Most wouldn’t think office cubicles and street poetry go hand in hand, but local hip-hop artist and Department of Revenue specialist Jared Mabry does it all. By day, he analyzes revenue flow as a white-collar worker; by night, he performs in venues across the city.
Tallahassee is full of artists looking to be the next Grammy-winning entertainer T-Pain, and one of the most promising is Mabry — otherwise known as TaReef KnockOut. The Tallahassee native is strangely soft-spoken offstage but clearly passionate about his craft and his city.
Mabry is a jack of many trades. He holds the basketball all-time record for career 3-pointers at Lincoln High School. He now works full time as for the state but views music as his long-term dream. “It’s a daily grind. If I’m not writing music, I’m working on marketing or something else.”
Along the way, he pledges to represent his hometown. “I always try to remember Tallahassee..it’s a part of the legacy I’m trying to leave behind.”
His family has lived in Tallahassee for a long time. His dad was a Florida State basketball player who “crossed the railroad tracks” to meet his mom at Florida A&M University.
The Wilbury and TaReef KnockOut are co-hosting a hip-hop showcase on July 1. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m., with no cover charge. Other local artists featured include Cap 6, Bailey the Bear and Artisan P.
He started rapping seriously in 2013 while studying music business at Full Sail University. Ever since he’s been tirelessly working to produce his debut album Majority Decision and integrate into the local music scene.
In addition to making art to entertain and express, the socially-aware musician also invests his talent for good causes. Later this year, he is collaborating with local domestic violence activists to produce a song promoting healthy relationships between young people.
Mabry’s music is influenced by old school rap, jazz, reggae and modern political poets. A few of his favorite artists include Jay-Z, Lupe Fiasco and Thelonious Monk. “I rap about life experiences, things I feel connected to…I try to tell the stories through my music.”
TaReef KnockOut’s debut EP, Majority Decision, was released last October and is available through iTunes, Spotify streaming, Amazon, and Google Play. More music is regularly released on Soundcloud.