DFW Music News

EB Rebel Wants Southern Hospitality and No Boxes

She may be in Brooklyn now, but rapper EB Rebel's heart belongs to Texas.
She may be in Brooklyn now, but rapper EB Rebel's heart belongs to Texas. Fela Raymond
When EB Rebel left Dallas for Brooklyn in 2016, she carried her hometown with her, at least in her heart. The musician kept close contact with her Dallas creative community, enlisting many old friends for her future musical projects. It was her mother, however, who served as the inspiration for her 2018 EP.

The album, Mama I’m Ok, tracks Rebel’s move to Brooklyn and the struggles that followed. The EP is filled throughout with clips of actual voicemails from her mother, at the beginning and the end of a few tracks.

“One night I called her, and then I fell asleep,” Rebel says. “So when she returned the call, I didn't pick up because I was asleep. She just kept calling and she left that series of voicemails.”

The EP opens with a song called “Club 27,” which details Rebel’s journey meeting with record label executives and other music industry bigwigs, a process she found draining. She put herself in the shoes of some of her favorite artists, Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain — all of whom are members of the infamous “27 club,” named after a long list of artists who died at age 27— and imagines how they felt “coming into fame and not knowing who to trust.”

EB Rebel enjoys the freedom to be “as genreless as possible.” While her older material amalgamates hip-hop and R&B, her newer work is pure hip-hop, and her specialty is introspective rap bars.

In April, Rebel released a new track called “Idol” on which she aggressively announces her presence and lets us know she’s coming for the crown. “I don’t do no lines, the ones I spit sublime,” she shouts over a brooding trap-influenced beat. She’s more focused on her craft than on winning over listeners.

“I don't typically try to do something that is gonna yield any type of response from anyone,” she says. “I just kind of do what feels right in that moment. That's why some songs may be more melodic and other songs may be more lyric-based.”

Musically, Rebel refuses to be boxed in. She applies the same principle to her identity. Rebel is queer and identifies as non-binary.

As her stage name suggests, she wants people who listen to her music to not be afraid to be themselves and to “rebel” against societal norms.

“I don't typically try to do something that is gonna yield any type of response from anyone ... I just kind of do what feels right in that moment." –EB Rebel

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In August, the artist will release a new single called “Texas Cowgirl,” which takes her back to her Texas roots. The song features fellow Dallas artist Jui$e Leroy as they rap over a bouncy, piano-infused beat, similar to those in early UGK tracks.

The song’s release will be accompanied by a music video filmed in Deep Ellum, which sees Rebel dancing while wearing a Luka Doncic jersey and switching up a variety of cowgirl hats.

While the 28-year-old likes living in Brooklyn, she says she misses “almost everything” about Texas, particularly its culture of courtesy. The self-proclaimed “country kid” longs for Southern hospitality, but there are also those smaller, intricate details that can only be found in the South and make her feel most at home.

“My favorite pickles are from Texas,” she says. “I can’t get them up here! Moving to Brooklyn was a beneficial move, but my heart is always in the D. So I try to rep as much as I can.”
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Alex Gonzalez has been a contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2018. He is a Dallas native whose work has appeared in Local Profile, MTV News and the Austin American-Statesman. He has eclectic taste in music and enjoys writing about art, food and culture.
Contact: Alex Gonzalez