The most ambitious artists are always trying to outdo their last project, constantly self-analyzing while attempting to get their message across to a mass audience. That’s why Ra.be (pronounced “Robby”) feels he must be fearless.
“I have an energy of ‘yes,’” he says. “I go into a project being 110 percent positive.”
Good thing, too, because Ra.be is the mastermind behind the Tap the Flow 24 project, a music and visual project with a tight deadline and a big heart.
Ra.be’s idea for Tap the Flow 24 was to collaborate with other artists, musicians and videographers to write and record new songs—with accompanying videos—within a 24-hour time period for each. The songs are then uploaded online where fans can donate money to download them. The proceeds are donated to generosity.org, a nonprofit that helps provide clean drinking water to people around the world. Recently, Tap the Flow 24 released a compilation of all eight videos in honor of World Water Day.
The inspiration for the project came to the freestyle hip-hop artist after moving to Santa Cruz four years ago. A year later, he brought it back with a new twist.
“I thought it would be a really amazing idea if we could take these talents that we were blessed with and turn them into a form of service with something we all believe in, which is clean water for everyone,” he says.
The project blossomed with its first video, “Thundering Heart” by Tryllium, featuring Marya Stark. The crew spent 12 hours on the concept, writing and recording of the song. After a 90-minute break, they scouted locations around San Luis Obispo and shot the final project. Since then, the collaborative artists have refined their process, cutting it down to a few hours.
“We wrote, recorded and shot ‘Conduit’ in 10 hours at Indigital Studios,” says Ra.be. “It was produced by LowGritt [Santa Cruz’s Logan Gritt]. He’s produced a number of tracks and albums for me, and is a wonderful artist on his own.”
From the tainted taps of Flint, Michigan and Kentucky to the year-long Standing Rocking protest of the North Dakota Access Pipeline, clean water has been a major issue dominating the news. According to a 2013 United Nations study, 780 million people around the world do not have access to clean water, and 85 percent of the world’s population live in the driest parts of the planet. When the Standing Rock protest began, Tap the Flow 24 was already off and running, but Ra.be knew he had to show solidarity.
“I ended up doing a take on Wu-Tang’s ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ called ‘Water Rules Everything Around Me,’” he says with a laugh.
Last month, Tap the Flow 24 dropped the final song for the album—featuring Cello Joe, Ra.be, Kat Baxter, and Galactic Vibes—bringing the 21-month project to culmination. As he performs some of the songs at shows around town, he hopes awareness of the project will continue to grow. Anyone interested in the Tap the Flow 24 project can go to rabemusic.bandcamp.com for the music, or give.generosity.org/taptheflow24 to donate to the project.
“Everyone has so graciously offered their time and talent thus far,” says Ra.be. “The intent is to create a bigger impact by inspiring more people to donate for more wells.”