Reuben James Garcia, better known as Reuben James, is a young rapper, songwriter and poet originally from the Philippines but based in Dublin. Hot off the release of the first single from his upcoming EP ‘The Art of RJay’, I caught up with Reuben to talk about the music that inspires him. Not just a talented rapper, Reuben James is also an extremely wise and deep thinker with a dedication to his craft to rival that of any majorly successful artist. Our chat was interesting to say the least, here’s how it went.
Which artist/band has influenced your music the most?
“I grew up meditating my ears around Hip Hop music. I spent a lot of time focusing on studying and analysing the lyrics as I would listen to a song. I tried to squeeze out every little piece of small detail, skill, or technique that the artist would use and I would try to apply it on my own writing.
That’s why I believe that I’m mostly inspired by old school hip hop, because back then the lyrics that they wrote came straight from the heart. Tupac, a Tribe Called Quest, the Fugees, Big L, Jay-Z, Biggie Smalls, and Eminem & Nas made up a large part of that inspiration. Hip Hop artists are said to be modern day Shakespeares because they write like poets and if you actually read Hip Hop lyrics you will see that it is a very detailed and complicated art form. Everyone I ever listened to influenced my music really, from The Eagles to Kendrick.”
What is your favourite album ever?
“Hmmm actually I probably have numerous albums that would make it on the favourites list. Right now I can think of albums such as ‘Marshall Mathers LP’ by Eminem, ‘Collision Course’ by Jay-Z & Linkin Park, ‘Good Kid, Maad City’ by Kendrick Lamar, ‘The Documentary’ by The Game, ‘The College Dropout’ by Kanye West but one my personal favourite is ‘Illmatic’ by Nas! It has been considered to be the bible of Hip Hop. I enjoy listening to this album especially before I go up on stage because it awakens the boldness of my spirit and inspires me to perform at my greatest form. I wrote a song that was influenced by this album, I named it ‘If I Ruled the World’ and you can listen to it on YouTube here:
Listening to these albums probably shaped me myself, my writing, my thinking and basically the type of person I am today, and I really love it. I feel like I’m on the road to greatness. Nobody in the whole world can stop me. I feel limitless, I feel like an infinite free soul swirling around the earth just for a short moment in time painting my life with the colours I like, and that’s my definition of boldness. I’ve got to thank God for educating me through music, and I also like to thank Hip Hop for freeing my mind.”
If you could play any venue in the world, which would it be and why?
“I can’t think of one but I always pictured myself performing in front of thousands of energized people in a crowd and seeing each one of them determined to sing every lyric of my songs. If you asked why I’d love the idea of performing in front of thousands of people it’s because I would have the opportunity to inspire them in a way that when they go home they could say “I could be like him on that stage, I could make it like he made it”. I want to inspire fire in the hearts of my listeners. I want my music to move humanity. I want to educate my listeners with my music. I want to tattoo courage in the minds of my listeners. Always ask questions, always question everything you have been told by anyone you meet no matter who they are or what profession they might have. People tell you things like you can’t do something because they can’t to do it themselves, but always remember that this emotion of fear belongs to them and it is not yours! There is a story about a Buddha, one day there was a man who marched angrily towards the Buddha and started to shout that “nothing you say is ever true”, but the Buddha just smiled and didn’t reply. The man kept shouting and shouting but the Buddha just kept smiling as he was looking at the man not saying a word. The man eventually got tired and walked off furiously.
One of the Buddha’s disciples asked Buddha “Why didn’t you reply to him, he was shouting at you, it was embarrasing?” and Buddha replied “Because if someone offers you a gift and you don’t accept it who does the gift still belong to?”
This is the same thing, if someone tells you anything, whether good or bad, you have the power to choose whether to accept it or not. It is your decision.”
If you could collaborate with any artist/band, dead or alive, who would it be?
“Bob Marley & Tupac because I loved the things they talked about, life.”
Who is your favourite Irish artist at the moment?
“Right now I favour Alex Quinlan, Shane Hennessy, ProFound, LCG, Remsii, Owam and Jordan Wilson! If you say there are no good rappers in Ireland, each one of these guys would prove you wrong, mark my words!”
What are your goals for your music in 2015?
“Of course I’m going to keep it moving. Alot of people have been wondering when I’m going to release the EP, and the good news is that it will be released this summer and ya’ll can follow my journey at ‘The Art of R Jay’ on Facebook, all my information is there.”
You can download Reuben James’ brand new single ‘New Day’ feat. Shane Hennessy on iTunes. https://itunes.apple.com/album/id990455489