Looking for a fresh start in a new town, rapper Johnny Redd moved to Tucson a year and a half ago from his hometown, Chicago. He moved to the Old Pueblo to be a film student at the Art Institute of Tucson, but quickly found himself invested in a solo music project.
Not long after moving to the Southwest, Redd began to perform at venues around town. His music, Redd says, always sends the message of positivity, as he tries to be optimistic through his music and in life.
"If you just put your mind to it and you feel like you can do it," Redd says, "It might not come like the next day but if you just keep trying and keep saying that it's going to happen, eventually it will."
Not knowing anyone in Tucson when he first moved here and having seen others start collaborative groups before, Redd, with the help of a few friends, started the Honor Roll Gang in January 2013. But Honor Roll Gang isn’t like other collaborative groups. Most people in the groups he had seen have something in common, according to Redd.
The Honor Roll Gang is a group of people from Arizona, Illinois, Kentucky and California with a diverse set of career choices, from MMA, to visual and performing arts and even the medical field. The one thing they have in common is their goal to succeed in education. The group supports each other by working together on projects and supporting each other.
"I do a video ... it's from one of our songs that he produced , that he did the illustration on," Redd says as he points at his fellow Honor Roll Gang members. "So it's all of us in the project. Nobody else really."
The Honor Roll Gang will be performing at Club Congress tonight at 9 p.m. and at Mr. Heads on Saturday night.