Cayden Carfrae (Caid Jones)

From a young age, Caid Jones has always had a love for music. Jones is a musician based in Winnipeg, MB, where he was born and raised essentially his entire life.

Currently, Jones works as both an artist and a youth mentor with Graffiti Art programming, a company in Winnipeg that does youth programming for arts and music across the city.

But Jones likes to focus his attention on music, mostly hip-hop, writing and creating songs to put new content out.

“I as well like to go out and speak at different events. So wherever I can get an opportunity to, whether or not it’s five people or 10 people, I just like to speak on just social and justices and stuff like that, things that are happening within our communities, within our people,” said Jones.

For some people, the dream of being a musician fades. But for Jones, simply loving hip-hop music and the culture behind it motivated him.

Jones says the way these artists were able to express themselves through their work, even though some may be vulgar, was something he admired they were able to do.

“As a youth at the time, and I was going through different mental things, I was going through different life obstacles and whatnot, and different understandings weren’t available to me. He was able to really give me a sense of, ‘Hey, you’re not alone,’” said Jones.

“So that really gave me a sense of this culture, these people doing this, people who feel the same way as me. So I felt a sense of belonging, that sense of ‘I’m not so lonely.’”

It wasn’t until Jones was in grade 10 when he actually started writing his own music and rapping. He says his high school English teacher would judge students on what the students thought they were good at, not just what the curriculum states.

It was during one of these classes when Jones started writing poetry and everything he wrote rhymed, eventually realizing if he said it fast enough it had the potential to be rap.

“I just, I basically unlocked a skill within myself there, a realization within myself that, ‘Hey, I can have the skill set to go towards writing if I practice this more, if I do this,’” said Jones.

Illustration by Shaikara David

“I opened up that possibility in my mind. That self confidence in my mind that, ‘Whoa wait, I can do that.’ I had never known that I was capable of those things. And so, from there I honestly started doing it every night.”

As for his formal education, Jones hit some bumps along the way.

When he went into high school he started out by continuing his love for basketball at the time, saying it was one of the reasons he chose the high school he did.

But Jones was going through some things in his life around that age, saying there was a lot of uncertainty and he “didn’t have the proper tools” to help him with his situation.

So in grade 10, he says he got involved with the wrong crowd and his focus started falling away from school, so much so that he ended up skipping too many classes and got kicked out for the rest of the year.

“Grade 11 I ended up having to do some of my grade 10 courses, and as well, some of my grade 11 courses. Grade 12 I had to do some of my grade 11 courses and just so on like that. I was always a bit behind there. So I definitely struggled during my middle years in high school,” said Jones.

Jones was seen as a problem child until they had a change in upper management at the school and he became friendly with the new principals, who were a lot more open and willing to give him the resources he needed to succeed.

“Having that resource and that help, and that support was incredible. But it definitely was a tough journey formally through education. I actually still, I’m not graduated. I don’t have my grade 12. I’m missing one elective,” said Jones.

“So I’m still working to work that actually, getting my final credit.”

As for the inspiration Jones gets to create, he says he is inspired by how much impact music can have on people, and that he vowed to use his music in a positive way.

“I want to be able to share my story and let them know that, “Hey, these things are overcomable. You can get past them with the correct tools, you can get past them with the correct knowledge. You can get past it with your heart in the right place.”

Special thanks to Jasmine Kabatay for authoring this blog post.

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