RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — One year ago, Mayor Levar Stoney proclaimed February 13 “Mad Skillz Day” to honor one of Richmond’s own. 

In honor of that proclamation, Mad Skillz – real name Donnie Lewis – spoke with students at John Marshall High School Thursday about his rise in the industry.

Skills gained fame in the late 1990s and is credited with helping solidify Virginia’s rise on the music scene. He’s worked alongside such artists as Will Smith and Sean “Puffy” Combs and is known nationwide for his influence on the hip-hop culture.

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During his visit at John Marshall, he shared advice to those looking to get into the business.

“For any person looking to pursue music, I would say make sure you pay attention to the business but don’t let that stifle your creativity,” he said.

RELATED: Mad Skillz paves the way for Richmond rappers: ‘He put Virginia hip-hop on the map’

Skillz is now a highly sought after DJ and also teaches a hip-hop focused class at the University of Richmond.

In Celebration of “Mad Skillz Day,” the Broadberry is holding a free, open-to-the-public conversation with the Richmond native tonight at 6 p.m.