BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Before he was rapper Balistic Man, James Melendez was just a kid who grew up in downtown Buffalo with a dream.

“I started doing music at an early age, just rapping in the streets and stuff like that,” he said.

He said growing up in the city was tough and he ran into some trouble.

“I was in federal prison at 20 and I came home and I decided to focus on my career and my passion and my goals and go full throttle and since I did that it’s just been going uphill from there.”

He started making music, connections, and traveling around the country to get his name out there.

An executive producer who has also worked with DJ Khaled and Fat Joe recently to him reached out saying he loved his sound and wanted to collaborate.

“That was just an honor, it made me feel like all the hard work was paying off,” Melendez said. “The song is amazing it’s called Entitlement, it’s a song pretty much about- everybody could relate to it, just working hard and trying to accomplish a goal and people feel entitled to your accomplishments and stuff like that. It’s a relatable song, it’s dope, we got DJ Khaled on it shouting Buffalo, New York out so it’s the first time it’s ever happened, it’s huge and we want our city to know that we’re shining a light back on Buffalo there’s a lot of talent out here and we want the world to see it.”

He’s also representing Buffalo around the country with his clothing brand, Buffalo Herd. He said it gives people from every city a little piece of Buffalo wherever they go.

“They feel a part of it, they feel like they’re a part of what’s going on here in the city.”

Melendez said when he was a kid he decided his rapper name would be Balistic. Now, he wants the world to see he’s grown up but will always be tied to his roots, hence Balistic Man.

“I remember being where I was saying I’m gonna be where I’m at and now I’m here. It wasn’t easy, it was not an easy road, it never is, but it feels like a dream come true,” he said. “I’m living proof that if you put your mind to it, if you come from nothing, if you put your mind to it and work hard and sacrifice yourself you can get to where you wanna go.”

Melendez couldn’t reveal when the new song will be officially dropping but he’ll be performing it for the first time this weekend in Buffalo. The location will be revealed on his Instagram page on Friday.

Buffalo Herd is sold online and at his friend’s store, Sweet Sound Music on Grant Street.