R.E.U.B.: I Used To Love H.E.R.

When you hear phrases like; "a breath of fresh air", or the most famous one of them all; "keeping it real", doesn't it sound just a little cliché? Well if it does, because those terms have been tossed around by many of the so-called purists of Hip-Hop. Nowadays, it's hard to separate the who's who of the culture. It's too bad that at the beginning of a career, most unknown artists get categorized into the same group of people that has absolutely nothing to say. But for those talented individuals that manage to escape the realm of mediocrity, that was unwillingly bestowed on them; the reward is always much greater.Hip-Hop has long been the urban version of CNN. If you want to know what the new trends are, then just watch all the new Hip-Hop videos, religiously. The glamour-life has become front and a center, while some of the simple things in Hip-Hop have been long forgotten. There's nothing wrong with being proud of your financial accomplishments, but when that's over and done with; what are you going to talk about next? Virginia based MC, R.E.U.B. (an acronym for Real Entrepreneur in the Underground Business of Hip-Hop), is one of those few talents getting a word in edge-wise. With his song, "Lamborghini Doors", R.E.U.B. Is putting a much needed spin on the multi-fascinated world of materialization. He actually possess a skill that many who can [themselves] MC's do not; the ability to put songs together. With his current independent project set for release, "The Black Rapper Show", hopefully he gets a lot of viewers to tune-in; and that his ratings soar through the roof. AllHipHop.com: So whereabouts are you from in Virginia?R.E.U.B: I'm actually from small part, right outside of Washington D.C.AllHipHop.com: How's the Hip-Hop scene out there?R.E.U.B: Its really a melting pot, but I'd say its more of an underground scene, like the backpack type of scene. It's pretty hot, and not because the South is hot right now. It was like that even when New York was really hot too. Like a lot of people over here love Scarface and things like that. AllHipHop.com: Do you think there's any particular reason why a lot more artists from the Virginia area haven't hit the mainstream?R.E.U.B: Well from my part of Virginia/D.C., the only radio you're going to be able to get is "GO-GO" music because that's [our] local sound. People love it, so it's tough for a Hip-Hop artist. Because for you get on the radio, you have to be with a "GO-GO" band. But I really don't think that's going to last, I think in the next year or two there's going to be a break through. There are a lot of artists doing big things here, besides myself. We're all going to get our shine, out of this whole metro area. AllHipHop.com: What would you say is the toughest part about being an unsigned artist?R.E.U.B: Besides the money, its all other types of random things. Like you still have to make it to work. I remember doing shows like on Thursday nights; and getting out of the show around 2am in the morning. Then driving 45 minutes to get home, and then have to be at work around 6am. Plus getting people to believe that your stuff doesn't sound like anybody else's. Because there are so many people making music, and just copying something that's already out. People don't want to hear that from independent artists, they don't want to hear you sound like someone else. They want to hear what you sound like. There is so many independent artists doing the same thing, and just trying to imitate what's hot. That's what makes people think that [you] suck, because I be thinking a lot of people suck too. [laughing]AllHipHop.com: [laughing] So talk about your song, Lamborghini Doors

What was your focus behind it? R.E.U.B: Ahh... Lets see, "Lamborghini Doors." There were a couple of ideas, like were working on this project called "The Black Rapper Show." Then my partner came up with the beat, and it was kind of rough. But even its rough form, [we] still knew that beat was just hot. Then I wanted to make a single out of it, because [this] could be the one. I didn't want to make a joint that just gets swept under the table; because that's what a lot of independent artists do. I'm not a copy-cat dude, so I wasn't going to do what everyone else was doing. But I do know what it is to take away from different styles, like Reggae for example. Right now, there's a certain sound that people are in love with. So I wanted to play with that a little bit, and still do me. Even though people are still talking about money, and I think its old and boring. I think the people still writing about it, are bored with it. But people still want to hear about more "bling", more expensive cars, and stuff like that. So I just wanted a way to flip that, and use different similes and metaphors. Use the cars and jewelry so it can sound like one thing, and it means another. I just played with the hook until I came up with something really catchy. So that's about it. AllHipHop.com: How did you first hook up with Clinton Sparks? R.E.U.B: From this guy I used to do stuff for way back in the day from my area; but now he works for a label. I was working on a project, and he told me to scrap the project because I didn't have anyone big behind it. So he told me to scrap it, which was great advice. Then he wanted me to do a mixtape, and get at Clinton Sparks, so he can host it. He said; "even if you pay him, he won't do it, unless he likes it." He kept telling me Clinton is one of those dudes who loves music. So we made the songs, and he made the call. Then we drove out to Boston to see what he could do with us. When we got up there, Clinton was a cool cat and showed us a lot of love. We was kicking it at the studio, and at the crib. We both liked each other personalities, and we ended going to the club too. Everything turned out really good. AllHipHop.com: Yeah, he's a cool dude. He used to sell his mixtapes at this Hip-Hop