Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme
By: Jared B. Ware
Philaflava: First off, tell everybody who you are, and a little bit about your new album Grey Hairs?
Reks: The name REKS stands from Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme and Iím from Lawrence, Massachusetts,
and been an emcee for basically all my life. What Iíve been doing is holdiní it down on some, pure
essence of the game, hip hop yínahmean. And truthfully I wanted to make Grey Hairs, to drop this
album to reach out to people that were kind of not really happy with the state of hip hop at the
present day. People that were feeling neglected or feel like the pure essence of hip hop has faded.
And I felt like Grey Hairs was a representation of us being at a defining point where we have to make
a decision, whether weíre going to move ahead and represent the true essence of the culture or are we
gonna continue to like fade out, by neglecting the music that we love.
Philaflava: Alright, so what do you feel is that ďtrue essenceĒ of hip hop?
Reks: I would say itís raw unabashed lyrical content, where thereís a message within what youíre trying
to convey to the general public, and just representing all the elements in their entirety and respecting
how this art form was created, the birthplace of where it was created, and the artists that paved the way
to make the music what it is today. You know, such as paying homage to artists such as KRS-One, DJ Premier,
Run-DMC, the artists who paved the way to do what we do now. So thatís the essence of the pure hip hop.
Philaflava: So you dropped a pretty well received independent album back in 2001, Along Came The Chosen,
and I remember you had a little buzz going on the indy scene at the time. What made you decide to take some
Reks: Well, when I dropped Along Came the Chosen, I was kind of brand new to the hip hop scene, I was kind
of brand new to make hip hop on the indy scene. And as it came out, I was also in a situation where I had
just gotten married and my baby boy was on the way. So when that occurred I felt like I canít neglect my
son, I canít allow myself to be a deadbeat father. You know I didnít have my father growing up, my father
died at an early age, and I decided I had to take time away from the music, so I could better myself as a
man, and make sure I prepare my son, you know just in general. So I had to fall back, yínahmean. There
were a lot of things that I felt like I was neglecting. So I just took time away from the hip hop scene
and although the buzz was just starting to build, I know thatís what was best for me. And if I had to do
it all over again, Iíd do the same thing.
Philaflava: The Boston area has continued to have a pretty strong boom-bap influence in a lot of the music
thatís come out of the scene. Why do you think that sound has been preserved up in Boston when a lot of
areas have kind of moved away from that?
Reks: Bostonís always stayed like, weíre within arms reach of New York, the birthplace, and also because
the artists up here, weíre artists whoíve gravitated towards cypher elements, the pure DJing, pure respect
for artists whoíre like right below our state line. Just respect for the culture, I think the artists in
Boston we started to build a little nucleus of tough emcees and DJs, but weíre still not making a major
impact in the industry. So because we were not making a major impact in the industry I think the artists
themselves were remaining hungry, were remaining starving for the essence of this culture. You know when
youíre deprived, you work harder than ever to get what you know is coming to you. And I feel like that
just remained a constant in the Boston scene.
Philaflava: Tell us about working with DJ Premier and Large Professor on this album. What was that process
like? Did you guys meet up in the studio at any point or were the collaborations just arranged and they sent you beats?
Reks: With DJ Premier, I actually went to HeadQuarterz I recorded, ďSay Goodnight,Ē in HeadQuarterz.
And how that occurred is the day before we actually recorded, I went to Primoís studio, we sat down, he
actually made the beat for me. The minute he played it I was just blown away by the track, and I knew
immediately what I wanted to do with it, where I wanted to go. And it was just an amazing, humbling
experience, to know that the GOAT, the one I considered the greatest of all-time growing up, wanting
to do a track with DJ Premier and feeling like that would be the highlight of a career, had actually
come to light in him being a part of my project. You know it was the most humbling experience as far
as working with him goes.
Otherwise, with Large Pro, I didnít have the track actually physically in the studio with him. He sent
the track to Statik and we got it poppiní on that track. But it was likewise a humbling experience to
work with a giant in the game, someone who put out classic material upon classic material and to be able
to say that I rubbed elbows with some of the legends.
