Aug 2, 2011

Reks

Reks
Hailing from the often-underrepresented Boston area, Reks has a masterful flow reminiscent of hip hop’s prime. He broke into the scene in 2001 with his album Along Came the Chosen, then took a seven-year break to start a family before his 2008 classic Grey Hairs, and with his latest album he has outdone himself again. Although he has been releasing quality hip hop for over a decade, he came into the spotlight this year with his newest album through Showoff Records, R.E.K.S., Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme . The album boasts all-star production from longtime collaborator Statik Selektah, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, The Alchemist, Nottz, Hi-Tek, Sha Money XL, and his Fizzy Womack aka Lil Fame of M.O.P, who was also featured rapping, along with Styles P, Freeway, and Termanology. After three classic albums, he’s showing no sign of slowing down; we caught up with him to see what’s next for Reks.

First off, introduce yourself, region, crew, etc.

My name is Reks, aka Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme, I’m from Lawrence, Massachusetts, born and raised, I stay in the Florida area now. I represent Showoff hip hop.

How did you first get into hip hop?

Well it started off in the streets of Lawrence, Massachusetts with my older cousins, they were onto the hip hop thing, they were heavy into breakdancing, and I followed them to a movement that was thriving in its essence. And I just wanted to be like my cousins, do what they were doing, be around where they were, so it was only natural I progressed into the hip hop thing.

Your music has a “golden age” vibe to it, who are some of you musical inspirations?

From KRS-One and Ice Cube, to Common Sense, Nas, Slick Rick, the list goes on and on. Anybody who from day one has made it their mission from day one to just make quality music.

How did you first hook up with Showoff and Statik Selektah and those guys?

Me and Statik have known each other for well over a decade. When we first started off, he was a DJ and he would DJ for me, and from that he obviously took a liking to making his own beats, and when I put my first album out, he gave me a beat, and we’ve been rocking with each other ever since.

Did starting a family influence your music at all?

Of course. Every life experience that I’ve gone through, being with my family, connections, dealing with hardships, family loss, whatever changes have come about in my life obviously had some kind of effect on what my musical output is gonna be. And definitely starting a family made me think more wisely about the music I choose to put out there, ‘cause I want my legacy to be a little bit different than some other individuals who might not be so concerned.

Have you found it hard to balance rap and family life?

It’s always gonna be a hard balance you know, I’ve gotten better at balancing it, but I don’t think anybody’s gonna be able to have a completely perfect union of the two. When I’m away on tour for extended periods of time, things like Skype and the way technology is, there’s a way to reach out to your family when you’re not physically there. So it’s never gonna be the same as me being able to tuck my children into bed, reading ‘em stories before they go to bed, play with them, or spend quality time with my wife, so it’s not the same, it’s difficult to balance, because they both require an extended amount of time and effort.

A lot of people call Grey Hairs a classic, was it a difficult album to follow up?

No I wouldn’t say it was a difficult album to follow up, my objective is not to best or better any material that I put out, my objective is to just put out quality music. I don’t go out there looking for a number one hit record, I don’t go out there looking for collaborations that are gonna get me more notoriety, my objective is just to put out there material that I feel has a true representation of my life as I know it, and that will be able to connect with the fans and to people who have been through a lot of the things I’ve been through. So be it Grey Hairs, Along Came the Chosen, new R.E.K.S. album, anything that I put out material wise, I’m always attacking it with the same objective.

You’ve gotten a lot of recognition for your new album; do you feel like some of this recognition is overdue?

I feel like I’ve paid a lot of dues, however I also feel like I haven’t worked as hard as some individuals who’ve been in the game longer than me, or who withstood a lot of hardships to be current and what have you. I don’t blame other individuals, I don’t blame a lack of responsible material on anyone else, all of it falls on me if my material doesn’t get out to the people who it needs to be, I have to put more effort and more emphasis into my own material, no ones gonna work or put the effort behind the project more than yourself when it’s your project.

Why do you think R.E.K.S. broke to a wider audience?

It was a combination of many things; obviously the lineup itself reads like a classic album, reads like a who’s who of producers, some very well-respected emcees as well. Then top it off with the fact that our teams came together, with Showoff, Clockwork, having a publicist, Brick Records and everybody being on the same page in terms of putting the material out there, and refocusing the attention on the brand itself. We are a small machine but our machine works nonetheless because we are consistent in doing things at the same time via all these internet sites and blogs that are available to us. Everybody getting on Twitter at the same time, getting on Facebook at the same time, sharing and tweeting new material, and consistently making videos. My objective is to be seen by the general public because that’s the only way to catch their attention. YouTube allows me to get views from fans who may not have viewed my material, and it’s a free way for individuals to tap into my music. I feel we approached it a lot differently on this one.

