Journalist, whose real name is Rafiek George, gives much of the credit for his success to his mother, who supported her five sons and provided a strong example of what it means to be determined and to work hard. By his middle-school years, his dreams were sharply divided between careers in music or the NBA. In 1995, with his high-school diploma in hand, he made his choice and set out to snag a recording contract. Until opportunity came knocking, he supported himself with jobs as a public speaker and youth counselor. While employed by Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, he took part in a number of talent shows. Two years after graduating from high school, the rapper earned his first paycheck from performing when he triumphed in a talent search held at New Jersey's the Stardust Ballroom. By 1999, with Julius Erving, Jr. as his manager, Journalist auditioned for Charles Suitt, a vice president of Universal Records. Soon he was a member of the company's stable that also included young artists like Nelly and Juvenile. Unfortunately, his career did not take off as expected and the rapper moved to Motown. Scribes of Life, his debut Motown release, featured Journalist's version of the Patti LaBelle hit "On My Own."
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