John Reuben

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John Reuben
John Reuben at a LifeLight Concert April 2009.JPG
John Reuben on LifeLight tours in Huron, South Dakota, in April 2009
Background information
Birth nameJohn Reuben Zappin
Born (1979-01-14) January 14, 1979 (age 41)
Columbus, Ohio, United States
OriginPataskala, Ohio, U.S.
GenresHip hop, alternative hip hop, Christian hip hop
Occupation(s)Recording artist
Years active1994–present

John Reuben (born John Reuben Zappin; January 14, 1979) 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.[1][2][3] 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.[4]

Reuben continues to tour, and has played and recorded music with many popular Christian music artists such as Five Iron Frenzy, Relient K, The O.C. Supertones, Luke Dowler, Hawk Nelson, MC Lars, and TobyMac.[1][5][6][7]


Reuben is of Jewish heritage[8][9] and according to his MySpace, his mother is the owner of a Christian Death Metal record label.[10][11] His brother is Maker Studio CEO Danny Zappin.[12] 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[1] at the age of fifteen.[13] 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.[1] TobyMac, 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 in September 2005

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."[1] Once thought to be a Christian version of Eminem,[13] Reuben's first two releases established him as an original, witty, sarcastic musician, as well as Gotee's top-selling solo rap artist.[14]

Reuben in 2005

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 which allow a glimpse into Reuben's struggles and self-doubt. Adrienne Camp of The Benjamin Gate contributes vocals to two tracks on the album.[14]

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.[15]

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. Relient K's Matt Thiessen contributed to the album's second track, "Nuisance". Tim Skipper of the band House of Heroes appeared on the track "So Glad".[2] On this album most of Reuben's songs used more "traditional" musical instruments, typically the guitar, though he experimented with many different instruments and musical styles.

At this time Reuben also filmed and released the pilot for a reality show detailing his "rise" to stardom while poking fun at many of the conventions of reality television. Though the show was never picked up the pilot was released on YouTube.[16]

Reuben released his fifth album, Word of Mouth, on February 6, 2007 which took on more experimental characteristics, with the aid of Beck producer Joe Baldridge.[17] called Word of Mouth an "unqualified triumph" and said that "You won't find a truer, more honest, or more celebratory album this year."[18] Two songs from the album, "Focus" and "Good Evening," were included in the 2007 video game, Thrillville: Off the Rails.[citation needed]

Gotee Records released Reuben's sixth studio album, Sex, Drugs and Self-Control on December 22, 2009. The first single, "Town Folk" was released on July 14, 2009. The next single, "Jamboree", was released August 18, 2009. Followed by "Confident", which was released September 15, 2009, "No be Nah" was released October 14, 2009.

In 2010 a best of collection entitled Zappin was released, before Reuben entered an unannounced musical hiatus that would span until fall of 2016. It was at this time that in anticipation of his next album, Reuben released two singles, "Old as Religion" on September 16,[19] and on December 9, a collaboration with Issac Ryan Brown and Aaron Cole, titled "Angel and Drums".[20] On May 19, 2017 Reuben independently released his seventh studio album Reubonic.[21] The album stirred minor controversy for the inclusion of several curse words within the lyrics, Reuben quickly responded on Instagram and was unapologetic.[22]


Studio albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

  • 2004: So in Hindsight the Professional Rapper Isn't There Yet
  • 2010: Zappin (The Best of)

Music videos[edit]

  • "Do Not"
  • "Doin'"
  • "Move"
  • "Nuisance"
  • "Good Evening"
  • "Make Money Money"
  • "Trying Too Hard"
  • "Word of Mouth"
  • "Town Folk"
  • "No Be Nah"
  • "Confident"
  • "Jamboree"
  • "Candy Coated Razor Blades"
  • "Fallen"
  • "Bury This Verse"
  • "Future Nostalgia"

Guest appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Breimeier, Russ (May 2002). "John Reuben - Hindsight." Christianity Today. Retrieved February 6, 2007.
  2. ^ a b Farias, Andree (2005). "John Reuben - The Boy vs. The Cynic." Christianity Today. Retrieved February 7, 2007.
  3. ^ "Biography of John Reuben." Christianity Today. Retrieved February 6, 2007.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 10, 2011. Retrieved April 2, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)[better source needed]
  5. ^ "Fundraiser focused on fight against slavery". Daily Herald Tribune.
  6. ^ "industryinsider - Five Iron Frenzy Headlines 'THE ELECTRIC YOUTH TOUR' - Christian Activities".
  7. ^ "The JFH Concert Reviews and Dates: Fly Me To The Show Tour (Hawk Nelson, John Reuben, Britt Nicole, Revive) in York, PA".
  8. ^ "". Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  9. ^ "". September 28, 2008. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  10. ^ Archived February 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ US. "". Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  12. ^ Justin Sarachik, “John Reuben has Enough Songs for a New Album,” Rapzilla, March 24, 2016.
  13. ^ a b Powell, Mark Allan (2002). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music (First printing ed.). Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers. p. 757. ISBN 1-56563-679-1.
  14. ^ a b Farias, Andree (December 2003). "John Reuben - Professional Rapper." Christianity Today. Retrieved February 6, 2007.
  15. ^ Farias, Andree (December 2004). "John Reuben - So in Hindsight the Professional Rapper Isn't There Yet." Christianity Today Retrieved February 7, 2006.
  16. ^ ReubonicPlague (May 17, 2006), "The Professional Rapper" (The TV Pilot), retrieved July 4, 2017
  17. ^ "Word of Mouth". Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  18. ^ Whitman, Andy. "Word of Mouth". Allmusic. Archived from the original on June 3, 2009.
  19. ^ " on Twitter". Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  20. ^ "JFH News: John Reuben Teams With Aaron Cole for "Believe" Film Single". Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  21. ^ " John Reuben, "Reubonic" Review". Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  22. ^ "Instagram post by john reuben • Apr 25, 2017 at 3:18pm UTC". Instagram. Retrieved July 4, 2017.

External links[edit]