Ruebx Qube is the epitome of a man who is about his business. Between starting a dance challenge (#likemecomoyochallenge) ON Instagram, focusing on early childhood development and leadership for at-risk youth through his charity, releasing a children’s book series entitled “E.J. & Friends,” and creating his own IOS Emojis, “Hoodmojis,” being a musician and a producer may sound like small fries in comparison. Starting his career as both a ghostwriter and producing for several big artists in both Hip-Hop & EDM, Ruebx Qube, born Eric Neal, organically built a loyal fanbase that has reached worldwide recognition in countries such as, Colombia, Romania, and the UK.
Although Ruebx was living his best life with the release of his highly anticipated music video, “Like Me (Como Yo!)”, tragedy struck when his mother unexpectedly passed away. Calling this time in his career “bittersweet” and “difficult”. “Both losing my mother and releasing music for my fans has been a difficult task. But like everything I’ve been through in my life, I’ve turned my pain into positive vibes.” I recently sat down with Ruebx to talk about musical influences, his dream of working with Jay-Z, IHope4you Inc., and his latest partnership with Publix Supermarkets.
Who were/are your music influences?
Ruebx Qube: I have a wide range of musical influences from Michael Jackson to Jay Z. I’m influenced by Lincoln Park, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, and Will.I.Am to name a few. All of these are eclectic influences and are a reflection as to why my name is Ruebx Qube. I have different sides and different colors. I’m complex to figure out. I feel that Michael Jackson was one of the first artists that I’ve heard that always thought outside of the box. He’s the greatest entertainer of all time in my opinion from live shows to crossing genres. Jay Z is a musical influence to me due to his longevity in music and how he adapted with time to still remain relevant today. I admire Lincoln Park as entertainers who pushed their sound and dominated their respective genre without fear or criticism. They crossed over to the hip-hop genre and not only blurred the lines between alternative rock and hip hop but also the racial line as well. Kanye West is a musical historian. I feel that his musical genius stems from that very trait. He samples music from the 60s, 70s, and 80s that most of this generation have never heard but were big hits in our grandparents and great-grandparents’ generation. For him to modernize it is part of his genius in my opinion. I think Pharrell Williams is our modern day Quincy Jones. I feel that musically there is nothing he can’t do from singles to movie scores to film. I admire how he uses those platforms to push the culture forward. If there is anyone that I can aspire to be in this industry, it definitely would be him. I feel like Will.I.Am is musically one of the pioneers that helped hip-hop in its international appeal. His music was instrumental in breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for future artists of color to be accepted in the same realm both musically and in the tech industry.
What albums did you grow up listening to, and how did it inspire you to be the artist that you are today?
Ruebx Qube: The first album that I had a chance to listen to on my own, (I know I was too young to listen to it but I grew up in the hood so it was a regular thing), was Bone Thugs -n- Harmony – “The Art of War.” Listening to that album inspired me to not only rap on records but to sing on records as well. That was the first time personally that I heard rappers actually sing and rap on the same record. They were kind of a one-stop shop. They didn’t need any outside features because they had all the elements to create a genius album. That was the biggest influence on me as an artist for sure. The “Blueprint” album was impactful on me for a few reasons. That day was a very weird day for me and other Americans. The album was released on September 11th, the same day as the attack on the Twin Towers. I was in school, of course, but I felt like even though that was one of the worst times in my life, that was also one of the best albums that I’ve heard in my lifetime still today. That was the very moment I became a Jay Z fan when he showed a young kid from the hood how to carry himself and how to move and be accepted in the mainstream market. That was very important to me especially as a black kid that aspired to be a great black man.
What was the first song that you wrote and what was it about?
Ruebx Qube: I’ve written hundreds of songs, but the earliest song that meant the most was a song I wrote called “Still In Love With You.” The reason it was the most important was that it was based on a true story. Any other song before this was mostly freestyle/cipher content. To my knowledge, this was one of the first songs that had true substance. It got the most impact when I released it on the mixtape circuit in my hometown. And it actually is what got the attention from big producers that put me on.
