Back For A Second Chance Renny Tha Rebel Talks New Music and More.

Back For A Second Chance Renny Tha Rebel 

It may seem difficult to find success as an artist, but discovering yourself and embracing your unique characteristics will give your brand the boost it needs. Using multiple streams of exposure, Renny ThaRebel has leveraged her platforms to take her career to the next level. Her dedication, her use of social media, and her support team have always been her home base for keeping her career leveled and music relevant in the indie music industry. During this conversation, we discussed how she discovered herself, found her sound, and created her own lane to dominate.

Hey Renny, thank you for doing this interview with me. How are you doing today? 

Hey Amirah, I'm doing fine today. I really can't complain; I love what I do. I consider it to be everyday work.

I noticed you are another artist who reps Camden a lot in your music. It's great that you are serious about building your brand and promoting yourself. What part are you from?

I'm from East Camden. Shoutout to the East.

Okay, that's what's up. How has being from East Camden influenced your music and who you are as an artist?

I can honestly say. It has inspired me a lot. Growing up in Camden, I've seen a lot. I've lost friends I grew up with on the streets. Some of them end up in jail or pass, so experiencing that influenced me to change. I realized that my outcome had to be different. It motivated me to inspire others to succeed by letting them know that they can make it out of the projects. I want people to know that making it out of the projects is possible without them forgetting that it's easy to stay stuck there.

What you just said resonates with me mainly because I am too from Camden. Most of us from here have a sense of urgency to grow beyond our struggles and put our city on in the process. What was it like to be raised from the projects and want to positively impact your community?

At first, I started off playing basketball. A lot of my friends knew me to be a basketball player. Eventually, I started rapping and playing ball. When I turned 11, I started playing rap, but it wasn't until high school that I decided to take my music more seriously. While I was in high school, my friend JB and I would listen to JayZ's Blueprint album. There was a song called Renegade; that's where I got my name Renny from. Renny is short for renegade, a word that describes a rebel. So, I came up with Renny ThaRebel. I consider myself a renegade because I go against everything that has a set of rules. I love going the opposite way. It's fun going my own way.

I love it when an artist takes the time to thoroughly plan out the meaning of their stage name. It gives the artist the characteristic background we need to discover more about who you are and how we can relate to you. Go so hard to push your name, and your brand allows fans to give more support. How did you discover your passion for music, and when did you decide to make it a career?

I started making raps with my cousins while rehearsing our drills for a drill team we were on. I used to make my own rhymes and started dancing. When I got to liking it, my cousins stopped, but I kept doing it. When my father passed away at 10, I had no outlet to deal with his passing. A teacher of mine encouraged me to write. The first rap I had ever written was about my father. I kept writing to the point where I was filling composition notebooks with my raps. My cousins, who once overlooked my talent, began paying more attention to my skill. By the time I was in middle school, people had started calling me by my first stage name. Back then, I was A-Money. By age 16, I was in the tenth grade. I changed my stage name to Renny and began discovering my sexuality during that time. It was a coming-of-age experience for me. I recognized that I wasn't as girly as other females because I loved wearing jerseys and things of that nature. Once I became more comfortable with myself and discovered who I truly felt I was, I embodied the name Renny.

What was the transition like from taking your musical talent and turning it into a career for yourself? It's not easy going through those changes of finding yourself. I appreciate you sharing that with me. 

It started with me finding my sound. I had to realize that I couldn't rap like other female rappers. I felt that way mainly because I was not as girly as they were. After going through self-discovery, it became easier for me to feel confident in what I was rapping about. Having freedom as an artist means that you know your lane and find yourself expressing yourself through your music. The next task was for me to find the right beats for my work. Initially, I was recording myself over free industry beats. During my first mixtape stages, I would discover beats that sounded like songs from artists of my liking. The quality and sound of my music began to improve when I started working with producers and local engineers. I wanted to transition from using industry beats to making a solid record.

I appreciate that you talked about the hustle of networking and finding professionals who can give you a high-quality sound behind your music. Many artists I've encountered tell me that they're good at rapping, but they also make their beats. When I listen to their music, the quality of the words is out wade by the low quality of their beats. And I know some artists must have humble beginnings, but it really takes a lot of investing in yourself to produce music to grab the attention of your fans. Cutting corners with your craft hurts your career more than it helps. It's good that you understood that early on so that you can focus more time on perfecting your skills as an artist. 

You released your Hood Dreams EP in 2020, and in my own opinion was a phenomenal body of work. I say it's outstanding because you really went out of your way to find a different sound from what was being produced by other NJ Indies during that time. You have a song called Stay Down featuring Mir Fontane on the project. I have repeatedly said that he is one of my favorite Camden rappers. What was it like collaborating with such an artist, and how did the creative process come about for you?

