Massachusetts-bred rapper Reks is no rookie in the rap game, having dropped his debut album in 2001 to local acclaim and four more since. But to be honest, I was fortunate enough to receive a late pass in 2011, not catching on until “25th Hour”, a lyrical barrage over the gritty production of DJ Premier. Having just released a collaborative project with Statik Selektah (Straight, No Chaser), and another full-length to release this summer, Reks is making sure I’m not the only one to catch on. We caught up with Reks to talk about working with Statik Selektah, a short-lived breakdancing career, and his predictions for the NBA Finals.
Congrats on the new album. Tell me a little about how the process for making this album was different since you worked exclusively with Statik Selektah?
REKS: It was familiar since I work extensively with Statik even if it isn’t his production because I’m always recording there. I’m always in New York, even though I live in Florida. Very, very simple formula to work with someone who you’ve worked with consistently over the years, even going into the environment where you grab some food, grab some brews, and get it work. Very simple, laid back.
Did you find it harder to make a project to one producer’s beats rather than a collection of producers?
REKS: I definitely found it different, but I knew we were going to do it regardless because our intention was to make a collaborative effort in the Pete Rock/CL Smooth type of deal, Gang Starr obviously, the old formula of the 90s, making it fresh and new. We always knew we were going to do it and I’m completely happy with it.
The first track on the album, “Autographs”, samples the Beastie Boy’s “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”. Were you a big Beastie Boys fans?
REKS: I wasn’t a big Beastie Boys fan, but I was a fan nonetheless and respect what they brought to the table. They were innovative, they were before their time. They were in a time where white rappers were not very….very, outspoken or vocal. They were groundbreaking, so much respect to them, and RIP MCA.
Yeah, RIP to a great one. You also had a feature on the album that’s gotten a lot of attention, Action Bronson. You guys go back and forth with bars on that track, were you in the studio together or had you sent him your verses?
REKS: We actually wrote together and recorded together. That was actually something different than what goes on these days and what I’ve done. We all live in this technology heavy, crazy world, where sliding over a track to somebody happens all the time. Nobody uses the original formula, which was to get two people together and get them to knock it out together. It was good to vibe with Action, feed off his energy, and him to do the same with mine. That’s why we were able to put out such a dope record.