Student-athlete emcee attracts attention


Senior Bryan Palsi, who
raps under the alter ego of
Palz, is far from whom many
would expect to be one of the
meanest emcees to come out of
suburban New Jersey.
“Hip-hop’s a lottery nowadays,
I could pick six,” emcee
Bryan Palsi suggests on his
Lil’ Wayne remix, “Blak is the
In a world where stereotypes
and preconceived notions
of social norms rule,
Palsi believes it is worthwhile
to note that he is white.
Though the philosophy is
“Blak is the Movement,” Palsi
does not believe his skin color
has been an obstacle. In fact,
he takes it in stride.
“A lot of people don’t realize
that I’m white with red
hair,” Palsi said. “I like it
though. It’s a way for people
to doubt me. They don’t believe
that I can rap. ‘You don’t
think I can? Give me a beat
and give me a word!’ Then
they shut up.”
It was in fifth grade, in
Brielle, New Jersey, when
Palsi remembers first rapping,
though it wasn’t until he began
playing baseball that he developed
a passion for it.
“My junior year of high
school, the baseball team
would freestyle to and from
games. I downloaded 30 beats,
and my friends and I would
play them all the time and start
This setting established a
partnership that would prove
to be integral for the conception
of Palz.
“Through baseball I met Tyler
Lawrence, and he told me
he had a studio and he’d say,
‘You gotta come over and we
gotta record,’ and we did.”
Under Lawrence’s meticulous
production, Palsi wrote a
remix to “Black and Yellow”
as an ode to his high school
basketball team titled “Blue
and Gray,” his school colors at
Manasquan High School. Palsi
said sports have always had a
symbiotic relationship with
music for him, as they continually
inspire each other.
After graduating high
school, Palsi went to Temple
to study mathematics, specifically
actuarial science, the discipline
of applying statistics to
business and insurance trends
and policies. His enthusiasm
for data analysis added another
passion for him to juggle.
Music was still relatively
new territory for Palsi, and at
Temple, he sought it out in any
form he could.
Palsi found refuge in The
Cypher, an unofficial meeting
group where students and locals
gathered to rehearse and
collaborate as rappers and emcees,
a distinction that Palsi
would quickly learn to cherish.
“A rapper just raps. He
doesn’t have any substance
to his music. He says what
people want to hear. An emcee
gives meaning to a song.
Lyrically, he can speak to a
crowd,” Palsi said.
Members of The Cypher
took Palsi under their wings
and welcomed him as a newcomer
to hip-hop. According
to Palsi, the goal of being in
an inclusive conglomerate is to
learn to “spit from your mind
and your heart.” There, he
transformed from a rapper to
an emcee.
As important as Philadelphia’s
hip-hop was to him,
Palsi missed playing baseball
and learned that as much as he
loved what he was doing, he
“didn’t and [doesn’t] love hiphop
as much as the game.”
Subsequently, he transferred
to Susquehanna in the
fall of 2012. Palsi plays third
base for the Crusaders. He has
been a starter since he came to
Susquehanna and has the second-
best batting average on the
team at .352.
He is among the top five
players in slugging, getting on
base, RBIs, singles, doubles,
triples, home runs and even
getting hit by pitches. Former
teammate junior Garrett Pirollo,
said, “[Palsi] is a hell of a
ball player and a hell of a guy.”
Sophomore Robert Klatt
recalls being welcomed to the
team by Palsi. Klatt said, “Early
in the season, Palz came to
a practice with 18 mixtapes
and gave one to each of the
freshmen.” Klatt admits to not
being close with Palsi off of
the field, though his influence
is apparent nonetheless.
“[Palsi] lives 20 minutes
from me. He’s always willing
to talk to me about New Jersey,
school, baseball, music, personal
problems and family. That’s the
kind of guy he is,” Klatt said.
Palsi hopes to continue
playing baseball professionally
after he graduates. Palsi
said: “It’s what I’ve done since
I was young. It’s what I’ve always
The next step for Palsi is
to remain around New Jersey,
New York or Pennsylvania
and try out for an independent
baseball league, which is a
baseball organization not affiliated
with the Major or Minor
Leagues. These independent
leagues are common outlets
for aspiring players.
According to Palsi, these
leagues serve as steppingstones
between NCAA college
baseball and AAA baseball,
a step closer to the Major
Independent baseball games
are constantly visited by scouts
from different leagues. Palsi
is confident in his chances of
“moving up.”
Due to the connected nature
of the Internet Age, Palsi
has been becoming a selfdeclared
celebrity within the
Tri-State area.
He said: “I was at the Verizon
store at my mall and the
guy who sold me my phone
had my mixtape, ‘Blak is the
Movement.’ He noticed my
phone case, which had the
cover. He asked if I was Palz.”
Palsi confirmed that he was.
“He said, ‘No way! I got your
CD on my phone.’ That stuff
just happens sometimes.”
Perhaps in the future, salespeople
will also recognize Palsi
as a baseball star, or maybe
as an actuary.