As a motivational speaker, Breon Thomas has helped people look past their limitations and see the possibilities open to them. And as a musician who records under the name Brebretv, he uses those same inspirational tendencies to create music that speaks to the ways we evaluate and act on our emotions. Always rising up, his music creates a desire to aspire and to want something better for yourself. He pushes himself and those within earshot to look past the superficial and find the beating heart of his musical sentiments.
With the release of his debut record, “Hood of the Priest,” all the way back in 2008, Thomas began to mold a sound that blended the earnestness of gospel with the beats of modern hip-hop. He shared stages with the likes of Kirk Franklin and Tenth Avenue North, and continued to develop a rap aesthetic that relied more on experimentation than on the usual bland platitudes. His music combines live instrumentation with packaged rhythms and mercurial melodies, revealing a deep awareness of the connections that hold these sounds together.
On recent single “Tha Valley,” he builds a forceful momentum filled with expressive piano lines, strings and skittering beats that fade purposefully in and out of the background. His voice rises and creates a jarring noise that commands your attention. Equal parts warning and encouragement, the track revels in its excitable nature, a fierce proclamation of independence from the harsh circumstances of their past.
There’s some dark skirting around the edges of the song, a chasm ready to swallow those without the nerve to take the steps necessary to extricate themselves from bad situations. Sometimes, you need a helping hand, and Thomas makes it his business to be there when the time comes for you to reach out, even if it’s just giving motivation through music. A propulsive beat anchors the track, creating the necessary weight for it to strike the proper chord in terms of emotional relevance. Brebretv wants to help, and “Tha Valley” is one way he extends his hand when you absolutely have to hold on to something.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.