As some may look at Redveil as just a 16-year-old kid from Prince George's County, Maryland with potential, he is much more than that. Redveil is not a rookie in any sense of the word. He is a four-year vet that has been perfecting his sound year by year.
Whether he is cooped up in his home studio bringing ideas to life or dropping freestyles during quarantine, Redveil is giving the rap game everything he has until there's nothing left. When an idea comes to mind, Redveil wants nothing more than perfection; it shows in his music.
Redveil started to gain major traction after his "SoulFood" music video was retweeted and praised by the hip-hop account Shrek Knows Rap. From there, Redveil's career has skyrocketed and gained an underground cult following. His beautiful wordplay and complex instrumentals are astonishing. It is hard to think that someone so young could have music so well-polished. Oh, and by the way, his debut album Bittersweet Cry is completely self-produced.
Today, we sit down with Redveil to talk about Prince George County, his musical process, metaphors and his upcoming album.
Marty Gross: Could you just give a little bit of background about yourself?
Redveil: "I’m from PG (Prince George) County, Maryland. I’m 16, and I started rapping when I was 12, just putting up little 10-track mixtapes and stuff."
Where would you drop the music on?
"I would drop it on Soundcloud. I would actually say that was the peak of Soundcloud."
How you got the name Redveil?
"The thing about Redveil is that it actually doesn't really mean anything. I was just trying to change my name from what it was before and I wanted to change it to something that had a ring to it. It was either going to be Redveil or Whiteveil, so I chose Redveil."
Where do you make most of your music at?
"I make all my music in my room."
Would you say that helps your creative process by being in an environment that you're used to?
"Definitely, that convenience makes it easier for me to put out ideas when I first have them. I don't have to go to a studio, I can just go to my room."
I feel like if you have an idea, you don't have to go all the way to the studio and then think about it. You can just have an idea and go right into making it.
When making a song, what is your creative process? Does your creative musical process differ from song to song, or is it pretty much the same?
"It depends on the song. Some songs, I'll sit down and I'll make the whole thing in a few days. For example, "SoulFood,” which is my biggest song now, took maybe two or three days. But, that was also because I got the beat from somewhere else, whereas the songs I produced myself, I’ll tweak and I'll craft the beat around what I'm saying. So, sometimes I’ll work on one song for months at a time. It just depends on the song."
I noticed on “SoulFood,” there's a sample from Anderson.Paak track “What More Can I Say?”. I know it's produced by Tom from Mars, but how did you guys get in contact? Were you familiar with the sample?
"I actually didn’t know the Anderson.Paak song existed until after “SoulFood”. So, when it came out, people were saying that I sampled the song. But actually, it was a sample of a song called “What More Can I Say?” by The Notations. So, it was just the same sample that Anderson.Paak used.
Tom from Mars is a really cool dude. He reached out to me via Instagram DM’s. He sent me beats, so I sent him my email and I remember hearing the “SoulFood” beat and I was like, “yes, this is the one.”
Speaking about producing, what would you say you enjoy more - producing or writing?
"That's actually a really hard question. I would say, I can be more direct with my expression via writing, but producing, there are way more forms that I can express myself in. So, I don't know if I can choose really. I don't know."
Do you keep your music lowkey, close to your friends and family, or are you known as the rapper at your high school?
"Not really. All my friends know that I rap, but I wouldn’t say that I'm known as the rapper at my school. The rap that is most popular in my school and in my area sounds very different from me. I would say if anything, more of that hype and traction comes from the internet."
After high school, if you have the opportunity to continue rapping full time - would you do it, or do you have any other post-high school plans?
"I definitely would pursue it full time."
Do you think there's a possibility that new listeners might not take you as seriously when they find out your age?
"If anything, it's been the opposite. When they listen to it, they think my age is more of an impressive factor rather than something that turns some off to my music."
What artists are your biggest influences?
"I would say Tyler, the Creator, Earl, Kendrick, and Cole."
I noticed in the “Quarantine Freestyle” music video, you had a ton of Golf Wang and Zumiez clothing bags in the background. Would you call yourself a clothing fanatic? Or are you just a fan of those brands?
"I wouldn’t say that I’m a fanatic, but I'm definitely into it. I have clothes from a few brands, but that interest in fashion is something I want to explore. Because it's an expensive thing to get into, I'll explore that when I get some money."