2008 promises to arguably be the biggest year yet for
Massachusetts Hip Hop. Like Termanology,
Reks is another hard spitter from the patriot state that utilizes expert
production from DJ Premier, Large Professor
and Statik Selektah to bring back
that roughneck rap that lives these days both in blogs and boomboxes. Aptly
titled Grey Hairs, Reks shows that greatness takes time
and consumes stress, but four years after his last album, Reks reintroduces himself with a megaphone in his mic.
“Say Goodnight” is the epitome of what Reks
brings to the table. DJ Premier
supplies a beat that updates his formula, as Reks uses the original texture of the composition to alter the
timing in his delivery and emphasize cadence. Like Skyzoo (who is featured on the album) and Torae, Reks is proving
that there are artists in the new class worth of hanging at the Headcourterz. Rhytmatic Eternal King Reigns Supreme
lives up to his name with coded-language verses, connected by scratch-choruses.
Just as the album opens with a nod to east coast boom-bap, the second half goes
into the pensive perspectives that the region has traditionally given us from Edo G and Guru. “Premonition” is a joint effort with Termanology and Consequence
that finds the three analyzing their drive to be here, and why patience is a
rare virtue in Hip Hop. As quickly as Reks
can kick in a door with a hot 16, he can point to a window that was previously
unseen in another.
While DJ Premier‘s
progressive production deserves affirmation, Large Professor‘s effort (“Stages”) is the real shocker. The
chop-master also utilizes scratches and a collage of samples to add a true gem
to his catalog. The song splits into a look at performing stages and phases of
art, fitting for an emcee hitting his stride, and a producer updating an
approach similar to his Illmatic work.
Besides the two heavy-handed legends, Statik
Selektah handles a bulk of the album with a subtle style of Soul and
Jazz-descended tracks that keep the cold street atmosphere brewing with a sense
of timing and ability that places him snugly in the lineage of the two
Although his first two albums brought Reks into plenty of underground Hip Hop discussions, Grey Hairs lends itself to do more for
this emcee’s career in one year than the last 10. Nevertheless, the dues paid
are apparent in the confidence, mic presence, and carefully chosen topics that
this album offers. The Showoff Records
label brings the ’90s quality to the music with a contemporary approach and
pace to getting it out, and Grey Hairs
is likely to still sound meaningful when we’ve all got them.