Virginia Beach based rapper Rep has always had a love for music. Growing up and traveling all over the US, he acquired a taste for every single genre. It was during a time in his life when he was teaching family life classes in the public school in Central Virginia that he started to see that the kids didn't have any positive music to listen to, and he began to make mixtapes for them. They loved the music, but Rep again saw a transformation a couple of years later when he realized that the music out there was not only not really positive, but not really real. It didn't address a lot of the issues that people were really dealing with. So, he decided to start making music that spoke to real life.
All of this has been for one purpose--to be a light and help people navigate through the dark areas in their lives. His newest project “Tree” is very unconventional. It's a more of a metaphor than an EP, but he along with the featured artists had a desire to share a message through the art of music, and the art is something truly inspirational.
We connected with Rep for an exclusive interview to discuss the “Tree” EP; specifically, to find out the meaning behind its title, his creative process during its development, whether he has a favorite song on it, and much more.
After reading our Q&A with Rep, be sure to connect with him on his website and social media, and stream the “Tree” EP!
Tell our reading about your new EP "Tree". What's the meaning behind the EP's title and what inspired you to write and record it?
“Tree” is really about the place I am in life right now. In a society and culture these days, there is so much going on that makes life feel a little crazy sometimes. It feels like every day is a bit unstable, and you can't leave your house knowing what's going to happen. I find myself trying to figure out how to stay grounded in who I am. “Tree” dives into how hard it is to be rooted in our lives whether it be with our beliefs or relationships or whatever. It's also about the growth that occurs when we do get to that point.
Describe your creative process when it came to the development of the EP's eight songs.
The first song written for the EP was actually written as a part of a contest presented by Tentmaker Music. It was the last day of the competition, and I still hadn't written anything for it; so I sat down and wrote the lyrics to “I Am Groot”. And the song won the competition. That's when I started to really push forward with this. I wanted to work the metaphor of the tree and have each of the tracks relate to something about trees and life. I talked through the idea with other artists who I knew could bring something to the songs and make them their own. The EP just came to life then.
This may be a hard question to answer, but do you have a favorite song on the EP?
It's a hard one. The closest song to me is probably “Leaves”. “Leaves” talks about how there are things that can happen to us that seem devastating or traumatic, and people around us may say that there is no way we can make it through or we are going to fall. But we're still hanging, and we aren't done. We haven't been defeated. I've had those times, and I know others have, too.
Now that the EP has been released, what are some of your goals musically for the remainder of the year?
I really want to provide more material and work with producers and artists. I love doing features within and outside of the hip-hop genre. I'm a writer as well, so I'm focusing a lot more of publishing some more books coming up. I have two books out "God, Make Me Uncomfortable" and "God, Make Me Broken".
When someone, especially a youth, listens to one of your songs, what message do you seek to convey?
I want them to be okay with being honest about life. I want them to be honest about how life sucks and is great, too. Life is hard, but it's fun, too. Life hurts, but there's pleasure, too. I want them to hear my songs talk about what they're dealing with, questions they have, dreams, they want to see come true. I want them to know God is God through it all. I want them to take a journey.