Air Force Staff Sgt. Kevin Grant: Trooper of the Quarter
By Staff Sgt. Michael E. Davis Jr., 29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment—
The Maryland National Guard takes great pleasure in recognizing its citizen-soldiers and airmen who stand out in their military and civilian careers. This quarter, the MDNG would like to highlight Air Force Staff Sgt. Kevin A. Grant for his professionalism as an honor guard member with the Maryland National Guard and as a self-promoted hip-hop artist.
Affiliation: Maryland Air National Guard
Unit: 175th Full Support Squadron
Air Force Specialty Code: 3MO51 – Services – Readiness and Mortuary
Years of service: 6
Careers: Hip-Hop artist and Honor Guardsman
Affiliation: Maryland National Guard Honor Guard and Self Employment
Education: some college
Q: What inspired you to join the Honor Guard?
A: I just got home from tech school [military occupational specialty school]. I was at drill [military duty], and a good friend of mine who was also my supervisor at the time, Senior Master Sgt. Nilson, was like ‘Hey, what do you think about joining the Honor Guard?’ At the time I didn’t have a job, so I took it. I was like ‘Yeah, I would love to do that!’ Besides me joining the Air National Guard, that was probably the best decision I made right there because my life totally flipped
Q: How do you think becoming an honor guard member changed your life?
A: I used to catch three buses to drill. I would have to wake up around 3 a.m. to get to drill by 6 a.m. Now that I’m in the Honor Guard, I have a car; I got my own place. It actually gave me the cash that I need it to get the hip-hop thing going. So if I weren’t in the Honor Guard, I most likely would not be doing what I am doing.
Q: Besides becoming financially stable, what are some other things you’ve taken away from being in the Honor Guard?
A: I have learned a lot from the people I work with. They have inspired me so much. The biggest thing that I can honestly take away from being in the Honor Guard is that we’re doing honors almost every day for a veteran that just passed. It makes you realize how short life is, and you want to take advantage of the time you have because you don’t know how much time you do have. It’s a good honor because people do appreciate it, and I love doing it.
Q: I understand that you won the Honor Guardsman of the Year award in 2010. What was that like for you?
A: When I won the Honor Guardsman of the Year award, that was the first time I was like, ‘you know what? I’m doing something that’s good.’ My parents were proud of me, everybody in my unit was proud. I was like, ‘I have to keep going. I have to find something else that makes everybody proud.’ Them being proud made me feel proud, and I also like the effect that it had with other people in the Air National Guard; it gave them inspiration to do something with themselves. That was a big turning point in my life as far as how much more success I wanted to have, and I was so honored.
Q: Was that around the time when you decided to become a rapper?
A: Yes. I’m not the typical rapper though. I play the piano, saxophone, I dance, and I’m more of an entertainer than a rapper. I just love to entertain people and make people feel good.
Q: When did you realize that you wanted to become an entertainer?
A: It all ties back to the Air Force. If I didn’t join the Air Force, if I didn’t get put in one place to meet people from all around the country and put into one place, I would not have known that I can reach that many people just off of me rapping.
Q: What is your latest single?
A: The Juice. It just dropped last week [Aug. 9, 2015]. The music video is something crazy because a lot people didn’t know that I could play the saxophone. The meaning behind The Juice really that everyone has their thing – that one thing they have that not so many other people can do – and that’s what The Juice is. That one talent, that one gift that you have that makes you say, ‘I got the juice. That’s what I got, don’t nobody else got it but me.’
Q: What advice would you give to a young person who is thinking about joining the military or even becoming a professional artist?
A: You can do anything and still be in the Armed Forces. The only thing that can stop you from doing what you want to do is yourself. When you want to do something bad enough, you’ll find time for it. That’s what happened to me. I really want my story to
help the younger people to realize that ‘I can still do this and still have my dream that I really want because it’s possible.