Meet Code S.P.R.K.: Walmart’s Associate Rap Group

Ten associates took a chance and entered the Walmart Rap Battle Challenge. Now, their passion for music is helping inform customers about online grocery pickup.

When Terry R. and Trent A. of Store 2626 in Live Oak, Fla., started making videos for their store’s social page more than a year ago, they thought they were just getting positive feedback from customers. But the Home Office was taking notice, too.

“That’s the power of music; it’s memorable,” says Trent. “And when they asked if we wanted to make an OGP rap and create a challenge, we knew it would work. We knew customers would react well to it, and we knew other stores would have fun with it. Walmart was supporting us and knows how talented our associates are. With the power of music, we could teach people about OGP and create something special with our associates.”

So, Terry made the beat, Trent laid down the lyrics, and they left the rest to the internet. Hundreds of associates submitted their own OGP raps, and 10 were selected to fly to Bentonville and record the final product.

The winners come from all over the country, each with a different musical background but a shared passion for Walmart and their personal journey to success.  

It was an inspiring two days in the studio. These 10 associates grew incredibly close, and their hard work and talent are now live on the web. The official music video has been released and received more than 450K views in a matter of days.

Check out the official OGP Rap Music Video below: 

And they’re not stopping there. Code S.P.R.K. (the name the group has given themselves) is reuniting in Houston, Texas, at the end of September to perform live at the opening of the 3000th OGP section and film the music video for their holiday rap. 

Darius S.

Store 5348

Montgomery, Ala.

@AUniqueVoice

Support Manager

When I first started, as an automotive technician, I was just here to get a check. I did not want to be a supervisor; I ran from it. As human beings, we’re so prone to running from things that are different instead of opening up our minds. But when I became a supervisor, I realized—I got this.

Walmart has so many different opportunities. It’s amazing. You never know who you’re going to meet. You never know what you can do. I’m bringing my full, authentic self to work, and it has paid off. You can go to work and have fun. When you enjoy what you’re doing, it’s not work—it’s a lifestyle.

Sometimes we hold ourselves back. We are in our own way, but when you have a gift and when you have a vision and a dream, go for it. What’s there to be afraid of? You can only get two answers, yes or no. Don’t be afraid of the no.

Take a chance. Love who you are; be true to yourself; be 100, 1,000% authentically you. And know that your worth never goes unnoticed. You’re enough.

Sherita Octavious “Uneek” T.

Store 93

Covington, Tenn.

@901Uneek

Customer Service Manager

I love challenges. I believe I can do anything, anything in my power—anything that you can do, I can do. When I was a woman in automotive, I constantly had to prove myself. People couldn’t believe that they were seeing a woman change their oil and tires, but I think I was more effective, because it’s not about how fast you do it—it’s about accuracy and how you take care of things. It doesn’t matter what your gender is, but can you make customers leave the store happy, proud?

Now I’m over the front end. I feel like that’s the focal point of the store. You see me when you come in; you see me when you leave. My job is to take care of you, get you out of these lines quickly, and make sure your experience was great. I come into contact with so many people, and that’s really helping me with my music. I see a lot going on, and I can incorporate different ideas into my music.  

To me, music is an influence on different generations, on different people, diversities. When you have music, you can communicate with everyone. So, this challenge was the perfect opportunity to combine my passion for music and my work. Believe it or not, I had older customers come in and repeat what I said in my OGP rap. That means they listened to what I said, and they’re learning from it. Walmart gave me that opportunity, and I’m so humbled by it. 

Alonyah T.

Store 1165

Radcliff, Ky.         

@IAmAlonyah

Asset Protection Host

Music has a way of getting you through everyday life. A song can change your energy and your mood. Positive music gives a positive vibe. I sing every day, even though it’s just at work. It makes the job more fun, and it gets people involved. Like with this challenge, I saw our community engage with it and get really excited. Customers come in and tell me that they saw my video, and it’s just so dope to see people react to Walmart doing something like that, especially.

That’s something that every store needs: fun. If you don't bring fun to work, you will be bored with your job. Walmart is telling us to have fun at work, to bring our passions to work. I did this challenge for fun; I didn’t think I could rap to save my life, but I just wanted to have fun, and it’s paid off.  

 

Geovanni “Geo” L.

Store 577

Olathe, Kan.

@GeoYukioLemus

Department Manager, Frozen

On my 10th birthday, my dad taught me how to play a classical guitar. At 13, I played acoustic guitar for a jazz band. When I was 14, I learned how to play clarinet and bass clarinet. I was in a band in high school, and in my senior year I took AP music and AP music theory. I had another band after that, and then I started rapping.

I don’t think I expected this at Walmart when I first applied two years ago. Every other artist here is so talented in their own way. They all have their unique styles. The minute I walked off the plane and I met a group of them, we’re all talking about collabbing with each other. Even when I made the OGP video, I wasn't thinking all of this was going to happen, but this experience has just been amazing. Without this challenge, we never would’ve met. We never would’ve known that we vibed together.

I want to bring that back to my store. I want other associates to see that they can be creative and do the things they want to do. Everybody can do more than the bare minimum to survive. Everything is an option, like going back to school with the Walmart Academy. I’m planning on pursuing cybersecurity with the Academy, and the more involved I get in the company, the more possibilities I see. I think a lot of people are going to start seeing those options and pursuing more.

