Student rapper brings following to Kent

Ben Plassard

DJ $crilla, left, and his group, the Skank La Familia, will be performing at the CD release party Feb. 8 at Fat Jimmy’s. PHOTO COURTESY OF DJ $CRILLA

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

When DJ $crilla and his hip-hop group Shank La Familia take the stage at Fat Jimmy’s Wednesday in support of their new CD, $crilla promises that it will not be just another ordinary rap show.

“We are out to prove ourselves and to show our growth as a group,” $crilla said. “The show is nonstop energy and music where we focus and push original material.”

$crilla, aka: Chris Harris, a senior electronic media major, has been a part of the rap game since high school. He and the other four members of Shank La Familia all attended Cleveland Heights High School where they started to become serious about rapping.

“I started spinning for fun in high school,” $crilla said. “I then got into rapping and it has just taken off from there.”

In fact, $crilla already has a cult following on many major campuses in America.

As a freshman, $crilla joined Sigma Phi Epsilon and got the idea to lend his rapping talents to fraternities and sororities across the country. He travels from university to university making raps for fraternities and creating songs for schools. The results have been overwhelming.

“It started as a simple e-mail and has blown up,” $crilla said. “One day I’ll fly to the University of Arizona and the next to Texas Tech and then back home to drive to Indiana. It really helps in promoting myself and my music.”

$crilla is out to prove he is more than just the “Greek rapper,” an image he hopes to shed with the new CD and the upcoming show.

“People have a concept that I just do Greek raps,” $crilla said. “I want to show that I can do more. I now want to focus and push original material.”

$crilla’s new CD, Grand Theft Audio: Shank La Familia, is a mixtape combining original raps with both sampled and original beats. The album fuses samples and skits from the popular video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and features all five members of the Shank La Familia. $crilla says it is just another step in their careers.

“The new CD shows our growth,” $crilla said. “Lyrically, it surpasses anything we have ever done before.”

The CD took eight months to record and mix, with $crilla doing most of the work, something his manager Dave Korvah says is a true testament to $crilla’s ability.

“$crilla definitely came out of his own shell on the production,” Korvah said. “This is just a prelude of what to expect from him.”

$crilla sums up the new album in one word – versatility.

“Every song does not sound the same,” $crilla said. “We have something for everyone. People who don’t even like rap say that they feel our music.”

$crilla’s own musical influences can be described as versatile as well. He says he listens to everything from Jay-Z to Al Green to Coldplay.

“I have an appreciation for all types of music,” $crilla said. “I can appreciate what each artist brings to the table and it helps to fuel my own music.”

The next step for $crilla and his crew would be to have a label notice them and sign them to a record deal, something $crilla believes is inevitable.

“I want to have a label take note and see that those guys have talent,” $crilla said. “I feel we are so close. Everyone in Kent has been so supportive and I feel like it is only a matter of time before we take it to the next level.”

$crilla and the Shank La Familia perform Wednesday at 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $5.

Contact off-campus entertainment reporter Ben Plassard at [email protected]