Reef The Lost Cauze – Fight Music
TVT/The Orchard: 2010
Purchase on Amazon
As opening tracks go, Fight Music has the best jump-off I’ve heard in 2010. The track is simply called “Intro”, and in just over two minutes it manages to sum up the entire album, veering from personal testimony to social commentary to hilariously unhinged threats. It’s pitch perfect and finishes strong.
From there, the album is non-stop body blows. First up, the “OPG Theme” featured a sleepwalking Vinnie Paz and a very hungry cat named Burke the Jurke who delivers a rock solid verse that matches the intensity and flow of Reef’s monstrous opener. Next up is the Satanically catchy “I’m a G”, which doubles as a showcase of Reef’s creativity and sheer stamina, clocking in at just under 5 minutes of almost non-stop multi-syllable brutality.
“Trigger Talk” is where the production really starts to shine. The beat manages to be hard as fuck and beautiful at the same time, and I don’t think any mammal with a pulse could keep from headbanging during the chorus. Despite the fact the song is three minutes and 30 seconds of a topic that’s been done 100,000 times, the beat carries it all the way. One of my favorite tracks, “Bosses”, comes up next after a quick intro skit. Akir comes out strong and then Reef drops a classic verse slamming the older rappers who are better off retiring. The only low point on the track is K-Beta, who has a hard time sticking to the topic and feels way out of place after the two razor-sharp verses that came before him.
The highlight of the album is definitely “Get Me Outta Here”, a radical departure from the “Fight Music” theme. Reef drops a deeply personal, amazingly well-written track, easily one of the best songs I’ve heard in 2010. The beat is a perfect compliment, and repeated listens keep revealing new elements. The next album highlight is “Lazy Sunday”, which is downright experimental compared to the boom-bap on the rest of this album. The beat fits the theme perfectly, spacious and slow, but the drum programming is so layered and funky it fits seamlessly. Reef brings a stream-of-thought flow to the table and completely kills the track solo. Every verse is strong, funny and relaxed, and this track stands as a testament to his versatility (and sense of humor).
Given the lineup, I was surprisingly disappointed with “Three Greats”, which featured Kool G Rap and RA the Rugged Man. Neither of the guests brought their A game to the table here and Reef easily out-shined them both. The track was dragged down further by a mundane and boring scratch chorus, but the beat itself was an outstanding slow-burner that carries the track. I know it’s unreasonable to expect emcees to be consistent, and this was by no means a bad track. Still, it should have been an album highlight with such a powerful team onboard.
This review is, of course, personal opinion. Reef is an outstanding lyricist, but there’s only so many times I can listen to beat-down bragging before it feels stale. Tracks like “Cut U Up” and “Suicide Slang” were low points, both in terms of production and lyrics. Reef does this better than 99 percent of the tough guy rappers alive, but after seeing his potential on tracks like “Get Me Outta Here”, they feel out of place. The production team of Guns n Butter delivers a perfect backdrop for Reef, though, and considering there’s only two mediocre tracks here, I’d have to rate this a 4 out of 5. Reef gets stronger with every release, and personally, I hope future albums focus more on his creative talents than his left hook.