on SoundCloud, Spotify, and Apple Music by searching “Gfelsh.” Felsher also encourages fans to follow him on Facebook and Instagram.