Palm Beach native Reuben Stratum is a rapper, singer, songwriter and producer whose so far excellent discography helps him stand out from the crowd. In this interview, we discussed the beginnings of his sound, where he aims to go next, and his general plans for the future.
1. Your most recent song, Either Way, is a crazy piece of music, the guitar and synth gives it a massive sound and serves as a perfect backdrop for your excellent singing. Will this track appear on an upcoming project?
I would want to put it on the next project, for sure. The only thing about the song is that I would like to show it to GrindMode’s agency before making any serious endeavors on the song without their permission on the sample. It started off as just as fun song I was making in my room but I do feel it has potential to be more. I would love to move forward with the song with their blessing, Given they are pioneers from the same state as me. So if I can reach out and they can give me a green light, its on there.
2. Your voice is really, really good. Do you prefer singing over rapping overall?
I appreciate it man. I Guess I’d say I do. I started off rapping and would consider myself stable at creating consistent bars. I still wouldn’t consider myself a singer but there’s a bit of a pleasant challenge when making melodic driven songs. It’s the type of process that keeps me on my toes creatively, plus people like how it sounds. So all in all, I just enjoy challenging myself a little whether that be bars or vocals.
3. Your Salt of the Earth album, which dropped this year, is a very consistent piece of r&b-hop that displays the best of your dual vocal talents. Can you tell me anything about how that project came together?
I can say that the process for making it was a long gruelling process only because I wanted it to sound a specific way for longevity sake. There were names that were supposed to be on it that dropped off, names I picked up last minute, all because I had a general feel on each song that I was going for. some of the beats, like ‘Uninvolved’ featuring Cloud Strife, I had since my previous project Florida Nights. I took my time on each song just so that When i listen to it in 10 years I can say yeah. That’s it.
4. Your primarily produce your own music, did you start off as a vocalist and eventually learn the ways of production or was it the other way around?
longest story short, I did start off vocally. I’ve always been rapping since I was 9. I would get Adult swim bumps on my earlier projects and rap on those. I started off mixing on Audacity (like I’m sure most people who make music do). Ironically though, I learned a lot about playing piano and melody construction through attending a small Church at a young age and being around skilled musicians who were excited to hear what a young kid put together on the piano for the week. After spending time with those adult swim bumps and mastering my navigation on the keys, I just figured it was about time for me to make my own beats for those lyrics I’ve always had.
5. You have collabs with Herme$ and HeartbreakJP, who hail from Palm Beach like yourself. What other artists from your area have you worked with?
I have worked with great artists and producers like MilliOnDaBeat from the YMP camp, LoEyeQ and Beats & Tactics (Binnato) both who are highschool friends of mine, we go way back. Rari Ocean, I actually have a feature coming up with Aegis young. JohnKa$h is at my house every week lowkey lol. I have a feature with SolomonDaGod, El caminoBlack, (Or RespectTheVibe as we like to refer to him). Danah, who is a great asset to West Palm beach forreal. She was on my song Playing with fire which she executed in one take. I’ve never seen anything like it before in a vocalist. I love working with the homie Jordan Amadeus. He and I are so different vibe wise but the proof is in the pudding when we work together: the people love it. A lot of my features are close friends, mutual friends or people i grew up with in one way or the other.
6. Who is your dream collaboration? Could be a rapper or producer.
for city’s sake, I would want to work with Eric Bidness someday I’m waiting for him to reply to me actually lol. Ive come to Sylvie Mae & Marlounsly to set up songs before. But I’d love to work with Drake, Frank ocean, Ari Lennox. anybody in TDE. It would be dope if MFDOOM let me put a florida spin on one of his beats. I be thinking about shit like setting up a beat for Erykah Badu and having HeartbreakJP on the feature type shit. Andre 3000. Id even love to show up on a Gunna and Lil baby feature just to say I did it. to me a dream Collab is when a great recognizes the great in another and they make great work.
7. What is your next project going to be, will it feature similar musical styles to your current work or do you have plans to branch out even further?
I’m in the same boat as you on this question amigo. I wake up in the morning, make something cool, if i like it i keep it work on it. if its not sitting well with me, I know i didn’t make it for no reason. It’s maybe unripe or maybe my mood changes by the end of the day. But in the end Im always going to challenge myself to do better than I did last time, or at least keep myself on my toes everytime new work presents itself. But I do plan on making the next project more personal with more diverse features. The goal of each project i make until i die or blow up (whichever comes first) is to bring awareness to the talent that is in palm beach that is often overlooked. From the features to the cover arts to the videos.
8. Do you have any specific ambitions for your musical career?
I’d like to open up a large studio for artists in the palm beaches down the line to be real. Not just musical artists either. There’s a Gold mine of talent out here that isn’t being cultivated because idle hands have no places to go and the environments aren’t fertile. Painters, Graphic designers, directors and Videographers, there’s a whole melting pot of media that could cement if given the proper outlets. So a large YMCA type deal that is easily accessible for the arts would be ideal. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about lately though. I’d like to win a Grammy or two prior to, just because you know. But to be real if I can provide for my family in the future off my craft then I think I’d be okay for life. Just to say I was able to do so. Baby steps.
9. Is there anything you’d like to say to finish off? Shoutouts etc
Hell Yeah if u givin me the chance and they see this shout out Jojo mark & their family, Lexi, Andrea, Prisiclla, Greg & Ronda, my homie Carlos always keepin his head up, my brother Dj, my parents for sure, my Godfamily Herb, Jasmine and Kirby. All the positive influences in my life, all the people that believe in me now and always will. Godbless them all and God bless you chris & 108mics
Listen to Reuben on Soundcloud. Follow him on Twitter at @Reubenstratum.