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[ sept. 28, 2003 | manheim, pa ]


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John Reuben, who usually names himself as the only rapper on the punk rock show, finally landed a tour with other urban musicians. We caught up with him during the On Tour Now tour with Mars Ill and Paul Wright. We sat on bench seats taken out of a church van that were sitting in a storage room to ask him some questions about his next disc:

cMW: So you have a new album coming out on December 2, 2003. What is the title?
John Reuben: It's called Professional Rapper.

cMW: How many cuts?
JR: It will be 12 cuts.

cMW: What songs are you singing tonight?
JR: The new single "Move" and a song called "Life is Short."

cMW: Is there a theme or a reason why you have that title?
JR: I guess going along with the whole thing of just not taking myself too seriously. It is so out of the norm. I always thought it was funny when people would ask, "So what do you do now? What do you do for a living? Did you go to college?" And I answer, "No, I am a Professional Rapper actually." So it is the gist of it.

cMW: On the last CD, Hindsight, you mentioned that you had writers block. How was the writing process for this CD?
JR: I think it is the same thing. I think anything from here on out you have really got to sit down sometimes and focus on writing. I mean you do your first album, you have all the time in the world to write. I had years and years of stored up material and then the second album was like, "Oh. I gotta hurry up. I've got an album due. It's that fine line of waiting until you are inspired but also kind of hurrying the inspiration process up by practicing a lot and challenging yourself.

cMW: Is there anything new musically?
JR: I think in the same way that Hindsight differed from Are We There Yet?, this album definitely brings a whole different feel to the table which is really good I think. All around the board for those who have heard it has been really well received.

cMW: In what way? What is different?
JR: It's hard to explain. I think is the growing process. A lot of more interesting music, I think. I tried a lot of different things. But I feel like I have done that with every record. This one is just kind of an update of where I am at. A lot of unique sounds. And I believe that the guys I worked with on this album really bring a lot to the table. I produced this one by myself so it has a different edge.

cMW: What made your decision to produce it yourself?
JR: I wanted to stay home.
cMW: Good reason!
JR: I just felt like it was time to do it. I have had a great working relationship with Todd Collins. He is really good at what he does and I have learned so much from him. So I think it is time to put some of that into action. To really take the reigns on the project.

cMW: A lot of people may tend to think you are not very serious. But when I saw you this past August, at the end of the set you really shared what is on your heart. Do you often get a chance to do that, or do people mostly see your funny side?
JR: I think sometimes depending on whether or not I feel like it is what I am supposed to do or not. I think it varies for me. With some people the humor outweighs the serious stuff. Each of my albums has what you would call a split personality. Some of it is extremely intense and some of it is more light-hearted and humorous. But I think that is me. Sometimes you just sit down and pour out your soul in a song and hope that it relates to someone.

cMW: So when you are out on stage, or during the day of a show and you are getting ready to go out on stage, what are you thinking? What do you hope the audience will get out of it when you are done?
JR: I hope that people come and feel encouraged and have felt a part of it and not just a show. Every little bit we do is playing our part in the kingdom of God, on a lot of different levels and degrees. Not just what I am saying vocally from the stage. It is also in how we relate. And hopefully that the event as a whole will be an encouragement to people.

cMW: When will we hear the first single?
JR: The video is done. Probably in a couple of weeks. The song is called "Move."
cMW: Can you tell us a little about that song?
JR: Just a party rockin' song. That's about it. I wrote it with the crowd in mind. Just having a good time with people.

cMW: Is there anything else that you want to share to get our readers to go out and purchase the album the day it comes out?
JR (after admitting that he hates promoting): If you don't want to buy the record, then don't buy the record. I honestly feel we put a lot of time and energy into this record and I feel like it will relate to a lot of people and that a lot of people can get a lot out of the record.
- Kim Flanders
October 2003
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