- Associated Press - Saturday, September 10, 2016

OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) - It takes a lot for Bobby Hodges to get over his stage fright.

During his first performance at a biker church, there was “no stress at all,” he said. But at a local concert with the artist Nailed Too about a year ago, Hodges said he had a hard time, though it didn’t show to the audience.

“The next day, I saw a mic on sale in a magazine for $80 when it used to be $279,” he said. “Turns out it was a misprint, but they let me pay the lower price, and I took it as a sign from God to keep doing my music.”

Hodges, who’s stage name is The Reason, started rapping about four years ago and has an eponymous eight-song album now available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and other digital download sites.

The Christian rapper doesn’t quite know how to define his sound.

“I have a hard time with that, but I’ve heard I sound unique,” he said. “And the music, in my mind, is kind of dark, down-tempo, it shows struggle.”

Hodges has been a musician and songwriter since his childhood. The Daviess County High School class of 2005 alum was the guitarist in a band with a few schoolmates for a short while, “but we just didn’t get along, it didn’t work out.”

Hodges said he then wanted to be a one-man band but realistically couldn’t play the guitar and drums at once, so he turned to producing music. Of his eight songs on the album, four are original, and four are tracks he licensed.

Some featured artists did their verses electronically, and Laura “LuLu” Benningfield, a local friend, also shares her voice on a song.

For another of Hodges’ closest friends, Todd Green, the music has been cathartic.

Green, also a DCHS alum, known as 2-Tymez - “I was a troublemaker as a kid, so I usually had to be told two times to behave, and that nickname stuck,” he said - took his first shot at rap on a song with Hodges called “Folding.”

“As in, folding your hands to pray,” Green said. The friends recorded the song in February 2015, a month after Green’s wife, Leah, died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The high-school sweethearts had been dating since 2002 and were married for nine months before her death.

“We also made a video for the song with shots of me at her grave,” he said. “It was … very emotional.”

Green has done a couple of tunes since then but mainly serves as the other half of the Reason Productions team.

The men said they would like to see Reason Productions turn into a full-time venture, including producing for other artists. But Hodges is now focused on honing his rapping skills and plans to release another album in early 2017.

He said he’s a fan of Eminem and Insane Clown Posse, though those aren’t artists he’s inspired by for his music.

“I’m inspired by God and life experiences,” he said. “I’ve always felt him leading me to do something in a Christian way, but I wasn’t sure what it was until I started rapping.”

He used to be named Treason but changed to The Reason with the motto, “Everyone has a reason for the things they do today,” he said.

The genre was an adjustment from his metal and general rap days, but he enjoys the process of freestyling a bit, then writing based off “that flow we catch when I try to freestyle,” he said. “It’s a growing kind of learning. I’m getting better as I learn and go.”

He used to think about altering how he writes. But changing anything would take away from his message, he said.

“At one point, I thought about not saying ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’ so much in my songs, or not talking about them directly, because people kind of get mad when you do that, and they won’t listen,” he said. “But I love Christ. He loves me. That’s what I want people to feel in my music.”

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Information from: Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, https://www.messenger-inquirer.com


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