Boston emcee Reks has been making noise in the underground scene for about ten years now. The Brick Records alumnus’s critically acclaimed debut Along Came The Chosen dropped in 2001 and featured the likes of Pacewon & Young Zee of the Outsiderz, 7L & Esoteric, J-Live and Shabaam Sahdeeq. His 2008 follow-up Grey Hairs, also widely acclaimed, featured production by DJ Premier and Large Professor, in addition to emcees Consequence, Skyzoo, Krumb Snatcha, Termanology and Big Shug. The emcee’s new LP, R.E.K.S. (Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme) has caught the attention of listeners with it’s impressive roster of producers including DJ Premier, Pete Rock and The Alchemist. Does the new LP live up to the buzz?
R.E.K.S. features stellar production coupled with a talented emcee. The album kicks off on a strong note with the DJ Premier produced “25th Hour”, a banger that puts the emcees talents of full display. Reks is at his best on tracks such as “Thin Line”, “Why Cry (feat Styles P.), and “Face Off” (feat. Termanology). The emcee displays a bit of creativity on the clever “Kill Em” as he does his best game impression, name dropping emcees on the battle tip. With a collection of battle rhymes, Reks does his bit to show that true emcees are not dead. The standout track though is the Statik Selektah produced banger “This Or That” which puts both producer and emcee of full display as Reks and Statik Selektah show the chemistry forged over years of friendship.
In addition to the battle side of R.E.K.S., the album also shows an introspective side where the emcee talks about the man and not just the rapper. The bonus track “Self Titled” is a perfect example of this as Corey comes to the forefront. Tracks such as “Mr. Nobody” discuss his past, “Cigarettes” (featuring Lil Fame) discusses his biggest vice and “This Is Me” which discusses his struggle to deal with a family tragedy. A strong album not only features strong production but also gives us a view into the soul of the artist and R.E.K.S. accomplishes both.
Being backed by a who’s who of hip-hop producers can set an album up for failure and lead to unfair expectations. But in the case of R.E.K.S.the finished product lives up to the buzz. The production, coupled with Reks’ mic skills serve to make R.E.K.S. one of the more solid releases of 2011. As a hip-hop fan, it’s hard to ask for more.
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