 

Terrell “T-Whiz” M.

Store 3751

San Tan Valley, Ariz.

@TrizzTheWhiz

Department Manager, Paper and Chemicals 

I was born with a very rare genetic disease: enlarged vestibular aqueduct (EVA) syndrome. I don’t have any sound coming to my right ear, but I can feel the vibrations of music, and music has been a big part of my life from a very young age.

When this challenge was announced, I wrote a song right away—because I have fun writing—but I wasn’t actually going to submit it. I just didn’t think it would go anywhere. But my manager and my team kept pushing me; they are the reason I went for it, and to be here now—wow.

I owe a lot to Walmart in that way. My team and this company have helped me in ways that I don’t think any other company could have. I’m from outside of Los Angeles; there’s a whole lot of crime and a whole lot of things that you don’t want your family around. I got a job here when I was 19 to help my family get out of that situation. I was hired as a temporary remodel associate, a 120-day contract, and the ability to have full-time hours and the promise that I would have a job tomorrow—it was something that my entire family needed, and nobody knew that.

Now a year later, this is so much more than a job. I used to think I shouldn’t sing at work, but now I am literally being asked to sing for work. Customers love that energy, too; it’s contagious. As a person, I always want to be a shining light, a candle, a flame that can be passed on. And Walmart is the place you can do that. Bring your light to work.

Terry R.

Store 2626

Live Oak, Fla

@TRRich386

Department Manager, Candy and Tobacco, Impulse, and Liquor

When I made the beat, I was thinking about how people would add their style to it. There are so many unique styles and voices, and to have so many talented people collabbing on your beat is really surreal. But that’s the power of music, right? It brings people together; people can share their emotions and feelings with a song. The power of music for me is to give everybody the same excitement I’m feeling on a song. It’s giving everybody that energy. It’s like when we’re working in the store, when you hear that music playing, it gives all the associates the motivation to go through the day and be excited. You know, let’s get this done. Customers appreciate everything we’re doing for them. They can feel that energy.

Matt “Mr. Blue Vest” C.

Store 2821

Richmond, Va.

@Mr.BlueVest

Assistant Manager

Walmart has actually changed my life. I started out working part-time, 20 hours a week. A couple of years later and now I’m assistant manager. I realized I was with a company that you can improve your life with. So why not try? Show up, do the best job you can, and always try to be reliable, and it will pay off.

This challenge made me get out of my shell around a group of people that were from all over; none of us know each other. And for some reason, it feels like we’re a family.

Ryan “Sarkaztik” M.

Store 2359

Ashtabula, Ohio

@Sarkaztik440

eCommerce Associate, OGP

Music has always been my getaway from everything. It has helped me get through a lot of different issues, like social anxiety. I’ve opened for Machine Gun Kelly, Ray Jr., Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, and a few others, and I’ve had to get over my social anxiety. When you’re performing for a crowd, and it’s your turn to get on stage, you have no time to worry about anything except your music. And that translates to life on a daily basis. Music has helped me become the outgoing person I am now.

I’m constantly singing while I’m at work. If it looks like I’m talking to myself, chances are I’m probably singing. Being able to incorporate my love for music into my job is just amazing, and the fact that my employer is so open to it and gung-ho about it all was actually really amazing.

We brought together 10 talented associates from different areas, and we all got along so well. Everybody was supporting each other—cheering each other on—and it was incredibly powerful and inspiring. It was an experience I will not forget. 

Trent “Live Oak” A.

Store 2626

Live Oak, Fla.

@LiveOak386

Department Manager, Pickup

This started out as a way to do something for my team. I was awarded an “eCommerce Superhero” plaque by my market manager, and that really encouraged me to want to do more, to live up to that title and do something for my team. I wanted to drive customers to come up to our store so we could turn our store from a GM Pickup store to an OGP store.

I’m a gospel rapper, so I made a theme song to pick up the energy. People loved it. We were getting so many comments from customers and other stores, so we challenged other stores to create their own. Walmart encouraged us and fueled the fire. They put it on the WIRE and challenged everyone. 

It’s been amazing to see the talent coming from everywhere. Everyone here has a gift, and to get to work with them on a project like this is unreal. It’s a force that keeps on giving. 

Harley H.

Store 2758

Plymouth, N.H.

@HarleyHuke

CAP1 Associate

Walmart has always been so supportive and understanding of what I want to do. Wherever they can help, they always have. It’s been really nice having awesome people like that in my career at Walmart. Not just my managers, but at the corporate level. It’s obvious they actually care. They’re always really involved and present. It just goes to show how genuine a lot of people in the company are, and you could feel that when we all came together.

 

It was a magical experience to collaborate and write with all these people. I’ve never been in a session that had that vibe before, ever, and I’ve been in a lot of sessions with a lot of people. I feel like our paths were all meant to cross at some point, and there was just a sense that this could really be something really cool—and something bigger. I don’t think anyone really expected it, but it is really special.

 

The flow doesn’t stop with the OGP rap. Be on the lookout for a holiday rap coming soon! 

Take a risk on yourself in the next challenge. We’re looking for you and your talent. Bring yourself to work so we can celebrate you. Share the link to this story on Instagram or Facebook and tag @WalmartWorld and #RetailMaverick along with your story—you could be featured in Walmart World!

Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and check out past issues of Walmart World magazine for more associate stories.