Christopher Rios, Jr., the son of the late, great Big Punisher, began his career in Hip Hop back in 2002 as one third of the short lived rap group, 3 Down. Following the group’s disbandment, Rios, then known as Baby Pun, finally returned in June 2013 with his more than impressive first solo entry, Wonderland of Misery, now utilizing the moniker Chris Rivers. July 2016 saw the release of his official debut collection, DeLorean.
Rivers is back with his latest tour-de-force, G.I.T.U., quite possibly his strongest and most cohesive project to date. We caught up with the young emcee to talk new music, his legacy and much more.
Parlé Mag: Let’s hop right into this single, “N.A.S.A.” — Tell me about this particular track; how did it come to fruition?
Chris Rivers: Honestly, we – Oswin Benjamin, Rod The Producer and I – was in the lab just building, and we already had this space theme for the project going. As we was vibing out with that context, we were playing a bunch of different beats with crazy bounces and a super fun one came on. Oswin started saying, “Nasa Nasa” and when we figured out the acronym “N.ighas A.ct S.o A.uthentic,” it just exploded from there. It was super fun to make, and
everyone involved did a stellar job.
Parlé Mag: On it, of course, you teamed up with Oswin Benjamin — How did this collabo even come about?
Chris Rivers: To dig a little deeper Oswin is like a brother to me and so is Rod, and Rod has produced previous projects with Oswin as well. During this project, I wasn’t around too many people but Oswin was one of them keeping my head on right, and a dope addition to the creative energy. He was there and it happened. And I’m happy. It’s important to establish genuine friendships with other creatives, I feel. And, this is a natural result of that.
Parlé Mag: “N.A.S.A.” comes courtesy of your brand new G.I.T.U. LP — Although pretty self-explanatory, still tell me, conceptually, what that title represents both to and for you?
Chris Rivers: G.I.T.U. is an acronym for G.reatest I.n T.he U.niverse. That’s an affirmation I used to tell myself when I was feeling very low. Dealing with depression, confidence issues, a complete dissatisfaction with my life and its contents, due to my actions or rather lack of actions, and insecurities and life experiences. I felt this great bottomless chasm that couldn’t be filled, and I knew it was linked to my self worth and how I felt about me. Like most things are. Or all things. So I told myself, “Chris, if you fully applied yourself, if you really gave yourself a chance, a genuine full 100 percent effort chance, you could be one of the greatest beings who ever existed. You are the greatest in the universe!” And this project is the embodiment of that. A lot of self reflection. Acceptance of who I am and why I’m like this, but also asking those questions. And I feel if you’re the greatest, you should challenge yourself. So anytime I heard a beat I’d (be) asking myself, “what would I normally do to this?” And I threw that out the window, and did things I’ve never done. And I feel it’s the best thing I ever did. It’s definitely the beginning of something. But I love its direction, and I’m proud I was able to overcome what I did in order to lay it all out there for ya.
Parlé Mag: That said, what can you reveal and/or divulge about upcoming said set at this particular point in time?
Chris Rivers: There will be many videos off the project. As well as shows with live bands to bring it to life. Merch as well. Musically, the track listing is out so that’s no secret. I just want people to go in with an open mind and be willing to feel and listen. To gain things from it like I have. Anything else to come I’ll def post about it, but right now pretty much an open book.
Parlé Mag: How then does the new album either differ and/or compare to previous Chris Rivers efforts?
Chris Rivers: I think it’s so much more well rounded. Overall better in every way. The production is vast and space like, but deep and musical and diverse. The quality of the mixes are far better than past efforts. My creative input was maxed out on this one in comparison to past projects. I was hands on in every aspect of the creation, as well as now with the videos, merch and shows. I’m pretty much setting it all up for the most part. So I feel it’s the most ME I’ve been. I also feel like lyrically I’m at my best here, especially with subject matter where everything I’m saying is coming from a real meaningful place and I’m way more comfortable tonally. I did things I never did tonally as well, and I feel this one has actual SONGS. Not just me going ham on mad beats. Some fans might be upset that it isn’t an entire 16 track album of boom bap beats with me just rapping mad fast and aggressively. There’s mad bars and lyricism on it, but that wasn’t the focus. Making good music was. And if I lose 100, I’ll def gain 1000. I just want people to walk into it with no expectations and enjoy.
Parlé Mag: G.I.T.U. is a Mello Music Group project — What particular string of events actually led to this signing?
Chris Rivers: Glory to my manager. Shouts to Scorp! He established that connection, and we built after first contact.
Parlé Mag: Lyrically, what motivates you?