store I worked at back in the days; when I still lived in Boston.R.E.U.B: Oh you're from Boston too?AllHipHop.com: Yeah, but now I'm a New Yorker. His "Get Familiar" series would always sell out.R.E.U.B: Oh yeah, I believe it.... AllHipHop.com: Your name, R.E.U.B. is an acronym. What does it stand for? R.E.U.B: Well my name is Ruebin. You know when you first start [rapping], you just rap to be cool. But most of the people would just call me "Rueb" anyway. Then they would sometimes be like; "Big Reub" I'm not really into the whole "Big" or "Lil" thing as names. I'm not knocking anybody who got it, but I just don't like that. Then one of mans did a flyer for one of the shows and he put my name as an acronym; "R.U.E.B." We didn't have a meaning for it. So at the time I was doing everything like handling the money, and getting the business license. My boy was like; "damn Reub, you're like Puffy and DJ Premier." Because at that time, I was making those Premier-style of beats. So I just came up with "Real Entrepreneur in the Underground Business of Hip-Hop (R.U.E.B)." That stuck with me, but I try to come up with new ones. But the official one is; "Real Entrepreneur in Underground Business." AllHipHop.com: I've heard a few artists say that if they sound too smart, then people won't want to listen to their music. Do you think that's true? R.E.U.B: I think that's true for certain people. But honestly, I don't think I've ever been hated on for my music. The way I [rap], it's just always been me. I don't think people hate on my music, but the only thing that bothers me now; is that I'm too accessible. Like now I'm getting calls I don't want. But as far as being too intelligent, I think its more of; "do you make music that's catchy?" Don't be an old-head, rapping to young people. Young people don't want hear about what was out when I was a little kid; they want to hear what's hot now. You can sell them stuff by DJ Premier, and they don't listen to DJ Premier. We all fell in love with Premier because he was hot, and he was the sh*t back then. They want to hear who's hot now, like Cool and Dre, or whatever. So you just have to find a way to mix yourself into the scheme of that. AllHipHop.com: What's one of the things that troubles you about modern day Hip-Hop? R.E.U.B: Just the fact that people don't take responsibility in what the kids hear. Also, the way things are portrayed; I think its completely unbalanced. Music effects people in different ways. You can watch a movie, and you know its fake; because you're watching someone act differently six different ways. As for Hip-Hop, you don't know if the people are fake or not. Because people keep the same persona. Like Jay-Z, he's been a hustler his whole career. Now he can't go from hustler to conscious rapper, he can only be Jay-Z. But I'm sure he [was] a hustler, because if he wasn't; people in Brooklyn would've been called him out. In that right, I just think we have to be more responsible. There's no way in every song an artist can talk about how he's the biggest dude, the ladies man, or whatever. You need to be more balanced. AllHipHop.com: What do you want people to take away from your music? R.E.U.B: Well I take time with my music; I'm not one of those that writes a song in the car on the way to the studio. I take a lot of time professionally. I grew up listening to Bob Marley for instance, and that's classic music. Even youngin's now listen to that, and they love it. That's just timeless music. I don't want to make music that's good right now; and in a couple of months, no one ever wants to hear it again. I don't want to just talk about the newest fads, or the newest pairs of Jordans. I'm trying to make music bigger than that. You might see me with the newest Jordans on, and something in my ears; [laughs] but music is more than just the sh*t you can buy. AllHipHop.com: Does it bother you when some people try to pigeon hold you into a certain category? R.E.U.B: It used to bother me, but not anymore. Because if people are talking about you, than its a good thing. [laughs] Once they hear my music; and if they want to put me into a category, then fine. I'm not going to fight that, I'm not of those dudes that's mad about everything. I'm not an angry-rapper. Its whatever because I'm still going to do me, so its all good. AllHipHop.com: So what's your creative process like? Do you think up an idea, and go with it? Or just writes whatever comes to mind?R.E.U.B: I do both. I think up until the last few years, I just wrote all the time. Like when I was in school, I'd write rhymes off anything. I'd be in class taking notes, and I'd start writing. Or I'd be writing my rhymes as notes. I used to write constantly, and I got tons and tons of books I haven't used yet. But as a producer, its a blessing because I have a lot of stuff to listen to. I can arrange, and change things how I want. But I try to think of an idea for the songs first. The good thing is, I produce my own joints. So its not like I'm the studio, with beats already handed to me. I get to make my own music, and scrutinize it. AllHipHop.com: How did you start doing beats?R.E.U.B: I started doing beats in college. There were a lot of people that could rhyme better than me, but nobody had beats. Everyone was using industry joints. So I was like; "let me start doing beats." Then I made beats for a couple crews out there, and I became known as the on-campus producer. So from then on, I just started doing my own the beats. AllHipHop.com: Are there any other current projects you're working on? R.E.U.B: I don't have out too many mixtapes, which is good. But the album is "The Black Rapper Show", so we're wrapping that up, and putting some touches on it. We're trying to bring some stuff to college radio. We're just trying to jump it off for real, I don't have any little money goals. I feel like I'm a grown man in this. R.E.U.B.'s Myspace Page is myspace.com/reubmuzik1