From the Classroom to the Stage

Former professor quits day job to further rap career

Jackie Park, Reporter

At this point in his life, Chris Shreve has been a Virginia Tech football star known for his quick feet, a public health professor at App State, a father and a husband. Now, he is embarking on a new chapter in his life: rap.

Shreve the Professor, as he’s known on stage, has been a part of Chris Shreve’s life for several years. His wife, Tiffany Shreve, said he started rapping more seriously after she took a job as a night-shift nurse in Boone in 2007.

He’s balanced teaching, parenting, partnering and rapping for many semesters. This spring, however, he’s taking his side gig full time.

After teaching an extra section last semester, and likely facing another extra section this semester, Chris Shreve said he felt like his “RAM was full.” 

“I just knew, like the fall was everything I could do,” Chris Shreve said. “I was the most scattered I’ve ever been. And I was really limited in some goals I had by the amount of time in my day.”

Chris Shreve said he and his wife had a long, difficult discussion about quitting his job at App State before doing it.

Tiffany Shreve said it is easy to get bogged down in the logistics of a change like this.

“That was probably a lot of fear of (starting to rap full-time) was like, ‘What do you do for insurance? Are you gonna have a salary? Are you gonna get a part time job?’” Chris Shreve said.

Tiffany Shreve said despite the details, she recognized he was unhappy, and something needed to change.

“He needed to pursue this, and he needed to be somewhere different to give it the attention that he wanted to give it,” Tiffany Shreve said.

Chris Shreve said in addition to his mental storage being “full,” he was having to cancel classes while on tour and post material online instead.

That was probably a lot of fear of (starting to rap full-time) was like, ‘What do you do for insurance? Are you gonna have a salary? Are you gonna get a part time job?’

— Chris Shreve

“I knew my heart wasn’t in it, and they deserve that,” Chris Shreve said. “Some of the students, I think, wanted more hands-on ‘me time.’ They kind of, in some (course evaluations), mentioned that.”

Lauren Matherly, a senior public health major, said she liked Chris Shreve as a professor, but would’ve liked to have more in-class time. 

On the other hand, Brandon Orloff, a senior public health major, said he didn’t mind having a few classes canceled and enjoyed having Chris Shreve as a professor.

“He can like relate to you on like, a kid’s level,” Orloff said.

Chris Shreve is now taking his teaching to a different setting: the internet. 

In a Jan. 13 YouTube video, titled “So I Quit My Job To Become A Full Time Rapper,” Chris Shreve explained he’d combine his knowledge from the public health field and his practical life experiences in a video series called, “Who Needs A Classroom?”

Chris Shreve said in his classroom, he always tried to begin by relating their lessons to real-life situations like school shootings and weight loss. He wants to bring his practical life lessons to the series.

“You don’t have to have a classroom to teach these things,” Chris Shreve said.

Chris Shreve posted his first video in the series Jan. 24, called “Stress Mountain & the 4 A’s.” He wants his next video in the series to focus on the difference between confidence and competence.

Chris Shreve is also trying to bring a new groove to his daily routine.

“It’s kind of this weird little extra space, which can be eaten up like, by family time… or by little man, because he’s nine and (needs) attention and his days are only like, six hours long. So, now I’m on a new schedule,” Chris Shreve said.

Chris Shreve said another change is the time when he has to be creative. Previously, that time was at night and the hours he had were very defined. Now, it’s the six hours starting at 8 a.m. when the house is quiet.

“Now I have to like, reframe my brain to be productive,” Chris Shreve said. 

Tiffany Shreve said the change is something that he’ll have to continue to “feel out,” but her husband keeps himself busy.

“It’s very hard to quit his drive to succeed, so he always has something on his plate or something that he’s working on. So, it’s just establishing what is enough. I think that’s something that he will have to continue to feel out as he moves forward,” Tiffany Shreve said.

Chris Shreve said his “mountain,” or goal, is now much more refined.

“(I was) trying to like, maybe somehow have a 20-year teaching career while also like somehow (winning) a Grammy or whatever the goal was there, like, those can’t all happen at the same time, even though you want to,” Chris Shreve said.

Chris Shreve said he wants to be an “A student” again.

“I told my wife I’ve been like a B student like in every subject lately, I’ve got (an) 84, 83,” Chris Shreve said. “I want to nail it. I want a 99, (or) at least a 94, I’m sick of these 82s.”