When you combine the restless spirit of an artist with a globally-focused entrepreneur that wants to save the world, incredible things can happen.
One Santa Cruz-based artist, Rob Ball, is already five tracks deep into an expansive and potentially limitless creative pool. He has combined his drive to perform at a high caliber as an artistic challenge in a quest to bring clean drinking water to rural third-world villages that have been forced to rely on corrupt governments and abusive militia to gain a foothold in self-sustainability.
Artists tend to try and circumvent labels that non-artists often attach to them and their work, these labels usually confined to the artist’s medium of choice. Ball takes the idea that people can be molded like clay to a new extreme by helping them tap into a conscious “flow state.” A flow state is akin to a pitcher on a hot streak, a skateboarder who just nailed his signature move, or anything similar. That’s the feeling and state of positive energy that Ball aims to draw out of his collaborations.
Highly motivated creatives tend to garner connections and like-minded acquaintances, and that was the case with Ball — it wasn’t long after implementing himself in the scene that Ball had amassed an address book that spanned the length of the left coast and stretched far into the right — a collaborative spice rack, if you will.
Ball, who also goes by the stage name of Ra.be 333, is a local hip-hop MC and collaborator who has brought his own unique energy to virtually every genre or project he has been involved with. From soft and intimately nuanced folk grooves with Marya Stark to creating deep-hitting freestyles over Lowgritt electronic productions, Ball brings an elevated quality and personal quality to the table and that can only come from Santa Cruz.
When he isn’t sleeping or creating, he is actively immersing his energy as a life coach into helping “awakened creatives” translate their inspirations through various media with a positive focus, which he calls ‘Tap the Flow.’ Building off of the idea that an individual’s flow state is something that can be ‘tapped into,’ Ball got involved in the tapping of a real natural resource vital to any community or society: water.
A self-described conduit for the manifestation of inspiration, Ball seized another opportunity to be a beacon of positive force when he organized his efforts in support of the charity generosity.org, a humanitarian organization dedicated to ending the clean water crisis in developing countries, one community at a time. Rather than continually raising money to transport water from outside, generosity.org is committed to creating a sustainable and lasting water source that will help villages and families maintain autonomy over their water, and subsequently their future, by building wells.
In order to maximize his efforts, Ball drew a connection between the way generosity.org is tapping the earth for the precious life source and his massive vision of collaboration: He is already putting an effort in tapping the artists he works with for their precious expressions of life. Combining his new passion with his life’s mission to tap the flow of other creatives, Ball created an extended project he calls Tap the Flow 24.
Tap the Flow 24 is a project where like-minded artists team up with him to create an original song and video, all with the aim of inspiring. Ball currently has five videos out dedicated to the project, but a vision like this doesn’t dawdle – inspiration is constantly flowing and the next installments are already being coordinated. The most recent video, launched on Thursday, August 18, contains the most grand vision yet. While adhering to the 24-hour rule (minus post-edit), Ball spent a day in Tahoe snowboarding and recording while his collaborator, Jackson Whalen and Kabir Garret produced the track in Massachusetts.
I had a chance to catch up with Ball and get his insight and perspective on the Tap the Flow project, and also chat about his work and life.
The Bay Bridged: Hi Rob, thanks for getting in touch with me. I really appreciate it!
Rob Ball: I’m really glad to be able to talk to you today, thank you for the interest!
TBB: Tell me about how this all got started. It’s a charity for water in developing countries, yeah?
RB: Yes, that’s an aspect of it. So I’ll give you a little bit of backstory. I started this project called Tap the Flow 24 and I’m partnering with generosity.org, which is its own separate organization and non-profit. They are the ones that implement the water systems. They are an existing organization and they’re kicking butt doing great work around the world. A number of people support them. The nature of this project is recognizing that I have an unlimited gift of creativity, which is a blessing, and I also have a really wide creative community, and I felt that I not only wanted to use my gifts, but also access the greater community in being able to have a greater effect on something I believe in, which is clean water.
I’ve been in California now for about 7 or 8 years and you know, the community is very wide, even beyond Santa Cruz. The first video we did was in San Luis Obispo, the second was in Sonoma County,