Skrilla: Philadelphia’s Next Big Thing
‘I have a lot of passion about social change, reconfiguring social norms, and the way society functions, which is an incredibly big task, but I feel like you can always make small increments and that’s essentially how you get there. And I feel like the youth is really, really, really influential when it comes to something like that, ‘cause it really defines what’s in view in terms of society. Music and the Internet open up a huge window of potential to just reach out to people’
Born and raised in Philadelphia, home to names as famous as Will Smith and The Roots, Gabe Skrilla, the 20 year old rapper, has grown up within a rich rap environment. Although originally accepted into art school, he is currently pursuing an advertising degree in the creative track at Temple University in Philadelphia.
His EP, originally called Reservations The Last Summer was slightly rushed and Skrilla felt like he always had issues with it. “I was much happier with the re-released version, Reservations Fashionably Late… and I was just ready to move on… I felt like I had moved on, I had grown, and I feel like I had just progressed as an artist”.
Skrilla is adamant to keep active and make progress.
‘I’m definitely trying to bring about just different ideas and just having people realize that at the end of the day, it is just us, so we might as well act in unity. I feel like mass media and corporations love to keep everybody in their individual mind-set that we are all just individuals competing for a profit which really destroys, it just divides and conquers the mass population.’
Skrilla clearly carries individuality. Amongst what he feels to be a very diluted rap scene, ‘I like to categorize myself as a ‘poetic visionary,’ where I feel like there’s too many rappers out here… I feel like there’s a lot of double standards and issues with society that are kind of perpetuated through this quote-unquote ‘rap scene.’
When pressed about these issues and his aims, the young rapper spoke with a shrewdness years beyond him.
‘Nobody is really happy with their living standards, to an extent. And they really only see money as happiness, which is really unfortunate, and is really not gonna come with any fulfilment. With the music, I feel like it’s really powerful and it really could be a weapon or a tool in that sense. So, at this point I am really just trying to use it as a medium to gain that power with that voice and really be able to reach people.’
In an industry that has greatly materialised through wealth and individual status, Skrilla is putting back hip-hops true foundation with unity, meaning and determination.