Union County News

Clark’s Ren Thomas Talks About Making it in Hip Hop and Reality TV

ffe95766c16cbd3ed971_ren_thomas.jpg
Credits: Courtesy of Ren Thomas
72e20b870e35c7e1c4af_ren_thomas_3.jpg
Credits: Courtesy of Ren Thomas
e5d5dfc6c56cd5cf0ed6_ren_thomas_4.jpg
Credits: Courtesy of Ren Thomas
2caa7fa964634804361e_ren_thomas_2.jpg
Credits: Courtesy of Ren Thomas
ffe95766c16cbd3ed971_ren_thomas.jpg

CLARK, NJ – People living in suburbia don’t expect one of their own to make it as a hip-hop artist.  Rappers don’t expect someone born and raised in a small suburban New Jersey town like Clark to have what it takes. Hip-hop MC Ren Thomas is proving them all wrong.

“I fell in love with hip-hop when I was about 8 or 9,” said Thomas, who will be on VH1’s newest reality show, “Signed.” His older cousin had a group of friends who would get together and rap. Thomas said it started out as him trying to impress the older kids. As he began writing his own verses, his love for the music grew.

Thomas said his parents have always been supportive of his choice to pursue his dream of being a hip-hop MC. 

Sign Up for E-News

“My dad even helped me build a studio down in our basement,” said Thomas. While other teenagers were out getting into all kinds of trouble, Thomas said he was in his studio working on his music.  “I think my parents knew it was keeping me out of trouble.”

Thomas faced many naysayers as he shared his dreams with others. According to Thomas, when it came time to talk about college, guidance counselors at Clark’s Arthur L. Johnson were worried when Thomas said he wasn’t going to go. 

“They brought in my parents and everything,” he said.

Even peers sometimes didn’t fully see how Thomas would fulfill his dream. He found himself going out to other towns and cities to surround himself with people who also had a love for hip-hop. 

“I’d see people rapping and ask to join in.  They’d hear where I was from and laugh,” remembered Thomas. But once his turn came, people were pleasantly surprised.

Thomas credits all the doubters for giving him the determination to keep moving forward. 

“They thought I was crazy but it made me want to do it,” Thomas said.

After high school, Thomas got a regular job and would travel to hang out with friends who were away at college. He would always find himself joining in a rap battle and even winning. Eventually he met up with another artist from Roselle who went by the name Tab. They worked on an album together and sold mix-tapes. They got signed by a small label.

Thomas continued to perform locally and make connections with others in the industry. He found himself in rap battle leagues and taking home championships throughout the country and even internationally. 

He made a name for himself as a battle MC in competitions such as Ludicris’ Magnum Live Large Semi Finalist (2012), EOW USA Champion (2013 – placed 3rd worldwide), EOW USA Runner Up (2015) and TeamBackPack 2016 Cypher Championship at Mission Underground New York, which he won.

Thomas is currently working with a label out of Philadelphia called Sensi Starr.  He’s done three nationwide tours with them and recently put out his newest album “I Been Nice.”  With half a million streams on his release under his belt, Thomas said the best is yet to come: “I haven’t peaked yet.”

In his song “Try Again,” Thomas references real-life interactions with fans and how it helps him forget those who doubt him. 

“They don’t know what it is to do these gigs and get off stage and touch hands with these kids, who send messages online, who are fans of the music,” he said. “They were suicidal and my words helped them get through it.”

"Tupac said I'm not saying I'm gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world,” said Thomas, quoting one of his inspirations. To Thomas, that’s what this is all about. While many dream of being part of the hip-hop scene for the money and fame, Thomas is content with reaching people through his music.

You can catch Thomas on “Signed” on Wednesdays at 9 p.m.  You can also follow Thomas on Instagram, Facebookor Twitter.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

Fanwood Grille Soups Voted ‘Best in NJ’ by The Daily Meal

January 19, 2018

FANWOOD, NJ – National food website The Daily Meal, which has released its list of Best Soups in Every State, has chosen the soups at the Fanwood Grille (34 South Martine Avenue, Fanwood, NJ) as the best in New Jersey.

The Daily Meal wrote that “restaurants all throughout the country are making some truly great bowls of soup from scratch, and we’ve tracked down the best ...

Synopsis of Westfield Board of Education Organization Meeting Jan. 9

January 11, 2018

ORGANIZATION OF BOARD 

Business Administrator Dana Sullivan acknowledged Lynn Benner, Kent Diamond and Peggy Oster, who were elected to three-year terms on the Westfield Board of Education on Nov. 7, 2017, and sworn into office prior to the start of the Jan. 9, 2018 meeting.  Ms. Ohlig was nominated to continue as president of the Westfield Board of ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, January 21, 10:00 AM

Temple Sholom, Scotch Plains

Temple Sholom Religious School Open House

Religions And Spirituality

Sun, January 21, 2:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

The Wonderful World of Snow Globes

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, January 21, 2:30 PM

The Reeve History and Cultural Resource Center, Westfield

Westfield Historical Society Presents: T. Thomas ...

