Reef The Lost Cauze vs. Guns-N-Butter - Fight Music

HipHopDX Editor's Rating:

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 3.5
  • 5

Average User Rating:


18 people have voted.

5 is the most popular ranking.

9 people gave it a perfect five.

Cast your vote »

Reef and company form like a Foreman Grill, cutting out the excess fat and cooking up 13 lean tracks, but at the same time, the album suffers from misguided content and pacing issues. Reef has earned the TKO, but not without having taken a few punches in

Throughout his career, Juju Mob/Army of The Pharaohs emcee Reef the Lost Cauze has had no trouble distinguishing himself as a vicious wordsmith with Jake LaMotta’s ruthlessness and early Mike Tyson’s hunger. Now, for his on his third solo LP Fight Music, the Philadelphia native steps back into the ring, this time with production trio Guns-N-Butter in his corner. Like much of solo discography, Fight Music finds Reef reclaiming old mastery, but not without a few snags along the way.

Perhaps the most endearing aspect of Reef’s artistry is his hunger. He attacks the mic with pit bull-abandon, making for an exciting listen even when he’s not at the top of his game. On the opening intro, Reef growls at the mic, “I had priors before Richard, bills before Cosby / It’s not comedy, I’m starving.” He unloads an assault of street politics and threats that puts him in the same class as Torae and Ruste Juxx. But Reef slows things down on songs like the emotional “Sun” and wholly honest “Lazy Sunday,” allowing the more personal content to properly shine. It’s in these moments that it becomes clear Reef isn’t just the barbaric brawler of an emcee that his gruff delivery would suggest.

Despite Reef’s more subdued inklings, Fight Music finds the Philly emcee knuckled up and ready to brawl. He keeps it brilliantly gully on songs like “Cut U Up,” “OPG Theme” with Vinnie Paz and Burke the Jurke and “Suicide Slang” with Slaine and the scene-stealing King Magnetic, and even stays in step rhyming alongside tried-and-true vets Kool G Rap and R.A. The Rugged Man on “Three Greats” .

Although Reef is a Picasso when it comes to thugged-out shit-talk, he has a real talent for vividly illustrating the hood. On “Get Me Out of Here,” he spits, “Cops arrest you without no evidence / Only way we getting rich is out of court settlements / Can’t move out your mama’s house, you in the basement / Can’t afford to live in the hood – gentrification.” Yet it’s on the album’s stand-out track “What We Rep” with Big Noyd that Reef melds his detailed observations with his with his more hard-body tendencies, perfectly exemplifying his capabilities as an emcee to spit great punch-lines but also adhere to a concept.

Yet Fight Music takes some on the chin in its own right. The album's middle section slugs along at snail's pace due to a series of mediocre songs. By no means are they even that bad; rather, they simply don’t elicit the same level of brilliance achieved by Reef on the rest of the album. “I’m a G” is a fairly bland string of gangsta braggadocios, while subpar guests bring down the quality of “Trigger Talk” and “Bosses” (not including Akir, whose rapid-fire verse on the latter of the two tracks is simply fantastic).

Maintaining Fight Music’s cohesive sound are Stu Bangas, J Scrilla and Chop La Rok, collectively called Guns-N-Butter. Their production seems to keep Reef focused, allowing the album to effortlessly flow even at its low points. The best of the groups beats are undoubtedly J Scrilla’s “What We Rep” and “Suicide Slang,” Stu Bangas’ “OPG Theme” and “Three Greats, and the Chop La Rok/J Scrilla collab “Sun.” Although a few beats prove to be little more than middling fare, namely “I’m a G” and “Trigger Talk,” the album is sonically hardcore with a perfect blend of samples and synth instrumentation.

Fight Music is a knuckle bruiser of an album. Reef and company form like a Foreman Grill, cutting out the excess fat and cooking up 13 lean tracks, but at the same time, the album suffers from misguided content and pacing issues. Reef has earned the TKO, but not without having taken a few punches in the process.


  • savage88

    damn this album got some bangers on it , the beats bumpin hard Sucide , we we rep , three greats . etc


    get'em reef!! another solid album from the home favorite!! pretty good in my opinion, i thought g-rap sounded off beat, like the pattern didnt fit the track but other than that! another banger!!! congrats homie! CHIEFKAMACHI.COM



  • kush nap

    this album is HARD. this album is hugh hefner in prepping for 3 teens in his smoking jacket. reef spitting duff you out, drag you out the back, crack. beats are raw, slap in the whip. reef finally delivers a full album of what i want outta the kid. hard rock head crack rap music. he can still get real on you though. the g rap and r.a. track is crazy. g rap is the fuckin GOAT, fuck your favorite emcee. track with big noyd is mean. reef did it big. if you like this shit, yall should buy it. enemy soil doin their thing, indie hustle, always support that.

