Humility is an often forgotten value, in a society that pushes performance and greed to their extreme. Reks is a rapper who’s got this as a personal achievement. Coming out from the shadow early 2000’s, Reks has dug his place as one of the great rappers of our time. His debut album Along came The Chosen launched him straight into the industry, directly collecting opportunities to connect with the greatest, Premo, Statik Selektah and Numanix ? Yes sir, that kind of opportunities. Reks made his name relatively quick, acquiring experience by the sides of well-known producers and rappers. Another adjective that would perfectly describe this dude’s attitude is productivity. Indeed, Reks has released not less than 10 albums since his debut, on which multiple rappers were able to put their own pieces of rhyme. All right, now you know. It was on a cold Friday night at our headquarters in Montpellier, approximately three hours before the concert started. We were enjoying our first paper filled with France purest weed when I realized Reks was coming and I was the one to write the interview. Of course, we knew who the dude was so I wrote my questions, finished my spliff and started heading to Le Rockstore, a place where people like Dj Premier came to play. We met Reks several minutes after arriving on the spot, the least I can say is that he is a man of respect. They were truly hyped out on our Magazine, and that’s the best sign of recognition we could have asked. After checking out our Authentic Dope, Reks invited us in his backstage to start the interview. Enough talking, have a look for yourself.
Jacker / What’s up Reks ?
Reks / It’s all good man. We’re happy to be here, first stage of a long tour !
J / At first, could you tell us a little bit about your story and the environment you grew up in ?
R / I come from Lawrence, Massachusetts. That’s about thirty minutes north from Boston. I was raised in Lawrence and then I moved to Boston. My up bring was in Lawrence, a small community in a city built off industrial mills. A lot of immigrants were coming in from Italy, Germany. And from there, a lot of individuals moved from the south, like my family came from South Carolina to Lawrence.
J / So you got a lot of connections in Atlanta right ? Family, rappers ?
R / Yeah, my siblings live there. Hip-Hop wise, we actually did a Boston trip in October for the Be In Town Bullies, a collective of MC’s where we attended a music Festival in the States called A3C which stands for all three cause. There’s a bunch of people coming from all over the USA and now even people from outside the States going to Atlanta.
J / So you released your debut album in 2001, what was the reaction to it ?
R /It was a good response for a debut album, coming from Mass. I got a lot of interest from the magazine so I was able to chart on billboards. But you know, I think when that album came out I was young and super egotistical and caught up in myself, my own artistry. I was getting lost you know, a young kid coming from a small city and getting a lot of attention real quick so I made a lot of mistakes early on, I burned a lot of bridges and therefore I had to reinvent myself. It’s much better now, you learn from trial and error you know. Some people get your back, for instance Statik Selektah, someone who I work constantly with. These people helped me reestablish myself.
J / How did you connect with Statik Selektah ?
R / He was DJying for me early on, he actually put his first beat on Along Came The Chosen. That was the beginning of our relationship. I don’t date myself but I think we’ve been working together since 2000-2001.
J / I read you were a B-Boy before starting your career in the Hip-Hop industry. Was that your first introduction to Hip-Hop ?
R / Well, I was super young and to be honest I shouldn’t have done that, I was a terrible B-Boy (laughing). Don’t ask me to do anything! I feel like I’m disrespecting the craft you know what I mean ? Because truly, I wasn’t a super ill B-Boy. I did that in a group called Funktown Connection.
J / You’re on Bricks Records right ? Did you get a lot of coverage before getting on it ?
R / Nah, the first piece of rhyme I was able to put on was on track with the Schizophrenics, that’s how I made the connection with Bricks because the guys were on that Record.
J / You worked with Premo, what is the feeling when you collaborate with such a legend ?
R / I’ve got a couple of records with Premo : 25th hour, Say goodnight. I’m blessed I was able to work with one of the greatest. I can’t really put it into words. When you’re a kid who wants to work with the great, it’s like a dream come true, it might sounds cliché but it’s the truth. It’s the kind of guy you look up, so you try to be down. Of course, I listened to Gangstarr Foundation. Obviously, coming from where I was coming from and be able to work with whom I considered the great and who developed the sound for the East Coast. It was an amazing experience.
J / Have you personally met Guru ?
R / I got the opportunity to meet Guru before he passed away. I never developed a relationship though. It was more a working connection. I was a huge fan of what he did, not only for the culture but also for the cast he was coming from. Just the upmost respect, but I never had a relationship with Guru.
J / Rest in Peace Guru. Nowadays, is there any rapper you would like to collaborate with ?
R / Yeah, there’s that guy Big K.R.I.T, Joey Badass and I would like to do more with MC John Connor from Flint, Michigan. My own team of course, the cast that I’m on tour with that I respect to the upmost. A lot of upcoming kids from Massachussetts as well : Easy Money, Dutch Rebel and Hockey Dice whose part of my camp. There’s this new kid Michael Christmas. So, a cast like that.
J / We hear a lot about the New-York scene, what about Boston ?
R / I think our scene was larger pre-2000, I feel there was a stronger connection between all the MC’s calling up. There were a lot more connections to the different venues and opportunities to get more attention.
J / What do you think happened ?
R / The industry collapsed you know. As a whole, I think Music is suffering. It’s gaining a lot more attention thanks to the social medias and being more visible but at the same time it’s loosing its fan-artist connection. Everyone’s an artist now...
J / What are the talents you look at, that are yet to be discovered ?
R / A lot of artists that are on the stage should be getting a lot more of fans attention. It is what it is you know, the industry is always gonna be the industry, there’s always gonna be commercialism. They’re (the majors) are gonna put in place who they feel should be.
J / I heard you saying you have children. How do you deal with the life of a rapper and a father ?
R / It’s a tough balance. I no longer am with my kids mum but she’s a wonderful woman. We make it work. I’ve always wanted to do music so she didn’t be married anymore to a MC or somebody who was living the life that I was living. Even though we grew apart, I didn’t eliminate the possibility of raising our kids.
J / Have you got any new projects coming up ?
R / Right now, I’m working on a new projects, collecting beats and deciding on MC’s but I think I’m gonna go back to the old formula where I used a bunch of different producer because on my last few albums I’ve done one with Hazardous Sound called Eye Watching God and one with Statik Selektah named Straight : no chaser and also Revolutionary with Numanix. I wanna go back to the classic Boom Bap.