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Rich Robbins Checks On Us With New EP “How RU RN”

Written by on October 7, 2020

Chicago-based artist Rich Robbins is not someone to underestimate.

A rapper, poet, educator, producer and activist, Robbins is constantly moving and challenging himself …

Spoken word poetry has had a particularly strong impact on Rich Robbins’ musical style. In an interview with Vocalo this spring, Robbins noted how watching open mics at Harold Washington Library inspired him to take music seriously. Already having a background in spoken word poetry, Robbins admired the strength in the performers’ delivery and began to incorporate the cadence of spoken word into his musical style.

Now, balancing a career as a musician and educator, Robbins teaches a spoken word poetry class at Oak Park and River Forest High School in Oak Park, IL, and coaches their slam poetry team. The team participates in Louder than a Bomb, the largest youth poetry festival worldwide. 

“If you can get a room full of 14-15 year olds to rock with your verses, then you’re good anywhere,” he said.

With his new EP, “How RU RN?,” Robbins wants to give back to the community of Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. He plans to donate all revenue from the album to nonprofit organization A Long Walk Home, which aims to create safe and artistic spaces for young women and girls of color and to end violence against women of color nationwide.

On its release date, Bandcamp waived all revenue fees to give artists full profits and Robbins raised more than $500 for the nonprofit.

“How RU RN?” is an atmospheric journey through Robbins’ mind, incorporating Frank Ocean-esque vocal distortion and ambient noises paired with smooth R&B elements. It transports listeners into another world over the span of its six tracks, primarily fostered through Robbins’ use of voice recordings and sound effects – from voice memos to bottles clinking to opening a cash register. His lyrics are clear and honest, describing deeply personal moments and emotional states.

Robbins encapsulates his thoughts inside “How RU RN?” in a way that almost feels like reading a journal, the project leaves audiences breathless, noiselessly reaching to hit play again.

Stream “How RU RN?” here, and the rest of Rich Robbins’ music below.

Follow Rich Robbins on Twitter.

Written by Morgan Ciocca

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