JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Local rapper Kirk Williams earned his degree from Jackson State University at age 36 this year.
Williams, a father of two, grew up in Jackson. By age 14, he was a drug dealer, homeless and was declared dead three times after being shot while protecting his sister.
He earned his Master’s of Arts in Urban and Regional Planning, finishing with a 3.9 GPA. He says he was lucky to avoid a felony.
“To come from an environment where 98 percent of people have felonies around you, there is always a concern about being able to register for school and apply for financial aid,” Williams said.
Williams dropped out of school after eighth grade. his grandmother kicked him out of their home when she realized he was no longer going to school.
“I remember my first day of signing up for ninth grade. I refused to go to the bus stop because I knew that I didn’t have the proper gear. It was my education versus my reality. I was embarrassed about what I didn’t have. So, I refused. The days she thought I was in school I would just go around the block or wherever.”
He says being shot was a “wake-up call about the world in which we live in.”
When he turned 23, he started working toward his GED. After four failed tries, he earned it on his fifth attempt. In 2016, he earned his bachelor’s degree from JSU and now has a master’s.
When he’s not racking up college degrees, Williams makes music under the name Trembleduzzit.