Jim Harbaugh (left) watches Jabrill Peppers (center) during Michigan's spring game. (Rebecca Gallagher/MJ)

By RICKY LINDSAY, Editor-in-Chief

Jabrill Peppers sits at one of the stalls inside Michigan Stadium’s locker room, his Wolverine visor backwards and uniform sleeves rolled to the shoulder, as a scrum of reporters engulf the area around him.

There’s not much alone time for Peppers during Michigan’s media day, held Thursday at Michigan Stadium. One group of reporters leave as the next swallow the vacant space. They ponder the hype surrounding Peppers this season, the possibility of him being a three-way player and of course, the comparisons to Michigan legend Charles Woodson.

But football isn’t Peppers’ only talent.

Michigan’s prized second-year defensive back is also a rapper. When he announced his commitment to the team two years ago on ESPNU, he did so in a Wolverines-themed rap.

There’s athletes who dream of being musicians, and musicians who long for the life of an athlete.

Peppers has the best of both worlds through football and rap.

“Music was just a way to express myself,” Peppers said. “My whole family is very musically inclined, so it was kind of inevitable.”

Going by the stage name “J-Reall,” Peppers uses music to express himself. It keeps him down to earth as the spotlight on him grows brighter.

“I gotta watch what I say. I gotta do the right things because a lot of younger people look up to me,” he said. “It’s my due diligence that I show them the correct way and lead by example.

“When I make music, I’m not cursing up a storm; I’m not talking about anything that would jeopardize the team or myself. But at the same time, I’m just doing something that I love and it keeps me down to earth.”

Second-year defensive end Lawrence Marshall roomed with Peppers during their first year in Ann Arbor, and had the luxury of a first-hand look at his musical endeavors.

“Being his roommate, I hear it all the time,” Marshall said. “He’s always in the studio if he’s not on the football field or looking at plays.”

The process of making a song is simple. Peppers steps inside his studio, plays a beat, adjusts the microphone and presses record.

“I don’t even write, (I) just go and record however I’m feeling that day,” he said. “If I had an experience that day, I’ll talk about it. If I had an experience with a female, I’ll talk about it. It’s just a lot of different things.

“Music is a channel. I just channel my emotions through that.”

Peppers’ goal is to produce music for as long as he can. He aspires to team up with Detroit talents Big Sean or DeJ Loaf for a track.

“That’s just some dreams of mine,” he said.


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