Philaflava: Obviously you were in the studio with Primo, but did you get reactions from them about the songs?
Reks: Oh yeah, well I mean the response was well received. I mean Primo showed a lot of love and actually
spun both of them, ďSay Goodnight,Ē and ďStages,Ē currently and when it first came out, heavily on his show.
And just the response, Large Professor felt the track, he jumped on the ending to give a shout out and
respect for what the Show Off Movement is doing. And it was just a great thing that we had that opportunity
and to have them respond in the way that they did, showing love for the track that we created.
Philaflava: Talk a little bit about the track with Fame. How you come up with the concept and how you get
him involved with it?
Reks: Well from day one, I received the track from my man Blaze P, and I wanted to do the concept. Originally,
I wanted five emcees to come out and show love and pay homage to the great emcees who had fallen, cats who we
looked up to, and who we considered legends in the game and to pay proper tribute to them, by emulating their
styles. But me and Statik sat for a little while, and we thought, you know what would be crazier is if I took
the time to like introduce the track as Reks and then to emulate all four artists that I was paying homage to,
in my own style and try to compile my own stylings into the track.
But what occurred actually, is I sat there for like a weeks time. And I just listened to Pac, and then I would
just listen to Pun. You know even though I felt like I already knew these artists and had respect to them, I
just wanted to make sure that I didnít do them any disservice when I was doing the track. You know I sat and
I analyzed, and I analyzed it, and it came about the way it did.
As far as Lilí Fame, I just didnít see anybody else bringing that hype and energy to the track, other than Lilí
Fame. So I wouldnít have it any other way, from day one we wanted Fame. And it was a blessing to actually have
him get in the studio and bang it out.
Philaflava: Statik Selektah produced a bulk of your album, and you were on several tracks on his last album,
what brought about all those collaborations between the two of you?
Reks: Ah, from day one Statik has been family. Iíve known Statik since his teenage years. He used to DJ for me
along the time of Along Came the Chosen and weíve been homies from day one. I used to sleep on his couch when
I had no place to stay; heís a brother to me. And you know for the period of time where I was kind of like you
know doing my family thing and away from the music, Statik was making waves in the industry doing what he was
doing. And you know, we hadnít lost touch, but we werenít as in touch as before. In the process, I had moved
down to Miami, which Iíve been down there for two years now. And in that time Statik had made a trip, and
said we need to put out an album, itís time itís necessary and the energy as far as hip hop is perfect for
us to drop this material, so letís just make a classic. So we got together and we banged out track after
track. What I did is every month, from the point we started working on this project I was going back and forth
from Miami to New York, from New York to Boston, and back. You know I was making sure that I was up there
banging out ten tracks at a time. And we have a catalog of material. We have enough material to make like
four or five albums within this upcoming year, if we so decided. And we are going to drop More Grey Hairs
before the yearís end. We just wanted to make classic material, and Statik Selektah like I said heís the
backbone of this project. He initiated us getting it started and I just wanted to be creative and Iím glad
we made this bond and Iím glad weíre getting it out to the people.
Philaflava: I donít know if youíve heard Nasís Untitled, but if you have what do you think about it?
Reks: I personally thought he shouldíve kept the title Nigger, I donít think he shouldíve took it off. You
know, but the message remained constant, itís unfortunate thatís gonna go over a lot of cats heads, because
theyíre not as drawn into the history and nature of what heís speaking on, the topics heís addressing, which
are very, very serious topics and necessary for our people to grow on. But Iím glad he did the album, I thought
it was very daring, I thought it was perfected, and Iím very happy with it, because Iím a major Nas fan. And
with Nas thereís always an up and down movement of what he does and what he decides to do with an album, but I
definitely think he hit it on the head with this one.
