In the music world C-Red is an emcee, songwriter, producer, graphic artist, and an executive. Outside of music, C-Red is a doctor, helping to heal the sick – God’s work. The two worlds merge on a weekly basis when Red dons scrubs and a white lab coat to spit rhymes over various instrumentals on her Instagram page in a series she calls #WhiteCoatWednesdays.
The Houston based rapper kicked off 2022 with the release of an EP titled HEIR (Having Everything Inside Revealed). HEIR is produced entirely by the musical trio known as The Roux. With the success of HEIR and the buzz of #WhiteCoatWednesdays C-Red is gearing up to give fans another dose of substantive spittin’.
The Real Hip-Hop spoke with C-Red about the HEIR EP, the origin of #WhiteCoatWednesdays, and how she balances Hip-Hop with being a clinician.
TRHH: Why’d you title the EP HEIR?
C-Red: That’s a good question. It’s meant to be an acronym. It’s meant to stand for “having everything inside revealed.” I feel like a lot of the project is me kind of sharing my inner-thoughts and things that are most important to me, whether they be personally or professionally. I talk a lot about my family and stuff like that on the album. So, when I was trying to think of something that embodied what I was trying to do on each song and where I was trying to come from, a lot of it was this internal stream of consciousness spillage. I knew that having a long title would be not great for marketing purposes and people being able to talk about it freely, so I came up with HEIR [laughs]. It just embodied everything that I was trying to do with each of the songs.
TRHH: How did you hook up with The Roux and decide to do a project?
C-Red: The Roux is made up of three people; Jermaine Williams — he plays guitar, bass, drums, and has some engineering experience, King Mason – he does a lot of the keys, organs, and orchestral arrangements, and Kay – he does a lot of sample chopping and drum programming. I did a show with Jermaine completely unrelated to their group in 2017 or something like that. It was a situation where they picked out the artists they wanted to be in the show, we had our set music, but then they had a band play over our music at the show. So, we didn’t rehearse or anything before that. I did my set and it was well-received by the crowd and everything. Jermaine and I exchanged contact information after the show. I think we did one or two more after that.
He hit me up after that and was like, “Hey, do you have time to meet? I want to talk to you about this production team that I’m a part of. I think that we can produce a project for you that would be special.” We met up over some coffee and were talking logistics and stuff like that. I think maybe 2-3 weeks later I went out to Kay’s crib and they had basically put together a track list of different beats, but they organized it into a project. I just sat down and listened to the whole thing and I was like, “Whoa!” We ended up not choosing all of those songs. We did some different things, but that was my introduction to having live instrumentation be a part of a project. It took a little while, but I think it turned out decent [laughs].
TRHH: How long did it take?
C-Red: Man, we started working on that project probably in the end of 2019. We kind of got messed up with COVID. It derailed everything. So, we started working on it in the end of 2019. I was in medical school at the time, so I didn’t have a ton of time. They would send me beats, I would write stuff, then go over there and record stuff. That’s kind of how it went down. We started working on it in the end of 2019, finished it up in 2021, and I was able to release it in February of this year.
TRHH: On the single “God Willing” you say “I walk by faith/To shine my light so they see my father and not my face.” How long has your faith in God been at the forefront of your life?
C-Red: Man, I got saved when I was 8, so, since then [laughs]. Not every single moment, obviously, but just as kind of a guiding light and principle, for sure. I would say it’s definitely gotten stronger the older I’ve gotten and kind of understanding how it’s helped me get through some really, really tough times but also celebrate some really great ones, too. Almost my entire life.
TRHH: How did #WhiteCoatWednesdays come about? That’s how I discovered you.
C-Red: Well, thank you so much. I appreciate you. My husband, my boyfriend at the time, he has a lot of dope, visionary, and creative ideas. He was like, “You have these two dope things that you’re doing, but you’re kind of doing them in silos. You’re in med-school and nobody really knows you do music. You do music and nobody really knows this part of your journey. You should find a way to merge them together. You can call it ‘White Coat Wednesday.’ Play off WCW, people use it all the time. It will be dope.” He told me this in like 2018. I didn’t want to do it. I had multiple reasons why I didn’t want to do it.
We got married in July of last year and after we got married I started taking it a little more seriously. One, because it forced me to write consistently, and just from a honing my craft and kind of trying to get better artistically standpoint, I liked how my pen game was getting sharper and quicker. Just by like, if I didn’t write anything else in that week I was at least going to write that verse. It gave me the opportunity to check out a lot of different producers that either I was a fan of or didn’t know about. I have homies that send me different reels of people making beats that I think are dope. So, that was another thing that I liked about doing it.
I think more importantly than those two, was kind of seeing people respond to it. And not from an ego thing like, “oh, she’s dope” but more the messages I would get like, “I look forward to this every week. It inspires me to do more things on my creative journey or be able to take certain risks educationally or professionally.” That’s really why I keep doing it – even on the weeks that I don’t want to do it. It’s opened up a lot of doors for me. My husband would say it’s not surprising, but it’s surprising for me, kind of forcing yourself to be consistent and really take hold of something that is kind of bigger than myself. It’s been dope and it’s opened some interesting doors. I’m glad I decided to stick with it [laughs].
TRHH: See, you gotta listen to your husband [laughs]!
C-Red: [Laughs] As long as you tell him to listen to me, too.
TRHH: Right. So, what do you practice?
