By Tom Charles
Features editor

Syracuse University rapper Diverze dropped his first LP through Syracuse University Records and spent an elevator ride showing off his freestyling skills to 20 Watts.

SU rapper Andra Kenner Jr., known by his stage name Diverze, used to rap for his mother at the age of nine. Now, at 22, he’s finally reaching everyone else.

Diverze’s three mixtapes have been available on DatPiff for some time, but the Buffalo, NY native is excited to have dropped his first full length album March 6. The album, entitled #FREE: Finally Reaching Everyone Else, intends to capitalize on the “current society’s reliance on social media.” Prefacing each track with hashtags, Diverze hopes to organically insert himself into online conversations.

With bold ambitions, Diverze wisely makes use of as many resources as possible to leverage his career: his record label, Syracuse University Recordings (SUR), provided a grander platform to reach more listeners; fellow SU students offered the necessary vocal support to complement his flow; and beats were leased from file sharing sites such as SoundClick. Many of the instrumentals on the record came from Lexi Banks, who Diverze holds in high regard for her work as a female producer in a predominantly-male genre.

The lyrical content, however, all comes from Diverze himself, who works at an incredible pace (Days after the release of #FREE, Diverze says he’s already close to finishing his followup album, #REVEL: Really Entertaining Verses Everyone Loves). Most of his rhymes come from a cappella freestyles: “I write things really fast,” said Diverze. “I can freestyle really fast, too. That’s my main thing. People say I can freestyle better than I write — that’s arguable. But that is how I write my songs: I freestyle them first and then write them down.”

For a sample of Diverze’s freestyle abilities, check out the exclusive 20 Watts video above. #FREE is streaming for free at Hot New Hip Hop.