  • 305ilovemia

    I Love M I A Music and Ent Presents $WonDough$ No Image No Gimmicks Just Banging Ass Music Raw and Uncut

  • 305ilovemia

    I Love M I A Music and Ent Presents $WonDough$ No Image No Gimmicks Just Banging Ass Music Raw and Uncut Reply

  • akim

    He get flow keep it up Reef

  • PeaceDunn

    Album is tough..."3 Greats, Trigger Talk (cause of Bloodsport's verse not Reefs), WHat We Rep, I'm A G, and Suicide Slang" are the standouts to me. One of the best projects of the year. Finally Reef got some production I can actually stand and bare with.

  • birzai

    REEEEEEEF. solid fucking album.

  • birzai

    REEEEEEEF. solid fucking album.

  • birzai

    reef heavy as always, and a hell of a nice guy. loves his fans. keep doing it big lost cauze.

  • ibar

  • too hardcore and grimey

    too much thug talk, its not what people care for unless they are living the hood life, I will give this a 1 because there is too much garbage here honestly

  • Magnum Opus

    More ill shit from Reef. Nice beets, Reef brings the heat as usual, and there's good balance with the guest spots. I always wondered why R.A. didn't get more features, but after he tore another verse the fuck up here I'm beginning to think most emcees are just scared of his flow making theirs seem weak in comparison, which they should be.

  • Ronzo

    I think this album is very solid i agree bloodsport is better than the subpar comment on trigger talk. I also disagree about the middle being snail pace with mediocre songs I think trigger talk, bosses, get me outta here, suicide slang are all above snail pace they all go pretty hard in my opinion.

  • alexdruck

    i would give it a 4.5 but how you gonna say trigger talk isnt a good track? thats probably my favorite track off the whole album. that shit is damn neer cinematic when it hits the hook

  • Htt20

    Solid album, but nothing more. A bit disappointed tbf. It really lacks standout tracks. Solid 3-3.5/5

  • Vanderslice


  • nickelnine

    Seriously DX? This album is much better than a 3.5. To me, it's the 3rd best album of the year so far (behind Distant Relatives and RPM). His hunger is unparalled in the current rap game. I give it a 4.5

  • jscrilla

    i dont thiink this rating is very accurate. how dude gonna say bloodsport aint catch wreck on trigger talk ? i kno dx doesnt review many albums favorably but over at the user rating is a 4.6 (out of 32 reviews) i hope the fans of reef n gnb juice this comment section up

    • nickelnine

      I think you (DX) should put the grading scale out. Because when I see 3.5, I think of an average or maybe slightly above average album. But if it means a B/B+, then I can't really argue too much.

    • DX Fam A Lam

      Absolutely, and we (as a site) are debating putting the key we used to have back up for these ratings, 'cause our whole staff talks this over, plus the writer, and a 3.5 to us is exactly what it'd be as a GPA, a B/B+. Within the last month (30+ reviews), less than 30% have received above a 3. We all genuinely like this album, and want our reviews to always reflect that. Guns-N-Butter and Reef (since '05) are appreciated/respected by us as fans/media. Congrats on the album, we like it, and encourage anybody reading this to check it out for self, and tell us why we're wrong, right, or those same ol' "DX idiots." Respect.

    • jscrilla

      touche, i admittingly came on a little strong with it. just kinda threw me off since ive been seeing nothing but great remarks about the album. i mean a 3.5/5 is essentially a 70/100 which is a D+/C- where im from. i cant agree with that is all im saying respect. i know its as hard for writers as it is for artists to get work these days

    • DX Fam A Lam

      Your user rating here is close to a 5 as well. As respect due, but criticizing our review is fine (you think it's a 5, okay)... but maybe some appreciation? After all, how many other publications are reviewing this, providing a buy link, etc.? If you don't want the opinion, don't ask for it.

  • IlladelphKilla

    I gotta give this a 4.5 out of 5, haven't taken it out of the car since I got it last week...loving the joint over all KG215

  • Indiemuzik

    Cmon it's waaaaay better than 3 1/2 stars!

  • Boom Bye Yeah

    I heard snippets, Reef sound like he back on that Feast or Famine shit... forget those last two dud albums. Dude's going in direction the fans wanted now.

    • Roycematic

      DX- keep doing your thing; people are gonna hate. Thanks for the reviews, no site like this right now.