“I am a Christian rapper out of San Antonio, Texas. I am a Cuban-American: both of my parents were born in Cuba.”
Growing up in south Texas, hip-hop has been a big influence in Eric Heron’s life. “I know at every sports event we ever played, we were bumping hip-hop.”
The first time he wrote a rhyme was to help his younger brother complete a school assignment to write a poem. Heron decided to write a remix of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights.” “That’s when I first started liking hip-hop and got into the actual art and craft of it.”
After he got an iPhone, he used the Voice Memos app to play a beat on YouTube and record himself rapping over it.
“Those were like the first songs I’ve ever made. I’m glad no one’s ever heard them but me.”
Over the years, Heron kept practicing his craft and getting better at rapping. “Eventually the songs started getting good enough that people liked them.”
Growing up, his family would go to church on Christmas and Easter, but nothing more than that. “Around sixteen or seventeen I was introduced to Christian Rap.” One of the first albums he listened to was Rehab by Lecrae. He was “trying to see what this Christianity thing was all about.”
For a few years after that, Heron said he considered himself Christian but was not living out his faith. “I’m finally starting to learn what proper theology [is], what a proper biblical lifestyle is, and just trying to live a Godly lifestyle.”
In February of this year, Heron and producer OnBeatMusic (OB) got together to work on a project.
“We just sat with one idea and that was to talk about life, to talk about what we’re going through.”
Heron said that recording with OnBeatMusic was a very hands-on process. “This is the first project and group of songs I’ve ever done where I actually worked with a producer from scratch and in person.”
“The whole EP kind of runs in a little video game theme. Me and OB are big gamers… We didn’t think it was very often, so we thought it would be a cool idea to do something like that.”
The project’s title, Duos, is named after two-player games. Duos begins with “Press Start.” “Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s difficult, it’s hard.” He notes that in many video games when your character dies, you have to start over, pressing the Start button. Heron wants to encourage listeners to “just keep fighting and keep going.”
OnBeatMusic made the beat for “Paul Newman” before Heron started writing any of it. The chorus goes, “New man like Paul no Newman, shout them out like ‘Who them.’” Paul Newman is a famous actor, having acted in nearly 100 films and TV shows between 1949 and his death in 2008.
“We are new men, new creations when we come to the faith, but we’re not Paul Newman’s. We’re not big stars.”
“Clickbait” was inspired by OB’s idea of being the same person offline as you are on social media. The song features Dillon Chase. “I’m writing this verse almost as a warning to me, ‘Hey, don’t be this guy.’”
“Duos” follows “Clickbait” and was the first song Heron and OB made together for the project. “We’re here to make dope music… its basically an introduction to who we are.” OnBeatMusic’s voice is on the hook: it was his first time having his vocals on a song.
“Gente” is a Spanish word for “people” and is the name of one of the songs on Duos. Heron said he is not a great Spanish speaker, but it is the language of his family from Cuba. OnBeatMusic is of Mexican descent.
“We’re both from south Texas, a very Hispanic part of the country. We just wanted to rep our people, our culture.”
The final song and Heron’s favorite is “Game Over.” “This is where we wanted to get grand and talk about the big things in life.” The chorus goes “the game’s over but it ain’t over ‘til He calls us in and says, ‘Well done.’” This is inspired by a parable found in Matthew 25 about servanthood, which reads (NIV) “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.”
Outside of music, Eric Heron loves playing video games, reading about philosophy and theology, and working out. His favorite game right now is Fornite.