Local hip-hop artist Ra.be 333’s output as a conscious freestyle rapper is an extension of his efforts “to grow and to learn more and more of who I am.” Whether making music, working as a coach and mentor or doing any of several different kinds of yoga, he’s constantly practicing what he refers to as “the art of fulfilment in the day-to-day that allows the artistry to come through.”
Along with being a solo artist, Ra.be has worked extensively with the live EDM band TROPO and currently collaborates with a number of musicians and videographers through Tap the Flow 24, an ongoing project whose participants create and record songs and accompanying videos within a 24-hour period. All proceeds from Tap the Flow 24 go to Generosity.org, a nonprofit organization that provides clean water to people in need.
Local Santa Cruz: What first drew you to freestyle rap?
Ra.be: I went to college at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, and I went to this jazz session that was happening. Someone I knew from the art department that I was a part of had passed a note to this band that was playing at a local eatery. The guy read the note at the end of the song: “Hey, I would love to rap with you.” The guy chuckled and said, “Sure, come on up here.”
He joined them, and he dropped this spontaneous freestyle rap. I’d seen freestyle before, but it was the first time I’d really felt it. It just felt like one of the most exciting things—a palpable, exciting energy in the air—and it awoke something within me to be able to connect to the music, connect to the crowd, connect to the energy in the space. I didn’t know it at the time, but it really sparked [the desire in me] to be able to do that and to cultivate that skill.
How do you cultivate that skill? Are you constantly writing, reading and seeking inspiration in your daily life?
I wouldn’t say I’m seeking inspiration; I feel it’s just a mindset to allow things to inspire [the artist]. Like, right now, there are these passionflowers right in front of me where I’m parked. I could stare at this all day! They’re so detailed and ornate. I think our world is extremely inspiring, and so the art of paying attention just offers that. And truly, when I feel like I’m at my peak of being able to offer that skill of freestyling, I have very little to do with what’s happening. The biggest skill that’s helped refine that is learning to get out of my own way and let the music, let the energy happen.
A large part of what I’ve studied and practiced is something called ThetaHealing. Theta is a brainwave state, and it’s the bridge [between] the conscious and subconscious mind. When someone is completely present, they’re not using their conscious mind. Your prefrontal cortex dims—it’s the part [of the brain] that’s responsible for self-editing, being in time-space reality, having a dualistic perspective, the part that’s conscious of our ego. All those pieces can kind of go to the side, and different parts of our brain light up. In those spaces, you’re fully present, whether it’s a surfer riding a barrel or any act of virtuosity—we’re probably tapping into a different part of our brain and expressing from that point.
Is inspiration guaranteed to happen if you’re able to get of your own way?
You know, that’s a great question, and I want to say yes. I guess it’s part of my belief that in that space of freestyle, what I’m tuning into is an energy greater than myself. That’s always a moving and translatable energy, if you will. Words are my craft, so that’s what I’m doing: I’m translating something in the moment. Being present with people, with sound, with vibration, with the energy in the room, something will come through. In a sense, I’m expecting it. I guess you could even say I’m demanding that—not in a forceful way, but just: This is the moment, this is what’s being called forth, so I’m going to show up to that and know that my connection to that thing which is greater will provide something for the space here.
How did you get involved in ThetaHealing?
I got into this work by receiving an instant physical healing on a snowboard injury. This was back in about 2007. Someone intuitively saw an injury in my shoulder: Without me telling them, they closed their eyes and were able to scan my body and see that there was some issue in my shoulder. The person then closed their eyes for about 20 seconds. What I didn’t know at the time was that they were going into a Theta state and working with Source energy. He said, “How are you feeling?” and where I’d had about 60 to 70 percent range of motion in my shoulder previously, I instantly had 100 percent range of motion back in my shoulder. After that experience, I just got fully on board with learning about healing, meditation, the quantum field and the specific modality of ThetaHealing.
Tell me about Tap the Flow 24. Where did that idea come from?
The concept was co-created with a friend of mine. The vision was to be able to share inspiration with other people. One of the things that I’m really passionate about is that we all have our basic needs met—and when I say “we,” I mean everyone on this planet. And so one of the organizations that I came across is an organization called Generosity.org, and they implement clean water systems for people without access to clean water globally. They’ve already affected over half a million people. Essentially it was taking the resources that I have—which is creativity, the ability to make music and also a really wide, beautiful, prolific, creative community that is also, I’d say, focused on a global mission within their work—and merging them with a great organization that’s already doing great work.
Any final thoughts?
Hmm. Let me think on that for a moment. [Pause] We’ve talked a lot about a number of different things that I’ve incorporated into being the person who I am. It’s like an additive process. I’d say there’s an equal side of a reductive process that really allows that to come forth: to let go of different forms of identity, different forms of labeling. Stripping all those things away is an essential part of the process of becoming that which I already am. That’s what I aim to be consistently and who I am when I’m serving other people in a coaching context: to let that come through from a place that already exists.
Ra.be’s website for music, video, and coaching:
Ra.be on Soundcloud:
To purchase any of the Tap the Flow 24 songs:
All proceeds go to Generosity.org
To donate to Tap the Flow 24: