Senior behavioral public relations major Mathieu Koontz gets out of class and goes straight to his room on the fourth floor of Vista La Verne Residence Hall. Inside his room there is a bed, books, school supplies and a closet of clothes and shoes.
Nothing out of the ordinary. He has all the necessities a college student should have. There is also a desk with a piano, a small studio microphone with headphones and a computer with audio recording software. This is all he needs.
He is Mathieu in class, but Prestige on the mic.
“I come back to my room when I get a little inspiration,” Koontz said. “I lay down a beat and everything just flows naturally.”
Koontz, 23, has made music more of a habit than a hobby. His debut EP “High Honors” was released April 18. He produced, recorded, mixed, mastered, edited and wrote lyrics for “High Honors” all in the mini-studio in the corner of his dorm room.
“High Honors” covers all urban areas of music from the new school, club-friendly hip-hop songs such as “On My Mama,” to the more R&B tracks like “Show You.”
“It’s usually influenced by life experiences depending on my mood,” Koontz said.
The West Coast, G-funk inspired track “Slide Wit Me” is Koontz’s favorite song on his EP.
“One reason it is my favorite is because it’s everybody else’s favorite,” Koontz said.
Senior business administration major Jamar Johnson is a fan of Koontz’ music and plays “High Honors” in his car on a daily basis.
“His talent is obviously there, the music obviously there,” Johnson said. “I think this guy is a beat specialist and I am loving it.”
Koontz was born in San Antonio, Texas, and moved to Inglewood at the age of 7.
At age 11 he taught himself to play the piano, and he has been producing his own beats since he was 16.
His music influences include Kanye West, Pharrell, Nas and Kendrick Lamar.
“I’ve told him I think he is one of the best producers on the West Coast,” freshman multimedia major Anthony Warrick said. “I think he is going to go places.”
Warrick, who goes by the rap name Tone, is featured on the aforementioned “Slide Wit Me” as well as the bonus track of the EP, “Best Thang Smokin’.”
Koontz recently dropped a new single called “Low-Low” on his SoundCloud page.
“High Honors” can be downloaded at soundcloud.com/thisisprestige.
Koontz can also be found on Twitter @thisisprestige.
Unlike most rappers Koontz does not do it for notoriety.
“Everybody wants fame, everybody wants to be rich and it is okay to want things like that,” Koontz said.
“I do it for more than to get signed or to get money and stuff like that. I do it to make people feel good.”
“I just want people to be able to connect to my music.”
Julian Mininsohn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.