Music has always been a part of Terrance Cuff's life. Even when he was an infant, his Mother would have to play music to get the tune-loving tot to sleep
Thirty-three years later, Cuff's interest in music has only grown deeper and with it cam a desire to express his feelings through music... but. By his own admission, he can't sing very well
Yet, where there is a will there is a way if you only look close enough and Cuff discovered his musical calling by rapping, a style of performing that he does so well, it is almost rapture when he performs as Mizt@Cuff
"I can't sing, so it had to be rap" Cuff told Webb Weekly with a laugh. "As far as Christian Rap goes, it's a label I'm not ashamed of, but it's just a label. I'm a Christian who raps, but I wouldn't consider all my music as things to be introduced on a Sunday at Church.
Although some famous rappers have given the musical genre a bad rap, Cuff is in fact, just the opposite. During the day he works as an Intervention Specialist for Child Guidance at Schick Elementary School, in addition to being a student majoring in criminal justice
"I believe that the rap music that consumers usually see on TV and hear on the radio does give a lot of people a negative perspective of it because of it's content," said Cuff. "But things like that, I actually use to motivate me to make songs that are just the opposite. In the end it's just a stereotype, because I have heard some country songs that have the same content as gangster rap. Go figure.
Cuff was introduced to rap music by attending numerous concerts while growing up, an experience he said that left him inspired
" I remember thinking to myself that I wanted to do the same thing when I grow up and give people that good feeling I felt," he said. "No matter how bad my day was, during that concert I forgot and just enjoyed myself. In reality as a child I felt like my life had so many boundaries, but when that music came on, I felt like I was free.
Cuff describes his musical style as uplifting and hopeful. He also hopes his music will have an impact on those who listen to the words he put to music
"So many people have gone through similar situations as the ones I write about, and it encourages them I'm sure to hear there is a better way," he said. "Or just because I made this mistake, it doesn't mean I can't have a better life one day. It's motivational music, and at times you might feel like crying. But after the crying I'm sure it will give you the will to want to stand up, and reach higher than you have before.
Recently, Cuff put together the CD "Come Fly With Me", which showcases his talents as a rapper and songwriter
It is available at The Christian Light Bookstore, Robert M. Sides in Williamsport and numerous online locations. Cuff's goal is for people to be both entertained and enlightened by what they hear
"It wasn't that difficult putting together the CD," he said. "I think the most difficult part was me being a perfectionist and continuously wanting to change this and that to make it better
"I had a lot of help from God. He provided and allowed me to collaborate with a lot of singers from Antioch Baptist Church like Janice and Sharon Todd, Yolanda Washington and many others. I also had features on the album from a couple of my big inspirations like Brad Vonaida and Gregory Pride.
People that meet Cuff for the first time quickly realize there is something special about this young man who is filled with wisdom, hopes and compassion
"I want people to take my examples and learn from them, so they will never have to face'em themselves," Cuff said. "And if they're going through a storm, I want them to know one day there will be sunshine. It makes me happy to hear people say, 'Don't stop doing what your doing.' It just reaffirms to me that what I'm doing is what God wanted or wants me to do.