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back Home & Garden

Wardlaw+Hartridge Eighth Graders Visit Museum of Natural History

January 19, 2018

On Thursday, Jan. 11, Earth Science students from The Wardlaw+Hartridge School in Edison examined rocks and the processes that form them at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Students toured the museum exploring a range of interests including human origins, meteorites and ocean diversity, and measured how much they would weigh on various planetary bodies. Eighth graders ...

Westfield Police Blotter: Reported Fraud & More

January 17, 2018

January 10, 2018 12:07 a.m.

Ahmad Komara, age 28, of North Brunswick, NJ, was arrested on the strength of an outstanding warrant for his arrest in the amount of $500. Subject was processed and posted bail.

 

January 14, 2018 11:49 a.m.

Kehrry Bernard, age 21, of Elizabeth, NJ, was arrested on the strength of an outstanding warrant for her arrest in the amount of $250 from ...

Point View's Q1 2018 Newsletter Available Now

Point View Wealth Management's First Quarter of 2018 edition of Outlook has published, featuring articles offering a wide range of topics for investors as we enter the New Year, such as:

Potential risks to your investments in 2018;
Wrapping your head around Bitcoin;
Debating the FAANG stocks;
Be cautious on Robo-Advisors; and finally,
Explore and understand ...

How Tax Reform Impacts Your 2017 Tax Returns

The majority of the 2017 tax reform is effective after 2017. I’d like to explain important notes that will impact your 2017 tax returns.

Medical Expenses

Add up those medical expenses! Currently if you itemize your deductions, you can deduct qualifying medical expenses which exceed 10 percent of your adjusted gross income.

Under the new bill the medical ...

Westfield High School Students Perform with Central Jersey Orchestra

Three Westfield High School students — Junlin Yi, Kevin Li and Kelly Eagan — performed with the Central Jersey Music Educators Association Region Orchestra on Jan. 7 at the CJMEA concert held in Montgomery High School. 

According to Craig Stanton, Westfield High School Orchestra Director, "Every year hundreds of students prepare and audition for the ...

Addressing Anxiety in Adolescents

January 16, 2018

Anxiety can be one of the most unpleasant emotions that people feel. The word “anxiety” describes periods of fear, worry, nervousness, and restlessness.

Anxiety comes with thoughts of danger and helplessness. Life experiences, especially those that occurred in childhood and adolescence, often determine our perception and expectations of threats and vulnerability.

We react with ...

Garwood Family Center YMCA Students Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Garwood Family Center YMCA students honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by learning about his role in history.

The Garwood Family Center YMCA is a branch of the Westfield Area YMCA. To learn more about full-day and half-day early learning programs, summer camp, and before and after school care for Garwood students, contact Director Shannon McGillis Jackson ...

Dog Found in Roselle Still Being Held at Newark Shelter

A dog that was found on Jan. 9 is still being held at the Newark Animal Shelter because no owner has claimed him. 

Roselle Police said the dog was found in the area of the Roselle side of Warinanco Park. The dog has a distinct blue eye and brown eye. Police also said the animal was checked and had no chip or tags. 

The Newark Animal Shelter has ...

Governor Signs Legislation — Breastfeeding is Now a Protected Category Under the NJ Law Against Discrimination

Effective Monday, January 8, 2018, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination was amended to include breastfeeding as a protected status. As a result, an employer cannot refuse to hire, cannot discharge and cannot treat someone adversely with regard to the terms, conditions or privileges of their employment because that employee is breastfeeding and needs workplace ...

The New Tax Plan: When It Comes To Real Estate, There are Still Winners

Let’s see who wins and who may lose.

We have all heard a lot about the new tax plan. Depending on your individual financial situation, you may have a positive or negative take on the tax bill. But how does it impact real estate? That also depends on a few things, like where you are buying a house, how much money you have, and what you intend to do with it.

The new tax plan has had a ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 010

On this week’s AtlantiCast, we take you to the groundbreaking for an expansion to Morristown Medical Center, introduce you to the newest babies of 2018 at Atlantic Health System and share some must-see winter weather tips!

 

Mark Zuckerberg Should Be Concerned About His Legacy; Punishing Legitimate Media Organizations and Small Businesses Isn’t the Answer; Regulation Is

Facebook recently announced it will be changing its feed and algorithms so that news from publishers and posts from businesses will be relegated in favor of posts about your neighbor’s cat. 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook is making these changes because he is concerned about his legacy and that of the company he founded. If ...

Obituaries

Feb 28, 1946 - Dec 28, 2017
Mary Jo (Wade) Juelis, 71, formerly of Westfield, died peacefully on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017, ...
Read more

NJ Man Who Made Plea for Kidney at Magic Kingdom Gets His Wish

January 19, 2018

NEW YORK, NY — In the summer of 2017, a New Jersey man went to Disney World wearing a shirt with a message; he needed a kidney, and his blood type and phone number were printed on his T-shirt.

Thanks to another Disney fan in the Magic Kingdom, one picture went viral, and Robert Leibowitz of Hamilton's story was picked up by a number of news outlets; months later, Richie Sully, a man ...