Photo of REAPER

WAV Artist of the Month – REAPER

Drum and bass in the United States is currently undergoing a cultural renaissance that is finally giving the genre the love it deserves. Leading this movement are artists like REAPER, whose bold experimentation and unwavering dedication to the scene are reshaping the genre as we know it. MP3 MAG had the privilege of sitting down with the masked maestro to discuss the depths of his journey following a debilitating hip injury, his world tour, and the anticipation of his upcoming album, CHALLENGER.

REAPER’s journey into the realm of drum and bass speaks volumes on his passion for the genre. For nine years, he immersed himself in the electrifying energy of weekly DNB nights at his local music venue, which continued to fuel his love for the music. It was in 2018 that he decided to take his devotion to the next level and venture into the production side of his passion. What started with the release of bootleg remixes, quickly led to the release of his inaugural EP, RAPTURE (2019). 

This momentum propelled him to his debut live performance in 2020 with Brownies & Lemonade in Los Angeles, which was indeed a performance for the books. Since then, REAPER has been on an unstoppable trajectory, with sold out shows in countries such as the UK and Australia, massive festivals performances such as EDC and Rampage Open Air, and incoming 30+ stop world tour that will stretch across several continents.

Last Friday, March 8, 2024, marked the release of his latest album, CHALLENGER, which initially began as a concept album and slowly changed to a more personal story for REAPER. In 2023, the person behind the mask endured an incredibly painful acute fracture of the hip that never healed properly. While living a busy tour life that consisted of flying, driving and sleeping everywhere besides his own bed, his level of pain became excruciating. The bone over time became necrotic and was slowly dying inside of him, but it was almost as if his ability to create was dying right there beside it. 

“The bone was dying and the damage became irreversible… So I went through the rest of the year unable to do physical therapy, while still having to travel so much. Sitting on a 14 hour flight sucked with this hip injury and I was constantly in pain.”

REAPER experienced such an immense amount of pain that it was nearly impossible to get in the studio to focus on creating music. This agonizing struggle not only cast a looming shadow over his career, but also significantly affected his mental well-being. 

REAPER performing in front of crowds and fire

In a transformative turn of events this past December, REAPER underwent a complete hip replacement and received a bionic hip. Following his initial recovery period, he found a new light in his world that once seemed so dim. Returning to the studio without shackles of pain became nothing short of a revelation for him. Even though it delayed the release of the album, REAPER is finally ready for the world to hear the songs that carried him through this journey. With this fresh perspective, the significance of the CHALLENGER has taken on a whole new meaning. 

“As my hip injury got worse, this album really became a tribute to adversity and emphasizing the importance of self care.”

The album consists of seven tracks and does an incredible job showcasing how REAPER can take something as high energy as drum and bass and blend it so seamlessly with rich and emotional vocals. The hit single, “MONSTERft. Josh Rubin, which has already surpassed 1,070,000 streams on Spotify, and track “BREATHLESS” ft. Bertie Scott both exemplify this flawlessly. The crescendo of energy throughout the album takes the listener through REAPER’s journey, before closing with the track, “CROSSING LINES” ft. AMAGII. This song incorporates REAPER’s love for both drum and bass and new metal, to bring an edgier ending to the album. 

The eagerly anticipated CHALLENGER tour is the next monumental step on REAPER’s journey, and is going to be the biggest one yet. Spanning across four continents with over 30 tour stops, this tour promises fans a front row seat to dive into REAPER’s story behind this album. With a stacked bill of support from Joel Cruz, Rebel Scum, Slippy and PERSONA NONGRATA, this tour is sure to be heavy from start to finish, ensuring an unforgettable experience for attendees. 

The CHALLENGER tour is an opportunity for fans to not only experience the new album live, but for REAPER to dive back into what he loves most, which is giving the community an opportunity to grow their love for drum and bass. As an internationally touring artist, REAPER makes sure to keep all of his sets a true REAPER set, to give fans the same experience all over the world. So, if you haven’t already, make sure to grab your tickets to catch a night of the CHALLENGER tour before it’s too late!

“I try to keep every set a true REAPER set. Everyone’s going to get a breath of fresh air, because I don’t really like to do a traditional drum and bass set. There are a lot of dynamics and a lot of breaks and sometimes I’ll even play dubstep, it really just depends.”

The current state of drum and bass in the United States is a conversation that has been talked about by the masses. As it has increasingly gained popularity over the years, we can attribute some of its recognition and success in the states to artists like REAPER. Having played a pivotal role in the development of the scene, his projects such as the CHALLENGER album, and collaboration with Zed’s Dead on “Back Bus” for the Brownies & Lemonade and Deadbeat’s DnB compilation are a testament to his true talent, having earned him the the reputation of being the face of America’s drum and bass scene.

Photo By: Edward Wong (@shotbyed_)

In an age where image often overshadows artistry, the anonymous persona to the REAPER project is used for more than just a mystery. It is used to uncover a narrative where the music speaks volumes and the identity of the artist fades into the background, allowing the music to take center stage. As REAPER faces adversity and the challenges of experiences like his hip injury, he shows the world that the transformative power of music can be healing to all. 


Ashley is a founding member of the MP3 MAG team, as well as a recent Florida State University graduate. She currently resides in Tampa, Florida, where she has been immersed into the electronic music community and discovered her passion for music journalism. Her favorite hobbies include going to concerts, music festivals and traveling.