Sophomore rapper “Tbreck” takes Malvern by storm

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Dan Malloy

This musician is generating a huge buzz in the area, performing at live shows coast to coast and racking up thousands of plays on Soundcloud.

Sophomore Tommy Brecker is hard to find. During free time, he’s nowhere to be found in the cafeteria or in the Learning Commons where most students go.

Instead, if you happen to stumble to the second floor of the Duffy Center, you’ll see him in the recording studio, intently making beats with Logic recording software or spitting raps into a mic.

“I’m up here all the time working on stuff,” Brecker said.

Most kids know and refer to him as “Tbreck,” his stage name. In under a year, Brecker has generated a large following for his music and popularity around the school. He has the stats to back it up, with 210 thousand total plays and 1.1 thousand followers on his Soundcloud account.

Growing up, he always knew he had a knack for music. Brecker said he would write little rhymes in middle school to help take his mind off of things. When he took the Recording Technology class at Malvern offered in eighth grade, Brecker started making beats.

“I got Logic for free, then I started the whole production side of [the music],” Brecker said. “Then one thing just led to another.”

One of Brecker’s friends from middle school, current sophomore Tommy Bevevino, took the class with him that year, and he knew Brecker had a special talent.

“He was just insane at it,” Bevevino said. “I couldn’t do anything, and he would always do my projects for me.”

Brecker began putting beats on Soundcloud the beginning of freshman year to see what the response would be. Then Bevevino and a few others found his account.

“Beginning of freshman year, I asked him for a beat for some project, and he said, ‘Yeah, I have an account,’ with all of these different things before he was even rapping over them,” Bevevino said.

Brecker didn’t want anyone to know about his Soundcloud account at first.

“[Bevevino] would listen, then I said, ‘Hey, don’t tell anyone.’ Because it’s kind of bold to be putting out music I feel like,” Brecker said.

He began rapping over the beats, releasing a song every few weeks. Then, in May he released his most popular song to date on Soundcloud, “Pray,” and it blew up.

“[My friend] put it on his story, then other people put it on their stories, then that’s how the actual music part of it got started,” Brecker said.

The song gained 50.5 thousand plays on Soundcloud and 67.5 thousand plays on Spotify to date.

Some of the new added attention was negative, however.  

After the release of “Pray,” Brecker noticed a student at The Haverford School was commenting frequently on several of his songs praising him and his music. However, Brecker soon received an odd request from him.  

“He texted me and said, ‘Can I say, ‘F*** you, TBreck’ at the beginning of one of my songs?’” Brecker said. “And I was like, ‘Sure, go ahead,’ because it really didn’t bother me.”

Brecker heard the song and wasn’t impressed.

“I honestly gave him feedback, like ‘You need to change your flow, the beat is boring.’ I was just trying to help him out,” Brecker said. “And he just started talking a bunch of smack, and one thing led to another.”

The Haverford student, under the stage name “Nava Ho,” released a ‘diss track’ to Brecker called “We Back” in October. In the song, Nava Ho called Brecker a “has-been” and said Brecker was mad because Nava Ho was relevant.

Brecker followed up with an aggressive response. “Wait” garnered five thousand more plays and 201 more likes on Soundcloud than Nava Ho’s song.

Brecker doesn’t just release music—he’s already had experience performing, too. His first concert was in Eugene, Oregon, in September. He got the gig when an Oregon-based rapper named “PlugintheOx” offered him the opening act for his show.  

“The main reason I went out there was that once you do one show, other venues want to see proof of performance history, so I was like, ‘This is a free ticket, I should just do this’ and that’s what helped me get the show in Philly with Token at the Trocadero,” Brecker said.

Brecker was an opening act for rapper Token at the Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia on November 7. Bevevino and other Malvern students showed out to support him.  

“It was pretty cool. It was a small venue, and there was a bunch of young rappers there but he was the youngest by far. He was great, and everyone seemed to enjoy him,” Bevevino said.

For the show, Brecker needed a DJ, so he reached out to senior Des Papariello, another up-and-coming musician with the stage name “Walkabout.”

“He [direct messaged] me,” Papariello said. “He slid in my DM’s.”

Papariello said he knew about Brecker last year, but he never approached him about collaborating since the two have very different styles. However, they started talking, and within a week they finished a new track together called “Count ’Em Up.”

“He recorded the vocals for ‘Count ’Em Up’ at his house and sent them to me,” Papariello said. “I had the production done like a year ago for a remix, but the people I made it for didn’t like it. So I just took the vocals out and sent them to Tom.”

Brecker said this was his favorite song to make, because he got to collaborate with someone who shares his passion for music.

“I usually do all the production myself, but with Des doing it on ‘Count ’Em Up,” it was fun to work with someone in real life,” Brecker said.

The two became friends quickly. They spend a lot of time now in the recording studio at Malvern, helping each other on new projects.

“We work together on everything now, basically,” Papariello said. “Everything new of his I’ve heard. I’m helping him on stuff and everything new of mine he’s up here saying you should do this or you should do that.”

Bevevino and other Malvern students are very supportive of Brecker’s ventures in music.

“I’ll always shoot him a text after he’s done a song, like ‘Great job man, I like this song.’ We’re always friendly about it with him. We give him a fair amount of ball busting because he’s always in the studio with Des. But everyone seems to be supporting of it,” Bevevino said.

In terms of new music, Brecker always has something in the works.

“I’m just always working on stuff, whether it be new beats, and songs and videos and stuff coming out,” Brecker said.

“We got like 100 things coming out,” Papariello said.