Review: Reks – Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme

Boston’s finest unsung hero is back with his latest offering ‘Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme’. The criminally underrated Bostonian emcee wields an unrelenting flow that would rightly put a host of more commercially successful rappers to shame, no throwaway cliches or parvenu posturing, even a proclamation that boldly eschews the transient in favour of the essential akin to other greats like Raekwon and Percee P.  Reks’ refusal to yield to the worn out commercial Hip Hop approach is evident not only in his lyrical content, but in the classic use of Premo bespoke samples and beats, Reks proves with ‘Rhythmical Eternal King Supreme’ that his class is very much permanent. This is true Hip Hop, with a self-reflective celebration of the culture, of the heritage of black music. No autotune, no plastic melodies, no bullshit. The list of collaborating producers on the record is a veritable who’s who of legendary figures: Pete RockPremoThe Alchemist and Fizzy Womack to name but a few. The endorsement from these names is testament to the talent in the man, disproportionately reflected through inexplicably low record sales. Piracy and the niche palate of the refined hip hop fan aside, the commerical underachievement belies the vast creative force that is ReksStatik Selektah’s keys in the bonus track‘Self Titled’ are reminiscent of Oscar Peterson’s ivories, there is plenty of room for the groove to breathe, while Reks deploys an asphyxiating, frenetic salvo of words, the resulting contrast is remarkable. Selektah’s vacuum tight snares puncture through the delicious low end frequencies in ‘Like a Star’ and Pete Rock’s string arrangement and gravelly bass create a menacing ether in “Thin Line”.

Reks’ style and content reminds me of the rappers we grew up on, but this record is more than a nostalgia trip to the golden era of Hip Hop. There is an uncontrived sense of authenticity to Reks’ urbane poetry: his attack on contrived Hip Hop:“accolades, escalades fade / my vernacular remain intact for the generation coming after / the average rapper you praise days numbered like a calendar” (25th Hour)Reks’ work ethic is evident in what he says: “…Any beats sent to me I’ma instantly write / til the fingertips crippled / It’ll be a sort of arthritis to finish a line” (25th Hour), but also in his lyrical enjambement and popping machine-gun-diction.  Reks is bringing the spectacular vernacular back in a big way, there is sublime delivery: “Nigga this nigga that / A nigga raps circles ‘round the map circles’ round these rap cats”, playful wit: “Bewary when R Kelly in the buildin’ / He peein’ on the children, peein on the children” (This or That), self awareness “give me freedom of speech to speak ether / That’ll send these MC’s to meet Aaliyah” (This or That), and no mincing of words: “Like Rihanna spreads gonorrhea, Chris Brown beats the blacks on her peeper” and dealing of ‘sell out’ rappers: “All these rappers over beats scary as jeepers creepers… / You are now in tuned to the truth, when Reks in the booth” (This or That). The overall effect is one of precision and the portrayal of careful consideration, a true rap connoisseur setting the benchmark for his peers. What we love about this record is that the listener can dig the music just as you can hear Reks himself is. This is a true Hip Hop record made by a true Hip Hop fan and that is what sets it apart from the competition.

Now, sure there is nothing here that, say, Nas or Talib Kweli haven’t already covered in their own way, but we find it absurd when other hacks try to claim there can be some sort of propriety over the expression of a shared cultural experience. Social decay, mindless commercialism, drugs and violence are all prevalent in the projects and low income areas of inner-cities. This is Reks’ own story told with expert verbosity and through a lens forged from his own solitary experience – which means that although the principle is the same, the manner in which it is articulated remains honest, unique and therefore interesting. After sifting through so much dross, and monotonous diluted material, it’s revitalising to hear new Hip Hop that is as finely crafted as this. In Reks’ own words: “The greatest rapper no one heard about.”

STREAM : [wpaudio url=”″ text=”Reks – 25th Hour” dl=”0″]

STREAM : [wpaudio url=”″ text=”Reks – This or That” dl=”0″]

STREAM : [wpaudio url=”″ text=”Reks – Self Titled (Bonus)” dl=”0″]

Mike Deegan Jr