Artists who are able to write, record, produce, mix and master entire projects by themselves are in the minority. Skrip is in that minority. On Dec. 11, he released a self-produced, seven-track, featureless EP titled Show and Tell. And the music on the project is just as diverse as his artistic skill set.
In an interview with Rapzilla, Skrip said what he wanted to show and/or tell with each song.
For track No. 1 and the lead single of the EP, “Castles in the Sky,” Skrip displayed his rugged side on the verses and eclectic side on the hook. His singing voice on the hook, though, is drastically different than it is on the next song, “Better Part of Me,” which listeners should come to expect.
“I like to suit my voice to the music,” Skrip said. “I kind of get bored personally when I hear people who sound the same on every song. … What I do is work with the music. If the music makes me change the way that I sound, then that’s what I’m going to do. If I need to sound like an old black man, I’m going to sound like an old black man. If I need to sound like I have an accent and I’m from another country, I’m going to sound like that because it just makes it better.”
As Skrip broke down “Better Part of Me,” a song about his wife, he broke into a story about when he had gotten into an argument with an ex-girlfriend. They went to different high schools, and so when Skrip tried to go on her campus, security stopped and searched him. Rather than a weapon, an officer found photo booth pictures of Skrip and his girlfriend.
“Security pulled it out and said, ‘It’s okay guys. He’s not a fighter. He’s definitely a lover,’” laughed Skrip, who then explained the point of the anecdote. “This song definitely displays the lover aspect of me, the Latin lover. I’m just kidding.”
Track No. 3, “Trendsetter,” is a harder song like “Castles in the Sky.” And Skrip’s initial aggression makes it seem like he’s calling himself a trendsetter, but the track actually consists of him bragging on God.
Track No. 4 serves as a throwback to pre-Renegades Never Die Skrip. In 2011 and 2013, he released free projects titled The Und_rscore and The Und_rscore II. They have more of a classic hip hop-sound than Renegades Never Die, which had more dance music, and Skrip returns to his roots on the punchline-heavy “Underscore 3.”
Next on Show and Tell is perhaps the deepest song on the project, “Tired of Dreaming.”
“More than displaying a type of skill set … I really just wanted to speak a message in that one,” Skrip, the pastor of World Renegade Church in Chicago, said. “The message was two-fold: don’t just dream about something, do it. Or, number two, you may be dreaming about something that’s not God’s will for your life, so you should stop doing that. …
“I pray that it would minister to people because I see a lot of guys that want to rap and they want to be the next big thing, even in Christian music. And at the end of the day, I have this line I think in verse three that says, ‘What if you’re answering the phone, but you were never called?’ That basically means, you’re running after something you weren’t called to do just because you wanted to do it.”
Skrip transitions from this heavy message to the lighthearted “On and On,” which is another love song — this time about a crush and with a salute to 1980s production.
“This is a fun song,” he said. “There’s no way to be mad while listening to it at all, even if they’re rugged and really ain’t trying to hear it. They’ll hate it at first, and I bet you any money if they keep hearing it, they’ll love it. They’ll hear it in the shower.”
The EP ends with another fun song, “Break It Down.” Skrip brings his fastest flow of the project alongside some electric guitar on a track which the long-time break dancer could perform to.
The versatility Skrip showed on Show and Tell partially stems from his family and early introduction to making music.
“I could probably imagine it comes from growing up and being in a home where there were just different styles of music played,” he said. “My dad would be playing procession at the church … Then my mother would pretty much be the poet of the family. Still to this day, she texts me in rhyme. … That’s more of the lyrical side. Musically, it was just an appreciation for music in general. As a kid, I learned how to play piano by ear. Anything I heard, I would just want to play it, so I really had no preference of music.”
Then when Skrip started to make his own music, his interest in many styles grew further.
“I started sampling records when I was around 12,” he said, “so I would always hear different styles of music as I was sampling them, and I ended up just loving the songs as well. There was a song from the 1950s or the 1970s or the 1980s, and I was like, ‘Wow, this style of music and the way this sounds makes me feel a certain way.’ I just always saw that in order to reach a lot of people, you’re going to have to touch different styles of music.”
Buy Show and Tell on iTunes.
Photos by Philip Rood
READ MORE: Skrip: A renegade of the world and hip hop