Lil’ Soda Inspired Peers to Give Their Best on State Testing Through Music Video

The countless hours listening to hip-hop artists and writing and practicing his own rhymes were put to good use by Oak View Elementary School student, Harrison Taylor, otherwise known by his stage persona: Lil’ Soda.

While some students may listen to a motivational speech, pray, meditate, or get hyped by an enthusiastic pep rally before a standardized test, this fourth grader displayed his talents through a rap song to motivate himself and his classmates. In this case, his song “Georgia Milestones” encouraged everyone to do their best on the statewide End-of-Grade assessments.

“It started off as extra credit, but I take my music seriously, and I wanted to take the song seriously and inspire my classmates and other schools to do well on the Georgia Milestones,” Harrison said.

It took him two days to write the lyrics to the song, and he was able to shoot a music video for it at his school. It turns out it’s all in a day’s work for Harrison, who’s been rapping since he was five.

“I heard Lil’ Baby’s music, and I wanted to start rapping,” he said. “His flow inspired me to rap. I like how he rapped and wanted to try it out.”

In case you’re wondering, his signature moniker, Lil’ Soda, was inspired by what else? His love of soft drinks!

His mother, Shaneal Harrison, said that after her son discovered his talent and passion for rap music, he instantly wanted to go to a music studio to record his music.

“When he was five years old, he would come to me and say, ‘Mom, I want to go to the studio; I want to rap. As a mom, I said ‘no,’ but when we had family gatherings, he would get the karaoke mic and start rapping, and everyone would gather around and cheer him on. There was no stopping him then,” she said.

The Michigan natives relocated to DeKalb County last summer. Before they moved, Ms. Harrison said she hosted a music event in her hometown where local artists would perform. During those events, Lil’ Soda would get on stage with some artists to perform.

“Over the years, he continued to ask me to go to the studio to record because he wanted to rap. He reached out to local artists in our community and tried to get into the studio with them or get on a song with them,” Ms. Harrison said. “And finally, I let him go to the studio, and once he recorded his first song, everyone liked it. So, I let him go from there and pursue his dream.”

Harrison said he enjoys performing for an audience.

“When I go out there, I will turn up,” he said. “It feels good when I see everyone jumping around and waving their hands.”

Harrison said he was ready for the Georgia Milestones exams and hoped his song encouraged his classmates and other students to be prepared.