Becoming Cassius Tae Deontè Gardner takes a moment as he gets ready for his final headlining show as Cassius Tae in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., before his graduation from Central Michigan University. Outside his childhood home in Chicago, Deontè Gardner looks over his shoulder before heading inside. Growing up in Chicago made the 22-year-old sharper, alert and always thinking ahead. The knack for planning has kept the aspiring muscian focused. Gardener prophesied that he would be successful and "be better" than himself when he was eight. Now, he is the first person on his block to go away for college and to graduate. On his way to class, Deontè Gardner looks over homework on the bus. With his busy schedule, the commute to school becomes time to work on last minute things. Deontè Gardner plays his his sister Jade Gardner, 6, in the basement of his dad's house in Chicago, Ill. During college, Deontè lived four hours away as a result, the time he spends in Chicago with family is treasured. Deontè Gardner jumps on his bed to check his outfit as he gets ready for school Oct. 26, 2017. Appearances are very important to Deontè as he is concerned with how people will receive him as person and entertainer. As a result getting dressed in the morning is a process that requires thorough checking. Deontè Gardner performs as Cassius Tae at his final show at Wayside Central in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., before he graduates. During Gardner's time at Central Michigan University, he launched his music career which he will continue past graduation. As entertainer, Gardner explains that he was able to "bridge the gap and bring together different groups that never would’ve been together.” Deontè Gardner grins as he thumbs through the money he made from the final show in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., before his graduation. Deontè saw the money in his hands as a physical representation of the support his friends and family have offered him as he pursues his dream of being a professional musician. At the end of a long day Deontè Gardner orders a calzone from Hungry Howie's in Mt. Pleasant. Deontè's days at school are long and he doesn't always get the chance to eat during the day and will find food by himself after he finishes class. In his grandmother's home in Chicago, Ill., Deontè Gardner laughs at his cousin following Thanksgiving dinner with his family. Chicago and his family have huge influences on Gardner's music and time he gets to spend with is treasured. Some of his first musical inspirations were his parent's choices in music and set the foundation for his dream of pursuing music.