Houston Rising: Lil Rarri Explains Harvey’s Silver Lining
When tragedy strikes, it’s tempting to fixate on the pain and lose sight of a greater purpose. But Houston refuses to turn a blind eye to its people, and the positivity is all but eclipsing the darkness that struck. For the next few weeks, we’ll be spotlighting artists who are born and bred Houstonians, the charities they support, and their version of the Texan silver lining. Today, we’re talking with rapper Lil Rarri, whose heart for his fellow Houstonians has led him to support Houston Food Bank. Houston is rising, and we’re here for it.
Hurricane Harvey arrived in Texas ready to deliver tragedy and destruction, but one unintended consequence of its visit came from within Houston’s community itself—a willingness, void of vanity, to extend a helping hand wherever it was needed. In the midst of flooded streets, lost vehicles, and abandoned homes, rapper Lil Rarri bore witness to a rising of good-neighbor-ness that all but eclipsed the tragedy that had come before. Of course, there’s still much to be done to get Houston back on its feet, but the city is coming together, and for that, Rarri is thankful.
On the heels of the “WERKIN” video release, MILK.XYZ sat down with Rarri to dive deep on Houston’s rap community, the next generation of rising stars, and why the city is experiencing a rap Renaissance.
Can you talk about where you were when Harvey hit?
I was actually at my parents’ house, we got it bad but it didn’t go into our house and shit. I lost my car, my mom lost her car, my dad lost his car, and then my brother, he stays in another city called Pearland, and we had to find a canoe and go save him and his kids, because the water was all the way to maybe your bellybutton. So it was pretty bad. It was real bad, yeah. A crazy experience for sure.
Wow, you took a canoe to his house?
Yeah, we drove as far as we could, and then we had to stop at this corner store, probably a mile and half down from his house, that’s where the water just rose, and then we literally had to canoe like 12 miles to get to his house and grab the kids and take them back one by one. It was terrible.
I can’t even imagine that. How has it been since, like, how is the city doing?
The city is cool, it’s recovering. You kind of have to find the good in all bad, so I mean, at the same time that the tragedy was happening, it really showed people’s true colors. People that you thought wouldn’t help you, or you know different ethnicities, different races and whatnot, people really just became one, everybody was helping whoever they saw. If they saw somebody that needed help, they’d help you. If somebody knew they could get somewhere, like if they had a big truck, or somebody had a boat, people would help. It didn’t matter what race, gender, anything, none of that mattered at that point; everything was out the window. So I think since then, the city started connecting more, and I feel like a lot of people are trying to help each other. It’s moving forward. It’s definitely a good thing, a blessing in disguise to bring people closer.
Yeah, I guess that’s the silver lining, that it brings people together.
As far as the rap community and just musicians in general down there, is it really close knit? Are you guys talking about maybe doing something for hurricane relief or what are your thoughts?
Yes, definitely. I definitely want to do a free show. It’s kind of harder than just saying it, since you have to work with the venues, but we’re just in the middle of doing that right now and trying to figure out where exactly the donations or profits are gonna go to. But that’s definitely an idea on the table that we’re trying to pursue.
And I know you wanted to promote the Houston Food Bank, can you talk about why that one?
I guess just growing up out here, seeing it, they really do what they say they’re gonna do, you know. I guess a lot of people don’t like the Red Cross for whatever reason, but whenever you can see a foundation actually do stuff with the money they’re given, you want to work with them. And I know that I can trust them, and that what I’m giving won’t go to waste.
Were you born and raised in Houston?
I’m actually from Mobile, Alabama, but I was raised out here, yeah.
Cool. Just coming up in the music scene in Houston, how have you seen the city evolve since you first got there?
I feel like it’s going in a good direction right now. Of course you’ve got Travis, so it don’t really get no bigger than Travis, and we got a lot of stuff going on right now. It’s really a good look. And whether or not we’re united, when a person comes out of a certain city, people with the eyes wanna see what else is going on in the city. So whether or not that person that just made it knows that they’re helping everybody else, whether or not they’re doing it on purpose or not, they’re helping. ‘Cause wherever you come out of, obviously everyone wants to find that next person that’s coming out of that same city. There’s so much talent here, no matter who makes it next, you’re just helping the next person, so it’s really a good thing.
So for you personally, I know your single “Withdrawals” came out not too long ago—what’s in the works for you for the rest of the year?
Really just more music, more videos. I’m just focused on perfecting my craft, everyday. So that’s never over with. But definitely working on new music, and trying to get to different cities and sit down and connect and link with different people and whatnot. I really wanna get out of this city so I can bring it back to this city.
And what’s the overall mood in Houston right now? What is it like down there?
It’s definitely positive. Probably the most positive that it’s been in a while. Not only because of the hurricane but because we have so much good music coming out, you can’t help but support somebody. Positivity goes a long way, and you really get the vibe, people are catching it, and it’s like a whole new generation rising up here. It’s looking good for us right now.
Images courtesy of Josh Aranda
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