Philaflava: Ok, when you listen to you at any point do you think, ďDamn, he shouldíve reached out to Primo or
Large Professor for a beat for this song, it wouldíve really set it off a different way?Ē
Reks: I donít always look at it that way. I personally feel like I mean Nas should, Nas should always work with
Premier and Large Pro and producers of their stature and you know, the Pete Rocks. And you know just bringing it
back to that raw element of like how Illmatic came out in the presence of that raw boom-bap and that pure New York
sound. But ummÖ you know I donít think he did himself any disservice by dropping the album with the artists that
he did and Iím not trying to neglect these artists and the nature of what they brought to the table. I think they
could, save for a few tracks, I think this couldíve been classic. But I am so satisfied with the album in itís entirety.
Philaflava: Have you ever thought of doing a ďSkills 301Ē?
Reks: (Laughs) Ah, possibly. I think you might have brought it to the table before I did. But I mean itís alwaysÖ
Itís definitely something that I should look into, because you know I think the talent is lacking, and I think thereís
a need to tell cats what that pure skill mind state is. So yeah, maybe thereís a need for more teaching.
Philaflava: Howíd you link up with Skyzoo to do ďMoney on the Ave?Ē
Reks: Man, Iíve been listening to Skyzoo online and hearing his name buzzing around New York and things that he was
doing, and I was really feeling the cat. Now what initially occurred is Statik was trying to figure out who to get
on the ďTalk to MeĒ track for his album Spell My Name Right. And I was like ďMan I think Skyzoo would like really
body this track, so I think we should reach out to him.Ē And he did, so I mean from that point I had let him know
I was in the process of working on a project and I would love to have him jump on. And basically from there it was
a no brainer, the ďMoney on the AveĒ track came about, I mean shout out to my main Soul Theory, blessed with an
amazing beat, heís part of the team, part of the movement. And it was just a great opportunity to work with a
cat like Skyzoo.
Philaflava: So in that vein who are some of the artists out there these days who inspire you creatively?
Reks: There arenít many who like I would say Iím going out of my way to check for. But I definitely feel Joell
Ortiz, I like some of the stuff Kidz In the Hall are doing, Lupe Fiasco I would say is gravitating towards some
dope shit, but I have a problem with just that issue as far as they did the VH1 I think it was, and he did what
I felt was a disrespect to A Tribe Called Quest. So an artist like him, I respect the creative aspect of what heís
putting out material wise, but for him to have the kind of disrespect that he showed towards what was the greatest
group of all-time arguably that kind of like takes him down points in my book.
But you know there are cats out there that are putting out some dope material. But I mean I listen to the OGs,
I break out Return of the Boom-Bap, Adventures of Slick Rick, or old Cube tapes, Common, you know Iím an old head
man I like raw unabashed hip hop man. And I mean thereís lyrical cats, but Iím looking for defining albums.
Philaflava: Do you have any thoughts on the situation with Rick Ross?
Reks: Nah, what you mean with Rick Ross, what situation?
Philaflava: Well heÖ
Reks: (Starts laughing) Oh, youíre talking about that CO thing.
Philaflava: Yeah evidence has come out that he used to be a CO, people have different opinions on it I just wanted
to know if you wanted to speak on it at all.
Reks: I mean I donít mind speaking on it. But I personally feel that like individuals need to take into account
that you gotta live in the public so your past will come back to haunt you. If in fact, he really was, then thatís
not a real representation of who he is as an artist. So like when you come into the hip hop format, and into the hip
hop field, you know youíre gonna get tried and tested. I personally like some of Rick Rossís music, Iím not a big fan
of everything he does, but if thatís true, in effect, about his past, then ummÖ past comes back to haunt you homey.
Philaflava: What has it been like being from the Boston area with this renaissance you guys have had in sports over the last 5 or 6 years?
Reks: Oh, weíre the best sports teams in America. Yínahmean. Thereís nobody seeing us. You know Iím a diehard Red
Sox fan, Iím a diehard Patriots and Celtics fan. I go hard with basketball. So it was the greatest feeling in the
world, when we won the championship recently. And aside from Paul Pierce losing his mind and saying heís better than
Kobe Bryant, I mean I think weíre doiní our thing right now.
