Reks is yet another MC from Boston that has yet to blow up NYC big, despite having the talent and sound to do so. With Grey Hairs he comes with interesting production helmed by the incredibly solid Statik Selektah, along with Large Professor and DJ Premier, making this is one of the top underground albums to come out this year.
The album opens up with the album namesake “Grey Hairs”. Produced by Blaze P it sounds like it could have been a top notch cut from the Roc-A-Fella catalog. It sets up the album well, with quick strings, a soul sample, and some keys for Reks to introduce himself and his life. “Say Goodnight” brings the DJ Premier production, on one of his dirtiest beats in recent memory. Apparently with Gang Starr on hiatus, he’s not saving his best beats. Reks unleashes almost on the state of the game, there’s so many good lines but, “Rockabye, pop rapper to sleep, heavenly conscious melodies monstrous, R’s one hell of an artist” blew us away.
Statik Selektah steps up the production big time with “How Can it Be”. Using some chipmunk soul and a variety of samples, Reks unleashes over this beat. The track is upbeat, but Reks projects his anger and it’s a great contrast for the song. Noticeably throughout the album he manages much better on his own, rather than with R&B vocals or guest rappers. When left on his own, he lets all his energy out, but when rained in and forced to share tracks. the songs suffer.
Another problem is that while the sound is very reminiscent of the 90’s, it also has an extra long track list that spans 20 deep. While this can feel like an artist is being generous, if you’re pressing the skip button every other song, it’s just more work for the listener. Once the guest spots stop, the album gets back on track with “Cry Baby”. While it might be the complete opposite of hope you can hear the devastation in Reks voice.
The last three tracks on Grey Hairs are all album standouts. A song to his friends, family and those who know him, “Long While” is one of the more thoroughly positive songs that helps to balance out some of the troubled emotions that manifest earlier in the album. “Big Dreamers” is another track that anyone can relate to, as Reks talks about his dreams, hopes, growing up, and what he’s done and accomplished. “Isiah” might be the best beat on the album and is a great closer that sums up the albums sound perfectly. With Grey Hairs, Reks proves that he is definitely one of the few MC’s who knows how to make a coherent album, and not just a collection of singles. - Dane Johnson
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