ImageTrey Garrett, a.k.a. Rizz, started writing remix verses in middle school with a group of friends called Kryptic. At first, they formed the band to compete with a rival rap group at his school, but then they started investing in studio time and performing. You can hear a sample of his music on That’s So Philly’s Soundcloud page. Philadelphia Stories Jr. asked Rizz to tell us a little about his music and performing life. Trey will be performing at the free Yo! Teen Philly Fringe Festival event on September 21, from 7-9 at the First Unitarian Church.

When did you first begin rapping?

I have been rapping for a little over three years. I wasn’t always a performer. I was just playing around until about a year ago. In fact, my first actual performance was at a Sweet 16 this year.

Do you ever get stage fright?

The only time I get stage fright is every time the audience gets bigger, which is almost all the time. How I get through it is just remember how other rappers perform, and occasionally close my eyes to temporarily calm me down. My advice to others with stage fright is to just let loose because the more comfortable you are with the audience, the more fans you get.

How is rap different or similar to poetry?

Rap is exactly like poetry without the catchy lines and constant cursing. It’s still a spoken word and they can be interchangeable. Rap writing and song writing are different because songs focus more on a melody with a hidden message while rap involves more language to hit straight to the core.

In your original rap called “Juicy,” you made allusions to Mary Poppins, Jack Frost, and Randy Moss. How important is it in rap to reference pop culture?

Rap is important to pop culture because that’s the easiest way to relate to the general population: by relating to the most popular thing out. I tried to make connections with my references because as soon as someone hear’s how the name works in the line, they’ll realize my lyricism.

If you could perform on stage with any rapper or artist, either alive or deceased, who would it be and why?

If I could perform with one artist, it would be Mac Miller. Simply because he’s one to have a lot of fun on the stage but still can tell the crowd a story.

Who are you most influenced by as a rapper?

There is really no one person who influenced me to write. It’s basically all other artists who have made it big and are generally around my age. I guess some songs that really appeal to me are Logic’s “Roll Call” & PV Truest’s “The Nightmare.” My favorite line, though, comes from a different artist, Wale, who said: “When someone says ‘f*** you’, it’s heard as a scream, but when someone says ‘you’re the greatest’, it’s a subtle whisper.”

What do you like to write and rap about most?

I rap about everything. Good things such as memories, family time, love, partying and general ‘feel good’ music to bad things like relationship issues, family conflicts, negative things I see and personal problems.

I read on the That’s So Philly Facebook page that you are still connected to the collaborative group you helped form called Kryptic. What is it like working with other rappers and artists your age?

I like working with people my age. For example, in Kryptic we all have the same mindset and we’re always on the same page, and that helps when you want support or just a mind that thinks like you. Working in a group and working solo each has its ups and downs. When you’re solo, you’re free to make your own decisions without anyone getting in the way, but it’s just you out there. With a group you can have backup on stage and in life but sometimes not everyone progresses as fast as others.

Do you plan to continue performing as you move on to college and beyond? Do you have any plans or goals in mind yet, or is college too far in the future to think about right now?

I never plan to stop rapping or writing when I leave or after I come back from college. The only thing I have to figure out is how I’m going to keep my momentum while I’m in school outside of my home town.

What are you looking forward to at the Yo! Teen Philly Fringe Festival?

I’m most looking forward to the exposure that could come out of this.

Do you think it’s important to be exposed to other young artists, like yourself?

I think it is EXTREMELY important for other artists to know who I am–and not just artists, but everyone my age. My gimmick is the fact that I don’t curse, and that is what people my age need to see. Just because a rapper curses and says vulgar things doesn’t mean he’s good.

 — By Rachel Mamola