During a time when the rap world is saturated with trap artists and the use of profanity and sexually explicit lyrics, Denver’s Connor Ray takes a markedly different approach. Although he does not use any profanity in his music and tries to keep things uplifting and positive, he still manages to make hip-hop that captivates and wins over the same people who listen to harder rap.
Ray has been making music since he was 17, when he and a group of friends started to rap and booked time in a friend’s studio. Ever since then, Ray has had a love affair with music, even though he is not a snob when it comes to what he listens to.
“I kind of reached a creative peak with that where if I am going to smoke, I use it as a tool as well as for relaxation. I feel like it has showed me different ways my mind can go, because honestly, not everybody smokes, but everybody kind of has that energy and understanding of what it is, that vibe, and I try and capture that energy . . .”
“Surprisingly enough I don’t really listen to much music or know much about the history of music,” he told CULTURE. “I just like good music. Right now I really like J. Cole. I really like a lot of conscious rappers and stuff like that. I’m not really into trap music all the time or that kind of thing; I just like good music.”
Ray came out with his first release, Worth It, featuring the single “Lil Bam Bam,” on December 2016, his birthday. With a focus on flow and lyricism rather than shock value or over-the-top production, Ray put a lot of time and energy into this first release.
When it comes to cannabis, Ray has been a long-time smoker, but doesn’t rely on constantly using it. Instead, he tries to use his sessions with cannabis to bring out as much creativity as possible, and capture the vibe of the cannabis user even when he is sober.
“I used to be like straight up every day 24/7 smoker, and that was when I initially really was in my beginning stages of music every single day and night,” he explained. “I was smoking and hot boxing my car, but now I kind of reached a creative peak with that where if I am going to smoke I use it as a tool as well as for relaxation. I feel like it has showed me different ways my mind can go, because honestly, not everybody smokes, but everybody kind of has that energy and understanding of what it is, that vibe, and I try and capture that energy and understanding without being high too because I know it so well. I can make music you can smoke to, even if you are not smoking.”
Cannabis is also important to Ray because his family has been affected by cancer, so he hopes that research into the medical side of the plant can continue. “I think when it comes to legalization, something that could be done better is more research. It just seems like they are trying to make money,” he complained.
Ray is continuing to write music and play shows around Denver, and is hoping to take his career even further and stick with the challenge of making music without relying on typical crutches used in rap. Look out for more music soon, stream or buy his current record, and expect to see him playing in the Denver area throughout 2017.