Best of the Bronx: Rapper tries to make it big

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THE BRONX -

A Bronx rapper is trying to make it big in the birthplace of hip-hop.

Jailenne Cedeno has a dream and says she's doing whatever it takes to make it a reality. So until she gets her big break as a hip-hop artist, the 20-year-old is a student at John Jay College and works part time as a T-Mobile sales associate in Flushing, Queens.

"It's stressful, it's exhausting," she says. "Sometimes I have to, you know, go to work, come out, rush, come to the studio, go to work, rush, do an interview, go to work, rush, do a photo shoot."

But as strenuous as her grind can be, Cedeno, whose stage name is Jaylee, says she feels her time is coming. She says it's her music with which fans identify, following her on social media.

"Not only do I write music, but I write pain, I write real stuff, I write stuff that people can relate to," she says.

One of the songs on Cedeno's EP is titled "Dear Brother" and is about a falling out she had with her sibling: "I'm basically just pouring my heart out about how the distance between me and my brother broke me."

Cedeno says growing up in the Bronx hasn't been easy, but it has shaped the life experiences that inspire her songs. The music she writes, she says, is not only for a paycheck, but to prove a point.

"I'm not looking for a record deal, I'm not looking to be the most famous person -- I'm looking to influence," Cedeno says. "I think my music opens eyes to see that I'm not just another pretty face; I'm talented and I work hard."

"Music is all I got," she says, providing her motivation for working on her craft in the studio.

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