What would be your dream collaboration with any rapper/singer or producer?
Ruebx Qube: I would love to do a record toe-to-toe with Jay Z because he is the GOAT in my eyes. On a collaboration with a singer, I would have to go with the hometown hero Beyonce. But if I wanted to think outside of the box, I’d like to do a record with Adele. As far as any producer outside of myself, I would choose Timbaland. I think he’s one of the most underrated GOATs of all time.
Tell me a little about your latest release, “Like Me (Como Yo!)? Who produced it? What inspired it?
Ruebx Qube: My latest release “Like Me (Como Yo!), was produced by myself, Ruebx Qube. I also wrote and performed the production as well. What inspired it really was Miami living. Miami has been my home for the past 8 years now, and I’ve immersed myself in the Miami culture. So, I felt that for this record I’d give homage to the city that took my career to an international level. Since I moved to Miami, I’ve been exposed not only to the Latin American culture but also the European culture as well. This has allowed me to collaborate with the biggest names in EDM. Through that experience, it brought me around full circle to create this fun tropical vibe record.
You are the founder of IHope4you Inc, an organization focused on early childhood development and leadership for at-risk youth, what was the motivation behind creating this organization?
Ruebx Qube: My motivation in creating IHope4you is because I was one of those kids. I am one of those kids. As a kid, I always wished that I was fortunate enough to have mentors that look like me and understood where I was coming from. Mentors that use their platform to create opportunities that in any other circumstance wouldn’t be there. I feel like empowering those kids can change their direction and give them the tools to succeed.
How does IHope4you define success and are you reaching it?
Ruebx Qube: We define success through our outreach to at-risk youth. We are not in this for any monetary gains or any unnecessary publicity. We literally go into the schools ourselves and reach out to the kids one-on-one with the help from our local school districts. Our outreach is volunteer based. So the more volunteers we can obtain, the more districts we can cover. But we’ve been making great strides considering we are only a year old. We also have great partnerships. Our latest partnership is with Publix Supermarkets. We are in the Florida markets currently and are expanding to the Las Vegas, Southern California, and Houston regions.
Taking time from creating music and founding “IHope4you Inc.”, you released a children’s book series entitled “E.J. & Friends.”, How important do you feel children literacy is to early childhood development?
Ruebx Qube: Like the old saying goes, “Knowledge is Power.” And literacy is the key to knowledge. So creating the book series not only gets the kids interested in reading, but it also allows them to see characters that are relatable to them. With the positive messages and stories, we can also give these kids morals and values that aren’t always taught at home or in schools.
What is the importance of the connections you make? How can you utilize them?
Ruebx Qube: Your network in your net worth. Having connections is great, but in this industry, it’s not about what you can get from those connections. It’s about what you can offer to those connections. You have to be of value to contribute to someone else’s success before wanting assistance to your success. It’s the basic “I scratch your back, you scratch my back” mentality.
What are your thoughts about the music scene today?
Ruebx Qube: I think it’s great. It’s a great opportunity for artists with the evolution of the internet. I feel that as a creative if used right, the internet can be a direct contact with the fans. So, you don’t need a record label to approve release dates or control creative ideas. I feel like we are in a free market. I think that free is the new rich.
What can we expect from Ruebx Qube in 2019?
Ruebx Qube: Musically, I plan to release more records and more vibes from both RnB and Hip-hop, maybe even a few more EDM records. I also have an alternative pop record that I plan to release in 2019 with a special featured artist out of Atlanta.
What advice would you give to a young musician that wants to get into the game?
Ruebx Qube: Master your craft. And just as much as you study the craft of music, study the craft of business as well. In order to prepare yourself for the music industry, being a master of both is key because the music business isn’t always about talent. It’s about the ability to market yourself and to generate income off of that marketing. That’s why reading and literacy is even further important.