Save for the cautionary tale of Ed O.G. & Da Bulldog‘s “Be A Father To Your Child” [click to read] the unlimited gifts and universal rhymes of Gang Starr‘s Guru [click to read] and the controversial tactics of Benzino and the Made Men/Almighty RSO, Boston was never necessarily known as a hotbed for Hip Hop. Recently however, the bubbling rise of regional acts from all over the country have allowed the Bay State representatives to reintroduce themselves to Hip Hop’s collective ear as a variety of emcees and producers earning their fair share of shine.
Enter Reks. A battle-tested, weary rapper, the Beantown lyricist bubbled on the underground scene for nearly a decade before dropping last year’s Grey Hairs, a surprise hit that harkened back to the days of traditional boom-bap hip hop, powered by the DJ Premier-produced “Say Goodnight.” After the success of the album, Reks returns to the scene with his second album in less than a year, the appropriately titled More Grey Hairs.
With the album’s jump-off “Bitter,” it’s clear for Reks [click to read] that the struggles of life are never-ending, as he spits, “We all age, grey hairs is gon’ add on/Years gon’ pass by, we all gon’ head home,” over the somber backdrop provided by The Soul Searchers, before contemplating to switch his style to match the current stream the powers-that-be that run the various entertainment conglomerates broadcast to the masses on “Play My Music” [click to listen] reuniting with fellow Bostonian Statik Selektah [click to read].
With Statik behind a nearly half of the album’s boards, Reks sounds his most comfortable over the neo-boom bap styling. On “StereoTypes,,” Reks challenges the hackneyed typecasts in society today, rhyming, “Black people love to stunt in the club/Throwin’ they jewels, actin’ new in the club/In the news, Black folks’re killers and thugs/Quit school, so we can rap and sell drugs,” over vintage kicks and snares, with the lambasting continuing on “Killaz On Wax,” as the emcee verbally knuckles down studio thugs and halfway crooks.
While Statik is not the only producer, the results from other soundscape artists are either hit or miss. While DJ GI Joe reworks a Kool & The Gang sample for “System” that allows Reks to wrap his way around and through the stuttering bass line, DEMO‘s uninspiring beat gives way to an unimaginative use of Auto-Tune and other vocal distortions on the sleepy “Goodnight And Goodluck” [click to listen] while DJ Premier is surprisingly off the mark on “Cloud 9” [click to listen].
While sonically better than the original, More Grey Hairs is simply a rehashed version of its predecessor. While that is not necessarily a terrible thing, with many tracks having a similar taste Reks is unable to fully give a broad spectrum of who he truly is. Nonetheless, the album has enough hard hitting tracks to keep Father Time away from discoloring Reks‘ beard some more.