At what point would you feel that your career is successful enough?

I feel successful, I feel like I’ve put into this game enough to be proud of. I don’t feel like I’m done, I’m never gonna say this is my time to wrap it up or anything like that. When that time comes, God only knows. But I’m happy with where I am as far as the material I’ve put out there and if I were to call it quits and do something else, I could look back and be proud of the material I put out.

There were some legendary producers on the album, who were some of the best to work with?

Definitely Statik Selektah, that’s my homie, we go back years. It was really wonderful to be able to get a beat from Fizzy Womack who doesn’t get a lot of the recognition I feel he deserves, on top of being a fan of MOP as a group I’m a fan of his production and it was dope to get him on a record that’s way different from your typical MOP record an get him to switch up and change gears for a little bit on that record, that was fun. All of the producers I feel were very instrumental, and very helpful in bringing out these real personal stories I wanted to share with the people. I don’t put anybody above anyone else, I just feel everybody was a pleasure to work with and I thank ‘em all for allowing me the time.

You approach some different subject matter on R.E.K.S., is there a new depth to this album?

Definitely, I feel like this was definitely a lot more personal, you can see what’s happening in more of my own life. I tried to use Grey Hairs as a way to show how my life and hip hop coincided and all the changes to the new state of hip hop, and go forward with what that golden era of music meant to me. With this one I wanted to touch more upon my personal struggles and triumphs, about hip hop, life as a man and a father, as a son. So I totally think this one had more depth to it.

What are your thoughts on the state of hip hop in 2011?

I’m excited man; I think there are a lot of people tapping into their creativity. We finally got the opportunity to hear The Greatest Story Never Told, I’m a huge Saigon fan, I feel like people aren’t recognizing that album for the classic that it is, it’s an amazing album. I feel like Skyzoo’s doing great things, Big KRIT’s doing phenomenal things, I was real excited about the Raekwon album, so many artists out there to be happy about, you’ve got an influx of the new and the old putting out real quality hip hop, not to mention individuals like Eminem and Jay-Z taking time to find artists that are true lyricists, such as Slaughterhouse and J. Cole and Jay Electronica, so hats off to them for recognizing true talent and showing that we can reach back to where hip hop is supposed to be.

How would you say that you are different from other rappers out there today?

I don’t know of other rapper’s ins and outs of their persona and what have you, but I just approach music a little bit differently. In my eyes, in terms of my passion in the rap, I feel like the hunger in the voice is missing in a lot of artists. I feel like individuals are not so concerned with giving a true show, and having that showmanship when you’re out on tour, and being able to connect with the fans personally. It’s the greatest opportunity and the greatest time to be able to have that relationship with individuals who listen to your music on a regular basis. So I really focus on putting on a good show, and tapping into my fan base, the people that support me, and I definitely wanna always have that hunger and that drive for life you know, just making quality music. I feel like that’s lacking in a lot of artists, I wouldn’t say all.

Any other projects in the works or upcoming releases?

I’m working on a million records. First and foremost a trilogy coming out with Statik Selektah, the first was finished last week called Straight No Chaser, and we’ll drop three EPs which will all culminate as sort of an album over a period of time. No dates set on the first release or the second or third to follow. Those projects we’re actually working on now. I’ve done a lot of feature work on other individual’s projects, which has been fun. My own projects, a project called Sleep When I’m Gone, with the homie Soul Theory who was on Grey Hairs, the “Money on the Ave” track, we have a full-length that’s gonna be phenomenal. Working with Hazardous Sound from down here in Florida, another extremely talented producer who just dropped his album, >em>Hazmat Volume 2 a couple months ago. You know, just consistently staying in the studio as much as possible. Individuals can check me out on Twitter, I’m therealreks, or check me out on Facebook, my fan page, Reks Mdiesel, and be able to check out my material, things out there and things to come.

Any last thoughts or shout outs?

Just big respect for having me here to express my views and my thoughts, and respect to all the fans out there that support that real hip hop, go out there, prepare for Statik Selektah’s Population Control, Termanology and Lil Fame’s Physiology, and like I said, me and Statik got the Straight No Chaser coming soon, also 1982 is working on their new album, and we just continue to give you that quality music.

twitter.com/therealreks
facebook.com/therealreks
showoffhiphop.com

Read Next
Daedelus
Close