C-Red: I’m in residency right now. I don’t know if a lot of people understand how the medical field works for doctor’s, but I’ll just explain quickly. So, you go through undergrad. A lot of people do pre-med – you can kind of do anything as long as you take certain classes, then you go to medical school and that’s four years. In medical school you decide what kind of doctor you want to be, whether it’s primary care, surgery, psychiatry, ophthalmology, dermatology, whatever. I decided I wanted to do urology. They are basically surgeons that work on the urinary system from the kidneys, down to the bladder, to where your urine comes out. I kind of fell in love with that when I was in medical school and I decided that I would pursue that for residency and matched into that program. It’s five years though, so I’m in my fourth month of sixty [laughs]. I’m training to be a surgeon in that field.
TRHH: I’m curious, why urology?
C-Red: The quick answer is it’s the one specialty I thought I could do without getting bored very quickly. I struggle to do the same things over and over again frequently without them being interesting. I like to work with my hands. I used to be an engineer before all the medical school stuff, so I like to work with my hands. I like being able to be in clinic a little bit, but also being able to be in operating rooms and doing procedures. The type of procedures that we get to do, the wide array of patients that we get to see, it was one of those things where if I had to wake up every day and do this for a job I felt like I could do it. Even on the rough days like today when I’m tired [laughs].
TRHH: I’m sorry to keep you.
C-Red: No, no, no! You’re good. I appreciate your time, truly.
TRHH: How difficult is it to balance your residency and Hip-Hop?
C-Red: It’s hard. I would say creating the art isn’t the part that’s hard for me right now. I think the thing that’s most frustrating is not being able to pick up and go and do things. You know when you’re an artist you also have to be front-facing with people, doing shows, and being in studios. I feel like for where I’m at right now that part has probably been the most frustrating. I can’t just pick up and go to L.A or go to New York for a weekend because I’m probably going to be on call. I create in the pockets that I have time for it, and I make time for it. I don’t think that it’s been too bad from that angle. I would say not being able to go to events, not being able to pop in and out of different cities, not being able to be face-to-face with people and different artists as frequently as I would like to be is probably the hardest part right now.
TRHH: On the song “Mama Told Me” you say “You were born to be great, what you waiting for?” Why do you think so many of us don’t know that we were born to be great and how do we instill that in ourselves?
C-Red: I don’t know. I can only speak for myself. I think that there is a lot of different reasons why a person’s self-image or self-perception might be skewed. Knowing my personality, I don’t want to call myself a perfectionist now, but I used to be. Any time I would fall short or not do things perfectly it would kind of get me down on my abilities or my natural whatevers [laughs] to be able to do certain things. I also think that a lot of black American’s especially, I don’t want to say we grow up with a chip on our shoulder per se, but in order to get a certain amount of respect in different realms or different settings you always have to have this certain, “oh, they’re able to speak clearly!” You know what I’m saying [laughs]? It’s just a lot of different external factors trying to box you in to where people think you can or can’t be or should or should not be. From that perspective, if you’re raised by people who think that way or are trying to conform to a certain image to be accepted in society or their workplace or whatever, that can kind of dampen the things that God has put into you that make you unique.
Both of my parents have been very supportive of my creativity, but also were like, “All right, we know you like this music stuff, but make sure you have a job.” Although, they never tried to stop me from pursuing or dreaming big, there is also still kind of an “Okay, that’s cool but make sure that you bla, bla, bla.” I think instilling that in myself came from my parents first letting me know that I can be who I want to be and do the things that I wanted to do. If there was something that I wanted to do I just needed to figure out how to do it. In adulthood it’s been more of figuring out what’s most important to me instead of what other people think should be most important to me, and kind of going after those things. That’s my personal answer. There are things that people can take from that for themselves, but every case is different.
TRHH: Going back, you talked about the difficulty in not being able to get up and go for the Hip-Hop stuff, that kind of boxes you in a little bit. I’m sure you have a realistic goal, but what are your goals musically considering your job?
C-Red: To reach as many ears as possible. By any means necessary. Technology has kind of helped and hurt the music industry in that regard, because I can do a lot of things remotely. I’m working with people who are very, very dope and we just hop on a zoom call or send e-mails or texts back and forth to get things done. So, I think now it’s more of figuring out how to market things effectively. Which is hard because I’m not interested in that. I’m more interested in the art than the business part [laughs], even though I know how to do it. I used to try to be like, “I want to make this much money from my music in a year” or “have this many streams.”
I don’t know, I don’t really have any limitations on it now. I just want to make the best music that I can make right now, really foster the creative relationships that I have right now, and kind of allow those to blossom. I think what’s for me will be for me, and God is going to open the doors for things to be open for things to happen. I’m just kind of here trying to give the best that I can and see what happens from there. I don’t know. We’ll see. I have visions, but we’ll just see how they pan out [laughs].
TRHH: What’s next up for C-Red? What else do you have cooking?
C-Red: The two next projects that I have coming out, one is with my homie Tony Dark. He’s a Houston based producer. We have an EP called “In Good Faith” that should be dropping soon – maybe toward the end of the year. I’ve also been working with another producer named Agent M. He’s based in Atlanta right now. We’re getting ready to drop some singles soon – I’m excited about those. Definitely more visuals. I like the visual thing, I just like them to be at a certain level and a certain quality, so some of those can take a little while. And #WhiteCoatWednesdays [laughs]. Those are the things to look forward to, and hopefully some more things can happen in between. I’m just blessed to be here and I appreciate your time and everything.
Purchase: C-Red & The Roux – HEIR