Sit Down with Local Hip-Hop Artist Wilson Raps
Did you know there are local rap artists in the MOV? Our friend, Wilson Raps, performed a show in Marietta recently. He sat down with Michelle to talk about his craft, his goals for the year, and jumping out of a plane.
Garrett Wilson (aka Wilson Raps) has been rapping in the MOV for years.
“It started off”…Wilson shared, “I liked playing in bands whenever I was growing up. I was in a worship band there for a while and I played in a pop-punk band before that. I played bass and guitar in a lot of different projects…I remember I was sitting in my 8th grade math class…and I sat behind this girl that just moved here and her boyfriend was a rapper, and I was kind of into her, and she told me that I couldn’t be a rapper, so I started rapping and now I’m way better than her boyfriend. So yeah, that was kind of my motivation to begin with, and whenever anyone would talk about rap, or talk about party rapping, ‘rap sucks’ they’d classify all the sub-genres of rap together and they’d just say the entire genre sucks. I’m not with that. I just wanted to do everything and show people that rap is huge, you can do anything with it. And that’s where I am now.
I started off, I wrote an entire screenplay for a project I did back in 2012 and I didn’t have a fan base, so nobody really paid attention to it or cared about it and I didn’t have any promotion or marketing skills, so I was just releasing random stuff on the internet that anybody could take at any time. I wanna have a plan, so I stopped rapping for a few years and kind of got my stuff together, started studying the genre more, studying cadences and flow switches. I just wanna do everything with rap.
I have like a punk-rap song coming up. It’s weird. I also wanna make acoustic rap stuff. Do you know who Post Malone is? He did a whole project, that’s just like folk-rap. It’s cool. It’s really different and weird. I wanna do weird stuff like that. He sampled an Alanis Morrisette song, and his song is ‘Hollywood Dreams/Come Down.’ He’s pretty good, he inspired me to do different stuff with my music and then, I’m in talks with (We Are) Funhouse about doing a live tour with them with all live instruments and stuff. I’m trying to get that back and revive some type of scene in Marietta whether it be rap or what. I wanna do something extremely different so people will be like, wait, a rapper with a band? Holy shit I need to see this. I just wanna switch it up, just do some different shit.”
Michelle (M): You’re talking about studying the different techniques and the different genres and how there’s so much more to it, and a lot of people have been writing it off.
Wilson Raps (WR): Yeah, a lot of people say that, they say “yeah anyone can do that.” Yeah, you’re right, anyone can do it…..
WR: People say that anyone can rap and it’s like the easiest thing in the world, but in order to have an influence with what you say and so you can have an interesting rhythm and you just don’t sound like a monotone fuck the entire time you gotta do something different. I recently started singing a lot more, I try to switch my melodies with my flows. There’s a lot to rapping on the rhythmic portion of music because your voice is kind of like the instrument where as the instrumental is the drums….It’s a lot you have to put together, with branding and marketing, and the internet you have to put it all together in order to be a successful artist now.
M: You said you used to be in a worship band, do you find swearing in your music now a release? Is that something that youfeel is really an important part of your…?
WR: Honestly? Kind of, because the reason I got kicked out of the worship band was because I was wild n’out on social media, using cuss words and stuff and not really living a good Christian lifestyle, so they gave me warning and said ‘you need to cut your shit’ and so I cut my shit for a while but that’s not worth it. If I can be myself, I don’t want to fake anything. I hate when people fake stuff.
Wilson remembers when local rap was bigger, when he was in high school. Local artist Oakley Black played at the Adelphia (Music Hall) a few years back, but a local rap artist hasn’t played there (the Adelphia) since, as far as Mr. Wilson can recall.
M: When talking about your music in Marietta, obviously you can listen to rap on the radio…
WR: There’s nothing going on in Marietta with hip-hop (though he did mention there’s another rapper in Ravenswood that he likes, and tends to include in the Marietta music scene).
**When I suggested the rap and hip-hop scene in Athens, Mr. Wilson got a bit dreamy-eyed, and said he’d like to go to a house show in Athens. I don’t blame him. They’re awesome.