Chris Rivers: I wanna be great. I wanna make people feel things. I want to talk about things that will change lives. I wanna say it in a way that makes you get it. I wanna do it in a way that makes you remember me. I’m a very hard critic on myself . And I listen to those I find are the greatest in what I’m trying to do, and I never get satisfied till I achieve that feeling towards myself. Admiration and pride.
Parlé Mag: What do you want people to get from your music?
Chris Rivers: I want people to enjoy it first of all. Music is a super power. It can affect how people feel on a mass scale. I want people to believe in themselves. I want people to know that you’re not defined by your circumstances or the things that’s happened to you. I want people to be inspired. I want them to think. Think about who we are. Why we are here. And their purpose as well. I want to be a hero.
Parlé Mag: On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip Hop?
Chris Rivers: Happy isn’t the right theme I think. As a fan of it, it’s difficult to find music that is awe inspiring and just amazing. There’s a lot of stuff that’s good in specific environments or not good at all. The really dope ones are usually not pushed by the media, therefore the ability to access certain types of music is very limited while some is shoved down our throats. I think there’s no balance. I think it’s all about the money. And that’s as an observer and listener. But from a business standpoint for someone perusing it, I think it’s a great time for me. I see the type of thing I do coming back. I see myself being a part of this new wave and movement. I see the power that the internet has now, and the ability to be more independent. It’s a lot, but it’s beautiful in its own way. I think we just have to adapt with it.
Parlé Mag: Do you have any other outside/additional aspirations, maybe even completely
away from entertainment?
Chris Rivers: Yeah, too many. I wanna write books, make movies, act in movies, make cartoons, do voice acting, make clothes, breach the gaming world ’cause I love gaming, speaking motivationally. I love to fight and do martial arts. I wanna travel the world, meet people… so exhilarating things. I just wanna live a really full life and absorb as much as I can from this world while I exist in this body to perceive it in a way only I can do being who
I am right now.
Parlé Mag: To date, what has been your greatest career achievement(s), at least thus far anyway?
Chris Rivers: I can’t even answer this. I have a bad habit of not being satisfied or happy with anything I do ’cause I focus on the end goal so much that anything that’s not that feels like just another step along the way. I’m learning to not do that any more. But you’ll have to ask me again when I’ve mastered it.
Parlé Mag: One track of yours that you think defines you and why?
Chris Rivers: Awww man…maybe some stuff off of the new project. I think a combination of a few though. Most notably / are probably “Perfect,” “Don’t Change,” “Damaged Goods,” “Wolf mode”… I’m like naming all the joints. I don’t know, I feel like I’m too much for one song. I do feel like this project is the most me I’ve been so far though.
Parlé Mag: What’s next for Chris Rivers?
Chris Rivers: All the things I mentioned earlier!! I’m doing A LOT right now and setting myself up to be more than just a rapper. So for the next few months expect G.I.T.U. everything. Videos, merch, films, shows, books, etcetera, etcetera, and after that expect to see me in a lot of places even outside of music. Most of all I just wanna be my best self. Inch towards it everyday.
Parlé Mag: This past February marked the nineteenth anniversary of your father, the
legendary Big Pun’s untimely passing — What are your fondest memories of this lyrical giant? And how do you think he’d feel about the trajectory of your career in rhyme; considering you’ve managed to follow directly in his footsteps, also further proving to be an emcee force to be reckoned with as well?
Chris Rivers: Fondest memory had to be the night before he died, my family and I was all in the pool. He seemed more at peace than usual that day. It was a good night. Almost like he knew it was his last night on earth and wanted to give us that. I honestly don’t know how he would feel about me rapping. I work really hard to not be trash, so I think he’ll at least be proud… if he was cool with me pursuing it, ya know?
Parlé Mag: Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?
Chris Rivers: Love yourself. Believe in yourself. Don’t just read this and casually graze by it with all the other empty thoughts you have on a daily basis that doesn’t lead to anything. I really mean it. Learn to genuinely love who you are. Learn to never have second thoughts or doubts. Learn to have your life and your actions reflect your hopes, never your fears. Take the time to understand who you are. Be honest. Be motivated. Life is more than settling a 100 times and then dying. It’s more than paying bills while working towards somehow else’s dream. It’s more than just finding a partner and getting a home. This is your one chance on this earth to do everything you ever thought you could. Please don’t waste that. Please don’t doubt yourself into submission. There will be plenty of people ready and waiting to down you. So never let that be you. You’re the only person who gets to be with you for your entire life. So love yourself. Be kind to yourself. And believe in yourself. ‘Cause we all can be the G.I.T.U.!
Get the G.I.T.U. album HERE.
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