First, let me just say this on the record by saying that I was in tears during that session. His passion when recording is simply excellent. I was in the middle of a studio session with Don Michael Jr., finishing up the hook, when Mir walked in and asked to listen to what I had recorded so far. He instantly started to vibe with it and whipped out his phone to begin writing. Immediately after typing his words on his phone, he jumped into the booth and began singing. Don and I were blown away. The sound was truly angelic, and I was proud to have picked him to be on the song. When collaborating with artists, you may have a person in mind for the track, but they may not necessarily bring the piece to life as you anticipated. But I knew I had made the right choice with him because I knew his words would be relatable to my fans and people from Camden. I appreciated that he could tap into his pain, allowing himself to be completely vulnerable. He went the extra mile to pull my fans into his world. As an artist, it's essential to have the ability to paint your vision to your fans. Otherwise, they will create the wrong narrative behind your work.

I can recall our first encounter two years ago at Clubhouse. It was a new app then, and I remember always seeing you host rooms where your headline would be something about Camden artists. I would always stop by and listen, and eventually, you would bring me onstage to engage in conversation. I appreciated that because it helped me to be more vocal about my passion for music and establish networking skills from home. Once it was time to hit the real world and go to events where I had to be face to face with people, I was more comfortable expressing myself while networking. With being on Clubhouse and utilizing it to help build your other platforms, how has it allowed your music career to flourish? 

It's the reason why I am talking to you right now. Starting off on Clubhouse helped me kickstart my podcast and my brand to the point where I could network with individuals and tell them what it was that I was doing. It enabled me by placing me in rooms with individuals I probably wouldn't have a chance to talk to if I had to fly out to their office. It gave me easy access to people who had the knowledge to help my career. While on Clubhouse, I was able to get Instagram audits from professionals who told me what I needed to improve with my social media activity. I would sit in rooms and pitch my music to industry moguls and grab the jewels they gave me. Once I had gained 10K followers on Instagram, everything began to change for me. I started receiving more support and had more engagement than ever before. I began to boost my brand by producing high-quality content. A lot of the information I got on Clubhouse was free game and was more valuable to me than any brand deal because a lot of the guidance I received saved me a ton of money.

Let's go back to your Hood Dreams EP. You featured Mir Pesos on your track Get the Bag. I really love the switch inflows on this piece. During my interview with Pes, I told him that he was like the cowboy of Camden, guaranteeing to turn the party up. From what he told me, he's like a Tasmanian Devil in the studio. What was your experience working with him on this track?

Well, I can honestly say that he is so entertaining and dope. One night after leaving a session, I went to another session where Fre$ko and Mir were already there recording. As soon as I got there, he asked me to put the beat on. I turned the beat on, and he started turning up and dancing all around the studio. By the time I started recording my verse and finished, he was already done writing his verse down and ready to record. I remember him instantly killing the track once he started recording. Everyone present in the studio was amazed at the punchlines he was spitting. Mir is an artist in his own element who knows the lane he works best in. He gave his 100 percent on that piece.

I've never experienced seeing him in the studio, but I can visualize it based on the stories I have gathered from you all. Are you currently working on any new music for the summer?

I am working on a Jersey club version of my song Count It Up. I will be collaborating with RoBB on this track. He has the Ain't No Way challenge blowing up on Tik Tok, so it's only right that he produced this joint. I am also preparing for the Count It Up video, and my fans can anticipate the release of Hood Dreams 2.

Wow, you are going to have such a busy and productive year! 

Everything is happening so fast. When people say that things can happen overnight, they can if you work hard.

What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?

I had premiered Count It Up in a room full of accredited writers and music moguls such as Derek Milano while on Clubhouse. They complimented my music and told me that my work could really go far. That moment gave me the validation I needed to keep going. I felt like I had finally made it. From then on out, I stayed dedicated entirely to my career. I missed a lot of sleep and canceled many plans with my friends to boost my brand even further. There were times when I wanted to pop bottles with my friends, but I had to invest in my career instead.

I respect the fact that you made investing in your career a priority. Artists will never get their music off the front porch if they do not invest in themselves. What is some additional advice you can give some of the NJ indies who read our blog for gems for artists like yourself?

Find yourself and find your sound. Then find your lane. I'm not the artist I am because I tried to be like Da Brat or Missy Eliot. I have to be Renny. As an artist, you got to own your brand, your name, and your lane. You have to believe that your dreams will happen if you stay patient and consistent. I started doing this when I was 16; now, I'm in my 30s. I'm still in the projects, but I keep going. Use as many free resources as possible and tools that you can. People will take you seriously if they see you working hard and putting in the effort. The artists you know who are making it are putting in the work. Study what they are doing and apply the method for your own career. You must have a supportive team as well. There will be times when you feel like quitting, but a good team will make sure they support you 100 percent. When your team sees you putting in the effort, they will help you.

This summer, keep an eye out for Renny's upcoming projects. This is an incredibly inspiring journey that will encourage other artists to keep going even when support from others seems thin. In her music, she tells the story of staying in touch with your roots yet reaching high enough to be known all over the world.

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