Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 26, 2007

PROFILE: Falls female rapper looking to beat the odds

When you open up a concert for 50 Cent, you’d better have your eyes open, wide open.

Deana Barlow, better known to most folks as Wenzday Atemz, learned that fact fast in 2003 when she hit the stage at the Buffalo Convention Center in advance the original gangsta himself.

“It was the scariest thing ever,” Barlow said. “When I first started (performing as a rap artist), I never opened my eyes. I couldn’t. But I did then and it was all there in front of me, 15,000 people. The feeling was amazing.”

If you think the route from Chilton Avenue in the Falls to sharing a stage with 50 Cent might be a strange one, you’d be right. Yet for Barlow, it all seems perfectly natural.

“I always used to rhyme, I’ve been doing it since I was young,” she said. “I always envisioned being on stage, it’s very natural.”

Still, the specter of a 29-year-old white female rapper is a little an unusual to most folks. Yet it doesn’t deter Barlow, a graduate of the old LaSalle High School, who still lives on Chilton Avenue, right near her mom.

“I moved across the street from my mom so I could bug her for a home-cooked meal,” Barlow laughed.

She says her mother always thought she had the potential to be someone special in the arts. Especially after her third-grade teacher told Barlow’s mom to keep all the journals and stories she wrote.

“(The teacher) told my mom to save all that stuff because I was going to be a famous writer some day,” Barlow said, with a smile. “I wrote a lot when I was younger. I kept journals. All my songs are about real life, my life, they’re very personal.”

She went to college near Albany, but the school didn’t seem ready to welcome someone with a ear for rap and hip hop.

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