Franklin, Tenn - This year Gotee Records is celebrating a huge milestone. The famed independent record label that has five RIAA Gold certified albums to their name and has launched numerous successful artist careers in R&B, rap, reggae and rock such as Out of Eden, GRITS, Jennifer Knapp, Relient K, Jamie Grace and many more, turns 20 years old.
John Reuben (born John Reuben Zappin in Columbus, Ohio.) is an American hip hop artist signed to Gotee Records until late 2010. Reuben has sold over 200,000 copies of his first four albums. He released his sixth album, Sex, Drugs, and Self-Control on December 22, 2009. The album was nominated for a Dove Award for Rap/Hip-Hop Album of the Year at the 42nd GMA Dove Awards, while the song "No Be Nah" was nominated for Rap/Hip-Hop Recorded Song of the Year.
Reuben is of Jewish heritage and was raised in Pataskala, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. Reuben got his start in rapping by taking the bus into the city to rap on open mic nights and participate in rap battles at the age of fifteen. Reuben later released Monuments, an independent EP, which caught the attention of Gotee Records. They took a chance, signing him to the label and releasing his first project, Are We There Yet?, in 2000. Toby McKeehan, the founder of Gotee Records, provided vocals for the album's final track, "God is Love." The album was nominated for a Dove award in 2002.
Reuben's next release, Hindsight (2002), continues his use of a wide variety of musical genres and thoughtful, often funny lyrics. The album was praised as a "truly eclectic and creative hip-hop album that blends old-school sounds with progressive production." Once thought to be a Christian version of Eminem, Reuben's first two releases established him as an original, witty, sarcastic musician, as well as Gotee's top-selling solo rap artist.
Professional Rapper (2003) marked Reuben's debut as a self-producing artist. The album is noticeably different from his previous efforts, using more instruments and less DJ sampling for the tracks. Along with these differences, the album is noticeably darker in both lyrics and feel. It includes several somber tracks that allow a glimpse into Reuben's struggles and self-doubt.
The following year Reuben released So In Hindsight the Professional Rapper Isn't There Yet (2004), an album of remixed versions of songs from his first three albums.
The Boy vs. The Cynic (2005) continued Reuben's trek from the non-serious songs which characterized his earlier work to music that's far more somber and meditative. Reportedly, when the time came for him to submit his work for the album, Reuben turned in enough tracks for two albums, one light-hearted, the other more serious. Rather than releasing a two-disc release, the label decided to splice them together into The Boy vs. The Cynic. Most of Reuben's songs use "traditional" musical instruments, typically the guitar, though he experiments with many different instruments and musical styles.
Reuben is currently working on a reality show detailing his "rise" to stardom while poking fun at many of the conventions of reality television. The pilot of the show can be viewed on YouTube.
John released his fifth album, Word of Mouth, on February 6, 2007. Allmusic.com called Word of Mouth an "unqualified triumph" and said that "You won't find a truer, more honest, or more celebratory album this year."
Gotee Records released John Reuben's sixth studio album, Sex, Drugs, and Self-Control on December 22, 2009. According to an interview with TVU in January, John Reuben said that there are definitely more music videos planned to release in the coming months from his most recent CD.