Coming off of a high energy crowd and into the arms and faces of highly-enthused fans, Lawrence-bred rapper, REKS performed showing raw emotion and passion at his album release party Saturday night, March 12, 2011, at the Middle East. Sitting down with me to discuss his most recent album, the Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme himself, never shys away from his past, the comradery with his brother Statik Selektah, and the love of making great music. Check it out:
You were recently on tour overseas in Europe, what’s the underground hip hop scene like there?
In Europe it’s a lot different than the states, I hate to say it. They rock with the culture way more efficiently and way more appropriately then we do in the states. We could take from them, and we could bring it back to the essence of the pure form of the music. These cats are in their golden era right now. They’re focused on that real quality music shit.
Tell me about your album R.E.K.S. Is there an underlying concept or message?
The albums amazing, I feel it’s a classic, and I hope it goes down like that. What I feel is that it’s a lot different than the “Grey Hairs” album. A lot of people would say, which is better, “Grey Hairs” or this album? They always go to “Grey Hairs”. The thing about “Grey Hairs” is that it was me putting a lens on the industry and focusing on what is going on there and thinking of the game we know, right now, and me aging with the industry. This album right here, I got really personal. I talked about more of my own things. Shit with my moms, growing up; things that was going on with my pops, growing up. For those who didn’t know the situation with my pops, I didn’t have him in my life and that’s because he died when I was really young. I chose to be a lot more vulnerable on this album and give more people me, and have a lot more personal records. I wanted to focus on people that were quite like me, and if not like me, had similar lives. My father died, some people, their fathers just wasn’t there. So it’s similar in that regard. It’s like; this dude didn’t have a father in the home. I didn’t have my father in my family circumference. So it’s quite similar and I wanted to reach out to people that could relate.
That was sort of my next question. With songs like “Mr. Nobody” and “This is Me” do you feel like this is somewhat of a memoir?
Of course! Even “The Wonder Years” and “Like a Star” I go out of my way to paint of picture of what my life was like growing up. We were very poor, didn’t have much, but you know, momma did her best. I just try to paint that picture cus there’s so many people that are just like me that can’t speak that struggle, and I just want to speak that struggle that we went through. Too many went through that kind of struggle and it doesn’t get highlighted and I wanted to highlight that struggle. Like why are we in this shit? Why are we dealing with this kind of bullshit? We come from nothing and for me to say, yo I went to Europe, yo motherfuckers think I’m a superstar. I’m not a superstar. I know I’m not. I know the reality as it is. It feels good to know back home motherfuckers is like, yo he made it. Never mind you’re doing it, from my stand point, I’m still Etch a Sketching my way into the game. I’m elsewhere, but I always keep Massachusetts in my heart cus I come from here. I come from these problem streets. I come from these problem surroundings. I know it’s the same situation across the globe but it feels good to come home and motherfuckers to salute you because you’re doing it right now.
You’ve worked with an assortment of producers and artist, what was your most enjoyable experience and who was it with?
Definitely working with my brother Statik. When we come together, we drink a lot of Hennessy, and I smoke cigarettes in his crib. He’s like, yo why you smoking in my crib? He hates cigarettes. He did that announcement on the mic. He gets pissed off about the cigarette thing but I smoke mad cigarettes in his crib and we make great music. So my most memorable thing about this album is that. It’s just the times I spend with Statik and just creating a classic. For me it’s a classic, I don’t care. For other people they like “Grey Hairs”, cool. Some people might like R.E.K.S more, for me, I like R.E.K.S. I love “Grey Hairs”, I think it’s a great album, the reason I like R.E.K.S, it’s more personal. It deals with a lot of shit I dealt with growing up; it deals with my personal going on right now; my wifey struggles and fucking with my cigarettes.
“Wifey’s about to leave, I deceive them, fucking liar”
All that shit is real talk. That’s just me keeping it 100. It’s the pain and reality of my lifestyle.
Who are your most influenced by?
Most influenced by? Myself. Real talk. I listen to my own music and I look at my music and I determine if I’m making great music or not, based on what I’ve done in the past. Not that I’m preparing to fall, I just listen to my shit to see if I’m making great music. But if you’re talking about people in the industry that I really feel, I’m a big Termanology fan, I’m a big Skyzoo fan. Amazing. Saigon, I love his fucking album. If you bring it back, I’ve always been a big fan of Nas, always been a big fan of Raewon, Ice Cube, Andre 300, Scarface. It’s universal. I’m influenced by a lot of motherfuckers. If we change genre’s, I’d say Steve Wonder above all else. If I could meet anyone in the world it would be Stevie Wonder. I love Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, and Billie Holiday.
Now that your albums dropped, what else do you have in store?
I’m shooting a video with Styles P for the record “Why Cry”, and when I get down to Texas on the 16th [for SxSW] it’s gonna be 7 shows in 4 days. How do we do that? I do a show in the afternoon, do a show at night. Show in the afternoon, show at night, show in the afternoon, show at night, and on the last day, just a show at night. The goal is for people to see what we’re doing and be accessible to the public cus we’re the people’s people.
So what can the people expect from you?
They can expect good music. The whole focus of Show Off is to make hip hop that doesn’t suck. Its hip hop since 1982, the focus is real good music. We hate the wack shit. We just want to make good music.
Lastly, what’s the one thing you think you can work on?
I can just be a better human being. There’s a lot of things about me. I’ve cheated on my wife way too many times. I’ve said I was going to do certain things that I haven’t done. My wife, she’s the greatest person on this planet and I fucked that situation up. I wish I didn’t, but I did. I fucked up that situation and there’s nothing I can do about it. She has every right to never love me again. I fucked the whole thing up