Check out music from Reaper The Storyteller
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Check out music from Reaper The Storyteller
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Check out music from Reaper The Storyteller
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Check out music from Reaper The Storyteller
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BIOGRAPHY
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Reaper The Storyteller born Thomas Earl Hurrington, grew up on stage. Reaper started out singing in his grandfather’s church choir and by the time he attended West High School he had made chorale and started touring with his successful singing group Ebony. But performing wasn’t enough for this activist. As early as high school, Reaper started attending social and economic seminars, and wore all black for a year while handing out mission statements trying to instill a sense of unity among minorities and attack the perception of minorities in Utah.

Reaper later joined the nationally touring theatrical troupe Improv, which used acting as a tool tackling social issues from self-esteem to rape. He ended up leading the team across country, teaching other teams and winning awards along the way. Including one for a public service announcement on guns in the schools that he did with Cosmic Pictures. After working for over 17 years in the health care field working with people with mental and physical disabilities, Reaper decided that the best way to raise awareness of these and other worldly problems was with music.

His ability to tap into the darkest areas of humanity’s common soul, and bring out a sense of hope and purpose, has earned him rave reviews and interviews in Salt lake Magazine, SLUG, Salt Lake City Weekly, the Salt Lake Tribune, Listen, the Utah Daily Chronicle, and Melting Music . Reaper has also had multiple sold out shows, including a headlining show at Club DV8 with over 800 people in attendance. Other big shows include an acoustic performance for mayor Rocky Anderson and opening for political activist Michael Franti and Spearhead at their sold out Sundance Film Festival appearance. Reaper was also invited to speak to the students of Horizonte High School about politics in music.

Along with Reaper’s cable network deal with Spike TV, his music has been getting national attention through college and community radio stations. States include Colorado, California, Nevada, and Oregon. Local stations include-X96 (Live and Local) and KRCL (The Ladybug Lounge and Friday Night Fallout).

From multiple benefit concerts with props, (for his sponsors YWCA, The Rape Recovery Center and The Road Home) to adding live instruments, there is no way to know what this rapper can do until you see him perform. Even after his house was shot up with a military issue assault rifle he still fights injustice and considers himself a voice for the unheard, rapping tales of real life drama that most lyricists won’t touch.
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Music | Feel the Reaper: Local hip-hop artist isn’t as grim as you think
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When I was told I was interviewing Salt Lake City hip-hop artist Reaper—quite frankly, I expected to sit down with a thug in a puffy jacket and baggy jeans.
But, of course, hip-hop is obviously much more complex than just thugs dressed as stereotypes. In fact, contemporary music owes a great deal of thanks to artists like Nas, Busdriver, Talib Kweli, Odd Nosdam and countless other innovators who fall under the ever-expanding umbrella of “hip-hop.”
Reaper—and his craft—represent the intelligent arm of hip-hop. Reaper is the least thug-like person I’ve met. He exudes depth, originality and brilliance.
Reaper is quick to laugh and crack a joke with his large, toothy smile.
“People sometimes come to my shows expecting to see 50 Cent and the type of stuff you see on MTV, and that’s just not what I do,” Reaper explains. “Not that I dislike that stuff. It’s just not me.”
Reaper’s brand of hip-hop is all about storytelling, a tradition reflected in his adopted pseudonym.
“Someone always dies in my stories. But it’s not as morbid as it sounds,” he says. “What I do is mostly about cycles. I explore the cycle of life.”
Reaper’s many years in the healthcare industry—working with a range of patients, from disabled adults to sex offenders—have taught him a great deal about the human experience.
“I’ve always been an activist. I can’t help it. It’s just part of who I am,” he says.
Reaper stresses that he always has pamphlets available—for every cause from rape recovery to domestic violence—at his shows. “It’s amazing how those pamphlets magically disappear from the table. People always secretly pocket them. It just goes to show that everyone has problems.”
But Reaper doesn’t want his listeners to forget that he is first and foremost an entertainer.
“Entertaining is a very important part of what I do. I want people to have fun at my shows,” he says. You can think about something and have fun at the same time. I promise.”
Reaper’s shows seamlessly integrate spoken word poetry, live hip hop beats, and even a few props.
“I always use original beats. I’m not one who likes to sample. My very talented partner Jebu helps me out in that department. He’s a multi-instrumentalist, so there’s always a little soul in my music.”
Reaper’s most recent EP, The Storyteller features plenty of smooth, relaxed beats that recall the glory days of ’60s and ’70s soul.
In the past, Reaper has been backed by everyone from straight up rock & roll bands to a calypso outfit. “It all depends on what feels right. If something feels like it flows, even if it isn’t straight up hip hop, I’ll still use it.”
“What I do is pretty different from anything you’ll see around here,” Reaper says. “I urge people to come to a show and see it. You just have to see it to believe it.”
Reaper’s next show is a birthday bash. “It’s actually a week after my birthday,” he says of the Oct. 17 gig at Monk’s. “There will be costumes changes, props, and even a few presents for the audience. I always like to give other people presents on my birthday.”
By Jenny Poplar



SALT LAKE MAGAZINE PRESENTS BANDWIDTH:YOUR TICKET TO 8 LOCAL ACTS YOU NEED TO HEAR
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Reaper

On stage, he may look like other rappers, but when you listen to Reaper’s lyrics, you quickly realize there’s more to his music than that of an average M.C.---and more motivating him then money or fame. “I don’t want to hear about cars, clothes, and chains all day long,” he explains. “I’m a lyricist, first and foremost.”

Despite his gentle smile and easy laugh off stage, when he’s performing, Reaper’s serious--dead serious. A mix of music, conversations,, poetry, and storytelling, each of his songs recounts a true-life tale of death, pain, and revenge (to name a few). Having worked in the health care field for over a decade as a counselor and youth advocate, he’s seen and heard it all--events that became the basis for most of his songs.

“ When I perform I’m really charged,” he says. “I want the audience to be emotional.” And he hopes that emotion will translate to action and, eventually, change. Sponsored by The Road Home, The Rape Recovery Center, and the YWCA, he helps raise awareness and funds for each organization. At all of his shows he sets up a “cause table” where concertgoers can learn more about the organization’s missions and make donations to their causes. “I’m a social activist but I don’t want to be preachy.” explains the former choir boy. “I’m just the resource man.”
In 2005, Reaper released Bad Dreams, an experimental hip-hop album, with fellow local performer Ply, and he recently released Reaper presents Deathsend--Shadow Psychology, his debut solo effort. The album features songs about everything from infidelity and incest to gang shoot-outs and suicide. Despite the heavy content, don’t fear Reaper--or his graphic, powerful words. “I talk a lot about death because I think you can learn a lot about life through death.” And we can all learn a lot about life through Reaper .
--Tessa Woolf

Top 50 Local cd review
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This collection of re-recorded songs from Reapers brilliant Bad Dreams and a handful of new tunes comes off lighter, but not fluffier. Over mostly live instrumentation, Reaper delves into his history, personal relationships and societal mores and poke and prod—more like stab—with his words. (RH)

by City Weekly staff


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