Band of the Day

2012.06.21

Reks

The underground rapper proves why he's the Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme
Before I fade to black, face the mirror, face the fact. Fate appear to backtrack, where the plaques at?
lyrics from 25th Hour

American rapper Corey Isiah Christie, better known as Reks, began on the Lawrence, Massachusetts underground rap scene. By the time he reached college at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, he already had established a local following and eventually dropped out to begin recording for Brick Records. He subsequently released his debut album Along Came The Chosen in 2001. Reks became a cult favorite in the underground rap circles, and his debut album earned nominations for both Hip-Hop Album and Artist of the Year by the Boston Music Awards. His 2011 album R.E.K.S. was released to critical acclaim and defined the acronym as Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme. Reks’ fifth studio album, Straight No Chaser, was released on April 24, 2012 on both ShowOff, and Brick Records. The album was produced entirely by DJ, Producer and CEO of ShowOff Records, Statik Selektah, who has produced on every Reks album release.

Using samples has always been a point of controversy in hip hop music. Aside from the legal troubles that can come from using samples without the proper clearance, there's the argument that a song with samples will never be as original as something self-produced. But on the flip side, there's this wonderful thing that happens when you hear a song with samples—it makes you discover completely new (and old) songs. Reks (which stands for Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme), is the stage name of Corey Isiah Christie, a rapper who doesn't shy away from using samples in his songs. Since releasing his 2001 debut album, Along Came The Chosen, the Lawrence, Massachusetts-native has become a cult favorite in underground rap circles. And on his 2012 studio album, Straight, No Chaser, Reks uses samples in such a way that it feels like an homage to the music that inspired him to pursue a career in hip hop in the first place. Take the song “Regrets,” which takes us all the way back to 1978 by sampling the opening from Marvin Gaye's song, “Here, My Dear.” The laid back R&B groove and Gaye's soulful croon is smoothly contrasted with Reks' flow, which sometimes transitions from rapping to singing on a chorus that's about living life with no regrets (“celebrate the life we live/looking back won't take it back for shit,” sings Reks). Opening track “Autographs” jumps up a decade, by sampling the line “autograph pictures to classy hoes” from the 1986 Beastie Boys' classic, “No Sleep Till Brooklyn.” Giving a tip of his hat to modern day hip hop is “Such A Showoff (feat. Kali, JFK, Termanology),” which takes a sample—the line “I'm such a showoff!”, expertly scratched and mixed in by Reks—from the song “Lift Off” from Kanye West and Jay-Z's 2011 collaborative album, Watch The Throne. And it's not just music that inspires Reks—“Riggs & Murtaugh” stems from the 1987 cult classic buddy cop film, Lethal Weapon, starring Mel Gibson as Martin Riggs and Danny Glover as Roger Murtaugh. The song has Reks and guest star Action Bronson, arguably the most famous Albanian-American rapper, taking turns spitting out dark rhymes about pill popping and suicide amidst Statik Selektah's expert production work. Five studio albums deep, with Straight, No Chaser Reks has solidified his self-proclaimed title of being the Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme.