Saturday, January 7, 2017

Cris Cola: The Voice of the Next Generation

Memphis, TN – Memphis native Cris Cola (born Christopher Reed Johnson) is only 23, but he’s wiser than most middle aged men you’ll meet. In an industry where rap and hip hop is saturated with anger, the young artist is determined to be a voice of clarity. Cola wrote his first rhyme when he was only 9 years old, and something inside him clicked; an artist was born. He filled pages and pages full of lyrics – purging his emotions and adolescence onto the paper. He explains, “Instead of losing my mind or snapping, I put all the anger I had towards certain family members, or friends that did me wrong, I just put it on paper.” The artist didn’t know then that what he was doing could one day be his true purpose. It would take many years, and a lot of maturing, before the budding star would be ready to turn his life long passion into a career. “If I’d had this mindset at 18,” he muses, “I would’ve been successful already.” Even though Cris Cola was later to the party, he’s here to stay and make a name for himself.

His music has a powerful quality to it, transcending race and age to start a conversation about personal and worldly things that weigh heavily on his mind and heart. Cris Cola writes about his personal perspective, but also speaks to cultural and societal issues as well. In a social climate rife with racial disparity and crime, Cola is dismayed – his community needs help, and is turning to all the wrong people and places looking for answers. Much of the music is angry, and perhaps rightfully so, but Cola suggests that his community needs to band together to create positive change and intelligent discussion. “We should, as a culture and as a people, come together. We need to have a better message within the music. There’s a lot of stuff going on, but at the same time we’re our own worst enemy.”

His single, “Going Insane,” was recorded in the beginning of 2015 and it speaks to Cola’s frustrating feelings about the world around him. Friends facing legal troubles and arrests, family issues, disloyalty and heartache led him to feel like he was “going insane” as the song suggests. His music is, as he calls it, “good riding music. You can play in the car and forget about everything else. It’s reality. Some of the stuff I say, you might already be thinking about.”

Cris Cola is giving a voice to the unheard and is a refreshing departure from run-of-the-mill music. He’s ready to be heard, and never willing to be put in a box.


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