Uptown Heights: Varsity Jerv


Every artist operates on a different time table, and Varsity Jerv has been carefully crafting high-quality heaters for years now. Born Jervis Luna, he grew up in the Washington Heights Uptown area of New York. He graduated from Onondaga Community College. During his tenure in college, Jerv met a lot of influential people and would form many lasting connections. Syracuse University’s Student Hip-Hop Organization hosted Varsity Jerv on their first-ever podcast episode and it went extremely well. Jervis shed some light on his background, existing forces that empower him and completely shredded his freestyle session. From there, he would go on to perform at recorded cipher sessions and on stage at parties hosted by the organization such as, “40’s and Shorties.”

A close friend and collaborator of Jerv’s, Jo Marte has been pursuing music within the same style as Jerv for some time now as well. The video for the song with Booda Beats, “The Money” features Jerv and details an intricate plot to stick up Marte’s place of employment, the corner store. Altogether, the production does a terrific job of showcasing some key landscapes around Syracuse, New York.


While Jerv was attending college he released his first project, Crooks of Today Gents of Tomorrow on January 28, 2014. Hits such as, “Thotiana” and “Righteous to my Hustle” contains many well-layered lyrical renderings and landed his carefully calculated output in the Spring Issue of Syracuse University’s “La Voz” magazine. The album details the humble beginnings and initial immersion into the hip-hop game and received slightly more than 1,000 plays.

A large portion of the allure surrounding artists like this deals with the exclusivity factor. With one-off single releases, hype is consistently being built through IG posts or snippets which causes anticipation to grow in the meantime. Some of the most crucial Varsity Jerv singles were teased on social media, but never remained permanent on a viewing platform such as YouTube or Facebook. Songs such as, “Thou Shall Never Perish” “Sixty6 at the Rucker” and “Always Shall Distinguish” are pure gems for this man but have been removed from the online stratosphere due to personal preference and style of operation.

From the time that he graduated from OCC in 2017, Jerv has constantly been putting in the hours to develop his skill set and brand. During this time he has worked with many elite producers around New York and also upheld lasting connections with important media figures in his native country, Dominican Republic. During this stretch, Jerv performed at SOB’s with Jo Marte and earned a stage spot on the ticket with peers such as Mid (RRR) and DroLavish (NYC.LAV). The crazy part is that the founders of both RRR and NYC.LAV both attended Syracuse around the same time and strengthened their connections on campus to fortify their ability to collaborate in the city post-graduation. In 2019, Jerv was featured on the song, “Numb” on Mid’s “Music As a Service.”

Varsity Jerv is one of the hardest working, nose to the grindstone type of emcees out there. Every chance he gets, he makes sure to grind for his spot and dutifully earn the space that he chooses to inhabit. As a true testament to the dedication, progression and speaking patterns to fruition, it is clear that this young artist has an illustrious vision mapped out ahead. None of that is more evident than in the well-packaged, an elaborately crafted new project titled, “Classical Tunes: Vol. 1” which dropped at the end of January 2020. This mixtape/album is the complete culmination of six years of blood, sweat and tears combined to deliver unadulterated, uncut raw examples of lyrical excellence.

Varsity Jerv is a very interesting character for his multiple flavors, approaches, stylistic choices and direction of wordplay. Much of the time he transitions smoothly from English to Spanish while remaining enjoyably comprehensible for any listener. He admires late rapper Big Pun for his ability to shatter expectations and the way he was able to captivate the world by storm by becoming the only Latino artist to go Double Platinum. Also, he is an avid connoisseur of Jay-Z and is loosely connected to the Roc-A-Fella organization through mutual friendships forged throughout the course of his lifetime.


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