What's Up South Texas!: Local Christian rapper encourages all artists to RISE

By Japhanie Gray - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Rap music has always been a passionate art for Jarrell Flowers. He went on to start the nonprofit RISE, which is a movement that helps fellow artists and creators collaborate.

“We provide places where they can study their crafts,” said Flowers. “We sent them out and empower them.”

Flowers started his own rap career as a young boy.

“I actually started writing when I was little and grew up in a Christian home,” said Flowers. “At first I didn’t know if rap was a good thing or not, but shockingly, my parents, who are pastors, helped foster it for me. I just kept rapping.”

Flowers started a rap group but later took on a solo career.

“I did my own thing and kind of went in and out of record deals and then that is when the idea for RISE started coming up,” said Flowers. “Like man, there is a whole lot of indie artists out there, and this is the indie age, so all we need now is tools.”

He and his wife began to brainstorm.

“We were thinking about doing the whole record label thing, and then we just started dreaming for the city,” said Flowers. “We were like OK, what if we can just bring artists together by collaborating? What if we could help strengthen the economy by collaborating?”

So they began finding connections throughout the city.

“We provide spaces where artists can learn and develop their crafts,” said Flowers. “Sometimes we meet at restaurants, and sometimes we meet at concerts.”

Flowers said RISE doesn’t only work with rappers.

“We work with singers, musicians, artists who like to paint,” said Flowers. “We work with photographers and videographers.”

So far, in just four months, RISE has grown to 140 members across the city, something Flowers said he didn’t think would happen so fast.

“I think this city can be a destination place for artists to come here instead of saying, 'Man if I want to go somewhere with my music, or my skills, I need to go outside the city,'” said Flowers. “You really don’t have to.”

Flowers said there was a point in time in his life where he had doubts.

“There has always been like these financial challenges and just this inward like, 'Am I really supposed to be doing this?' You don’t want to waste your life doing something you think you are good at and you’re really not,” said Flowers.

He found a way to turn those negative thoughts into positive motivation thanks to a mixture of his music and his faith.

“I am just rapping about my experiences that include God,” said Flowers. “Like God is the centerpiece of why I do what I do.”

Flowers now wants everyone to be encouraged by their purpose in life, and his skills and eagerness to help others succeed is a great aspect of What’s Up South Texas.

“We can dream together,” said Flowers. “We can make something happen in the city if we do it together. We don’t have to compete. We can complete. If we pull together, we band together, we can actually rise together.”

If you know of any story like Flowers' or another of someone with a unique purpose, contact Japhanie Gray on Facebook or @JGrayKSAT on Twitter. You can also send your tips to KSAT 12 & KSAT.com on Facebook.

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