We got lost for a moment in thinking about doing all the things we want to do in life, and I mentioned my dream to go into a wind tunnel money machine, while Wilson shared wanting to jump out of a plane. As far as he knows, none of his friends want to jump out of the plane with him. I want to prove that wrong, though it won’t be me that joins him.
WR: If I die, I wanna die with somebody I love so it can be a tragedy. I can at least be happy whenever I die.
**This naturally led to a conversation about our fears.
M: I try and do something at least once a week that terrifies me or really makes me uncomfortable.
WR: I held a snake and that cured my fear of snakes… I used to be super afraid of them and then I held a domesticated snake and I was like, okay, this is cool. And then I found them in the wild and I grab them by the tail and stuff. Okay yes, guess I’m not afraid of snakes anymore. Spiders. NO. I see a spider and I freak out. There was a spider in my shower the other day and I literally got out of the shower. My hair was wet and everything and I’m like nah, I can wait until he leaves.
M: Is there anything else that you wish people knew about your music or does anything come to mind if I said, “if someone saw your show what would you hope they would say about it if they are seeing it for the first time?”
WR: Well I would hope that they would say that I can rap well. That I have high energy. [sickness rambling] I think that what I want people to know about my music is I’m gonna start playing guitar on my tracks more. I play a bunch of different instruments and I just wanna start recording live instrumentation on my stuff so that whenever it can be in a band setting. I can just put on a guitar and do the guitar part while rapping. People don’t really do that. So I just wanna change it up. I know that Lil Wayne kind of did that a long time ago and Wiz Khalifa went on tour with Fall Out Boy and they had a full band set but people don’t really do that anymore, just starting up. They wait until they are big and then they find a band. I just wanna start doing some live instrumentation and showing everybody what I can actually do. Picking up a guitar in the middle of a set and doing a guitar solo, putting the guitar down and rapping more. I love playing music with a band, I miss it so much. I think about it everyday. So I can’t wait to get, whether it be Funhouse or another group of musicians..I hope it’s Funhouse. I just really wanna play live music again. There is a difference between just having like a track behind you and a band. I can have such good energy with a band playing behind me.
M: You can’t really interact with a computer the same way. You can build off of each other.
WR: Yeah, I just feel like my chemistry with all of those guys is already great so hopefully whenever this comes about it will be awesome. Let’s hope.
**I’d first heard about Wilson Raps through the We Are Funhouse CD release party. Let’s hope we do in fact see them perform together, as part of the same band, soon.
WR: …They’re coming out with like a documentary video, they sent me the first episode of it today, it’s really good. I was looking at some of that stuff and I didn’t even know Breyer (White). In 2013 I knew about him, but we weren’t friends. We didn’t talk, so just looking back and seeing all this stuff and I’m like “aw, Breyer’s always been the same?” He’s a good guy, I love him.
… Breyer produced the entirety of my next project, single-handedly, so he just sent me a bunch of beats. Our chemistry goes really well together, so it’s like, “I don’t want to work with anybody else. Just send me all your instrumentals and I’ll come over. We can record this and it can just be a me and you thing. No outside input, we can just be making our own sounds.”
**Besides a possible summer tour and jumping out of airplanes, what else does Wilson Raps hope to accomplish this year?
WR: I plan on doing a movie. I wrote a screenplay a long time ago and it never really came to anything because I didn’t really know any videographers or directors or anyone that could edit my film. But I’m finally doing some stuff and I’m gonna release a 15-30 minute video, right before I go on tour. Trying to plan it in May.
**It’s all about doing stuff you love.
WR: …Exactly. I just try to live every day like it’s my last one… I had a friend about a month ago that took his life and that just made me really make an influence on my life to make every day like it’s my last. Cause even though that was a self thing, I just, I don’t know if it’s gonna be my last day. So I just try to be as positive as I can and do as much of my stuff as I can. Influence as many people as I can.
Wilson Raps likes to spread messages of positivity in his music, through a variety of different musical skills. Be sure to check out his latest music, here. And who knows? Maybe we’ll see him play locally again, soon.