Darius al-hammadi Ford feels right at home in front of the microphone. He often records music in his friend's basement in Waterloo.
"I think it's cool to show who you are and be original," said Darius Ford.
The 17-year-old said he started writing poetry about ten years ago. It's his way of expressing his emotions.
"I feel when some kids get mad they can get physical or express their emotions in different ways. I feel poetry is a positive way you can let it out," said Ford.
Ford put his poetry to music, and recorded his first song at age 14.
Ford writes and raps about his life, what he hopes for the future, and his goals. One of his goals is to be a positive role model for his siblings.
"I have three younger siblings, so I want to be a be good positive, image for them so they know what's right and what's wrong at an early age," said Darius Ford.
Ford is going into his senior year at Waterloo West High School. Even though he loves music, he understands the importance of an education and plans to study business in college.
Fellow artist Andrew Robinson is one person who calls Ford "Lyrical Genius" based on lyrics in one of Ford's songs. He said Ford works hard, and that's why he has a great chance of being successful.
"His drive and willingness to work with anybody and everybody," Andrew Robinson.
Besides writing and rapping, Ford also helps produce music for other artists. He hopes to inspire others to follow their dreams.
"Never stop working at your dreams. Even when people doubt you and hate on your work. Still keep going and believe in yourself because if you don't believe in yourself, no one else will," said Darius Ford.
The teen said he's just trying to make his community proud, and he owes his success so far to his fans and supporters.
To learn more, you can search Darius Music World on YouTube.