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Carson, California, United States

Carson, California, United States
Band Hip Hop Spoken Word




"Lyricist a Finalist in Hip-Hop"

Joshua Brown once again participated in the global John Lennon Songwriting Contest


Every year, amateur and professional songwriters around the world submit their original songs to compete in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
This year, Cal State Fullerton student Joshua Brown, 24, an advertising major, is a finalist competing with one other artist in the Hip- Hop category. His song, “Runnin’ My Race,” was a Grand Prize winner for this category in 2011. If Brown beats out his competition, he becomes eligible for the Song of the Year award and a $20,000 prize.
“For me, personally, (winning) kind of just lets me know — it was kind of a reminder — that I’m on the right path,” said Brown.
The international contest began in 1997 and is committed to providing opportunity to songwriters of all levels. The winner from each of the 12 categories wins awards and prizes, and also competes for the title of Song of the Year.
Tiana Lewis, tour coordinator and assistant director for the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, said the John Lennon Songwriting Contest is unique compared to other singing competitions.
“What sets us apart from other contests is that we don’t judge songs on the quality of production; we are really able to focus on the lyrics and composition of a song,” said Lewis. “There are many aspiring songwriters out there with hesitance toward shopping their demos because they can’t sing or don’t have the production resources to ‘sell’ themselves. In keeping John’s legacy alive, promoting the importance of songwriting and creativity are paramount for connecting with all artists.”
Brown, also known as Cahlaj on stage, is influenced by the music of rappers Jay-Z, Tupac Shakur, Nas, Eminem and The Notorious B.I.G. The inspiration of his writing comes from real life, real emotion and real energy.
“I think I want my music to be like a bridge for understanding — for people to have a more reflective view of themselves — a better understanding of another outlook in society that may not be talked about or looked upon,” Brown said.
Brown started his musical career about six years ago while he was in high school. He became involved in several local talent shows and worked on some projects for Black History Month, which eventually led him to work with Tupac Shakur’s first manager, Leila Steinberg.
He has performed at various events around Orange County and Los Angeles, most recently at Fusion, CSUF’s poetry event presented by the Afro-Ethnic Student Association. The event took place in March and is held every semester.
CSUF student Jacqueline Snell attended the event and watched Brown perform live.
“The event itself was really inspiring. All of the artists were amazing, but he (Brown) — I definitely think that he stood out,” said Snell. “He’s just a really great performer, so I’m glad he’s being recognized for the work that he’s done ... He’s really talented and I definitely think he deserves to win.”
Under the selection system of the contest, the winner is chosen by online voters as well as a panel of professional judges that include professional singers/songwriters, performers and industry veterans. To hear CAHLAJ’s song, as well as the other songs from the finalists, go to
“I think people should listen to both of the songs and see which one speaks to you,” Brown said. “Not taking away from the other artists, but if you listen to both tracks and my record touches you, then you should vote.”
The voting is open until Friday, and the winners of both sessions will compete to become the Lennon Award winner in each category.
Brown will begin working on his second project in May. For more information about his work, visit
- Daily Titan Newspaper

"Local hip-hop artist Cahlaj offers free download of Broken Silence"

Cahlaj is an LA based hip-hop artist that is definitely an up and comer. Blending old sounds with the new, Cahlaj paints a portrait with his words of not just everyday life but of dreams and aspirations on his debut album, Broken Silence.

Making various appearances throughout Los Angeles and Orange County and winning the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the Hip-Hop category, Cahlaj is making quite a name for himself. Keep checking in with Rabbits Black to stay up to date with any future shows. - RabbitsBlack

"Cahlaj wins The John Lennon Songwriting Contest for hip-hop"

West Coast MC Cahlaj (pronounced collage) recently won the prestigious The John Lennon Songwriting hip-hop in session one, an international contest open to amateur and professional songwriters who can submit entries into one of 12 categories.

The award for the Kenni Roberson produced “Runnin My Race” came as quite a surprise for the MC.

“I think it’s a good look and I didn’t expect it,” says Cahlaj who gained his named from a fellow artist who described his rhymes as painting pictures. “I did let me know that people actually feel what I do.”

Judges for the 14-year-old songwriting contest included Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, international pop star Natasha Bedingfield, VP of A&R for Sony Music Ken Komisar and famed music journalist Matt Pinfield. The JLSC is open year-round and features two sessions with 72 finalist, 24 Grand Prize Winners, 12 Lennon Award Winners and one “Song of the Year.”

Cahlaj has come a long way from rapping, to poetry due to lack of beats and transitioning back to rapping. According to the MC, music has a larger audience which was more of an incentive to pursue rapping.

“You can listen to music while you’re in the car, while you’re at work and with spoken word you need one’s full attention,” Cahlaj explained whose influences range from Jay-Z to Pac.

Currently, Cahlaj is working on finishing up his free Broken Silence mixtape in which he hopes to release by the end of the year. - OnWax Magazine


Broken Silence Mixtape



Born and raised in California, Cahlaj (pronounced k?'lZH) brings you real life with a bitter sweet taste. A Los Angeles based Poet and Emcee, Cahlaj touches on real life subjects by painting the world around him with his words. He has performed at venues in the Los Angeles and Orange County area including: The Key Club, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Dominguez Hills, The Poetry Lounge, Venice Beach, San Pedro Youth Facility, Brea Olinda High School, The Express, and other numerous venues.

Cahlaj won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for his song "Runnin' My Race" in the Hip-Hop category in 2011.

As Cahlaj moves forward into the future he strives to touch the listeners emotions and bringing life to their ears.

Band Members