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Judge for Chris Rel

nyack, NY
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Portrait of Chris Rel
The Truth is back. For too long the music has been sensationalized forgetting the foundation on which it was built. No longer is it a tool for change, self empowerment, or an authentic social commentary. It needs to be a true representation of life; the ups and downs, love and lack thereof, and the need to grow and cultivate ones surroundings. Balance seems to be the missing element in the music business these days.

Chris Rel, last name pronounced real was born in The Bronx, and raised in Spring Valley, NY. He began rapping at the age of 12. Influenced by the likes of De la Soul, Masta Ace, and The Roots. His style was unique from the beginning. Battling and performing with the other kids in his neighborhood, Chris set himself apart from the others with his conscious rhymes.

Rapping throughout his high school days. Chris took his talent to another level while attending Stony Brook University. He and fellow classmate known as Omni-Blaize formed the group Kenek. The duo recorded and performed together, but never released a project. The two eventually parted ways as Chris went into the military. He became a light wheel mechanic in the national guard. Soon after graduating AIT(advanced individual training) he went into the OCS program and became a 2ND lieutenant. Recharged after receiving his honorary discharge from the military Chris recorded his solo debut “Follow Me”. Drawing influences from the life he had lived, and the emotions he’d longed to express on the mic. During the recording of “Follow Me”, Chris traveled abroad to perform his new material at venues such as the Redstar in London and also recorded several tracks in Sweden.

Chris traveled to Sweden once again in 2004 to perform at the Swedish Music Festival in Malmo. Upon his return to New York, he hit the studio with Sire, producer of 50cent's "window shopper" to lay out the rest of his upcoming album. Digging much deeper than his past on “Follow Me”, and raising the bar for the expectations of this album "Voice of Truth".

Chosen by Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2007 to participate in the Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad program to perform and teach classes in India, Malaysia and Burma. Lincoln Center sent Chris along with Denny Jackson, and Sire on tour to increase exposure to American culture in various countries. A month long program in which the trio taught a HipHop 101 class in addition to performing in such cities as Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Kuala Lumpur, and Rangoon. Later that year Chris was handpicked by Spike Lee as a featured extra in “Miracle at St Anna”. While filming in Italy, Chris performed at local lounges and recorded a verse about the Buffalo Soldiers for a local news channel covering the movie.

In February of 2009, Chris Rel and Denny Jackson accompanied by Omni Blaize and Dj Pretty Nyce were chosen once again by Jazz at Lincoln Center to go abroad as Diplomats. Barack Obama’s new vision of soft diplomacy. The quartet went to 6 countries on the western coast of Africa; Mauritania, Togo, The Ivory Coast, Mali, Burkina Faso and Diplomatic Republic of Congo. A cultural exchange to open up dialogues between the two regions through HipHop. In his upcoming album “Here and Now”, Chris hopes to capture his exploration through Asia and Africa along with his experiences living in NY, ATL, and Toronto. The Truth is definitely back.
 
 
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