Philaflava: If you could make a list of your top five Boston emcees who would it be?
Reks: Termanology, Reks, ahhh it gets a little bitÖ nah seriously, you gotta think. Because you gotta have respect
for a lot of cats out there. I love Easy Money, my man Lucky Dice, Edo Gís the godfather, my man B. Knox is on the team.
You know I donít really listen to Boston hip hop. Iíve got a lot of respect for the artists out there, but I donít
know if I could comprise a top five list. Iíve got certain issues with the Boston rap scene to be honest. I think
cats have a tendency to remain too close to their neighborhood and not gravitate towards bigger heights. I wish there
was more, like I think there are cats out there that could really make it out of their hood and make that mark in the
industry. But shout out to cats like Akrobatik, Mr. Lif, Slaine, Special Teamz, and Frankie Wainwright, Smoke Bulga,
Dre Rob, you know cats like that that are doing big things on a large scale.
Philaflava: Was Scientifik an influence for you coming up, being that he was one of if not the first emcee to put Lawtown on the map?
Reks: I mean Scientifik, Krumb(snatcha) were cats that we looked up to coming up. You know they were doing it on a
large scale, and you know itís too bad Scientifik passed, you know untimely. Because he was a great talent and I
think he was destined for big things, but you know the good die young sometimes I guess and you know coming from
Lawrence, you just look back and you want to do for your city what some of the ones coming before you couldnít
completely accomplish. And you know, like I said, Rest In Peace Scientifik man.
Philaflava: Talk a little bit about what it was like growing up in Lawrence and maybe a little bit about Lawrence
in general. A lot of people donít really know much about it. I guess just explain a little bit about the
environment of Lawrence and how it shaped you.
Reks: Man I grew up in the dirt man, Lawrence is the heart of the struggle man. A lot of people donít know about
Lawrence, they may think weíre kind of caught up in the woods or what have you. But itís a mini-city, it has its
foundation in immigrants, and you know you have a strong Latino population. I grew up around a lot of Hispanic
individuals, shout out to my Hispanic brethren. My family, basically, if you knew somebody black from Lawrence,
that was basically my family fam, nahmean. Cuz thereís not a large black, African-American population, I donít
even know why I said African-American, I donít even like that word. But thereís not a strong black population
in Lawrence. But Lawrence is the gutter man. You know, everybody come up on hard times, itís a very poor
community, and everybody knows everybody. And itís a go out and get yours grind in Lawrence. If you remain
trapped in the Lawrence mind frame, you ainít never leaviní Lawrence. So itís great when you see somebody from
Lawtown make it out of the hood. You know, shout out to all the people from Lawrence who paved the way, and shout
out to the people who made it out the hood.
Philaflava: You talked a little bit about More Grey Hairs, do you see other projects on the horizon, are you going on tour, what are your next steps?
Reks: The next step is www.showoffhiphop.com you know weíre making movements in terms of just putting out, putting
our hands in everything thatís going on basically in the industry. Youíre gonna see a lot of from us man. As far
as my personal projects, like I said, I got More Grey Hairs coming. I got a dvd projects, Grey Hairs Volume 1 &
Volume 2, weíre gonna try some videos. Itís great how youtube and myspace have allowed individuals to place the
face with the name as far as the music goes. You know because individuals may not know who I am, being able to
see me on youtube and being able to kind of search me out. And Iím gaining new fans through the youtube and myspace
movement so make sure people check out
www.showoff.blogspot.com, weíre trying
to get it in this year.
Philaflava: Thanks a lot for doing the interview.
Reks: Thank you for doing it. And just tell the people to please go out and support the album. Cop the album on
Ughh.com has a good offer, you can get a free copy of the instrumentals with the
album, for those of you who are into instrumentals and digging in the crates and all that. Pick me up on vinyl, vinylís
not dead! And shout out to everybody One Love!