John Reuben Zappin (born January 14, 1979 in Columbus, Ohio) is a Dove award nominated Christian rapper and singer signed to TobyMac's Gotee Records. He released his debut album, Are We There Yet? in 2000 and has since released 2002's Hindsight, 2003's Professional Rapper, 2005's The Boy vs. The Cynic, 2007's Word of Mouth and 2009's Sex, Drug and Self-Control. He has also released a remix album of tracks off his first three albums, titled So In Hindsight the Professional Rapper Isn't There Yet.
John Reuben Zappin, was born in Columbus, Ohio. He is of Jewish heritage and according to his MySpace, his mother is the owner of a Christian Death Metal record label. Raised in Pataskala, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, Reuben got his start in rapping in 1994 by taking the bus into the city to rap on open mic nights and participate in rap battles at the age of fifteen. Reuben later released Monuments, an independent EP, which caught the attention of Gotee Records. They took a chance, signing him to the label and releasing his first project, Are We There Yet?, in 2000. TobyMac, the founder of Gotee Records, provided vocals for the album's final track, "God is Love". Reuben's next release, Hindsight (2002), continues his use of a wide variety of musical genres and thoughtful, often funny lyrics. The album was praised as a "truly eclectic and creative hip-hop album that blends old-school sounds with progressive production." Once thought to be a Christian version of Eminem. Reuben's first two releases established him as an original, witty, sarcastic musician, as well as Gotee's top-selling solo rap artist.
Professional Rapper (2003) marked Reuben's debut as a self-producing artist. The album is noticeably different from his previous efforts, using more instruments and less DJ sampling for the tracks. Along with these differences, the album is noticeably darker in both lyrics and feel. It includes several somber tracks which allow a glimpse into Reuben's struggles and self-doubt. Adrienne Camp of The Benjamin Gate contributes vocals to two tracks on the album.
The following year Reuben released So In Hindsight the Professional Rapper Isn't There Yet (2004), an album of remixed versions of songs from his first three albums.
The Boy vs. The Cynic (2005) continued Reuben's trek from the non-serious songs which characterized his earlier work to music that's far more somber and meditative. Reportedly, when the time came for him to submit his work for the album, Reuben turned in enough tracks for two albums, one light hearted, the other more serious. Rather than releasing a two disc release, the label decided to splice them together into The Boy vs. The Cynic. Relient K's Matt Thiessen contributes to the album's second track, "Nuisance". Tim Skipper of the band House of Heroes appears on the track "So Glad". Most of Reuben's songs use "traditional" musical instruments, typically the guitar, though he experiments with many different instruments and musical styles.
Reuben is currently working on a reality show detailing his "rise" to stardom while poking fun at many of the conventions of reality television. The pilot of the show can be viewed on YouTube.
John released his fifth album, Word of Mouth, on February 6, 2007. Allmusic.com called Word of Mouth an "unqualified triumph" and said that "You won't find a truer, more honest, or more celebratory album this year."
Gotee Records released John Reuben's sixth studio album, "Sex, Drugs and Self-Control" on December 22nd, 2009. The first single, "Town Folk" was released on July 14th, 2009. The next Single, "Jamboree," was released August 18th, 2009. Followed by "Confident," which was released September 15th, 2009, "No be nah" was released October 14th, 2009.
According to an interview with TVU in January, John Reuben said that there are definitely more music videos planned to release in the coming months from his most recent CD.