It’s not surprising that when we got up with REKS to do this interview, he was on the move, driving back to Massachusetts. Sitting still is something The Lawrence, Massachusetts product doesn’t seem able to do, as he just dropped his eighth album, Eyes Watching God. The album was produced entirely by producer Hazardis Soundz, who has done incredible work as a producer and engineer for N.O.R.E. and countless others. Eyes Watching God not only features sharp, socially conscious rhymes from REKS but also showcases more risk-taking from the MC, as Haz pushes the boundaries of REKS’s sound further than any of his past releases. ProfileWild caught up with one of the games most slept-on lyricists to dissect his new album, talk about his relationship with Statik Selektah and DJ Premier, go through some of his standout cuts over the past few years, talk about what it means to still be working with Brick Records, who put out his debut album Along Came the Chosen in 2001, and much more in this exclusive interview.
Here are some quotes from the feature:
On working with producer Hazardis Soundz for an entire album:
I think what it was an ability for both of us to let go of our idea of how things should sound and what specific sound individuals peg me for. They try to put me in a box with the one way REKS should sound. I feel like with Eyes Watching God, we kind of tested the boundaries of a “REKS project.” It felt good to get with Haz, who wanted to take a chance with beats that I don’t typically or normally rap over. He wanted me to try some different sounds and I was game for it.
On putting N.O.R.E. and Saigon together on “Garvey”:
Dope is dope. I’ve never been one to dwell on a pairing so much as realizing that dope is dope. A lot of individuals aren’t going to see that pairing, especially on a record like “Garvey,” and think that that’s the track that I would have chosen for him to be on. But going back to the CNN work, it made sense for me to use a legendary voice like N.O.R.E. for a record like that. Obviously Hazardis Soundz has a longstanding relationship with N.O.R.E. We could have asked him to get on any record but that was the record that made sense. That was the record that was going to have the biggest voice, in my opinion, to kind of set it off and have the most lasting representation with the audience. I felt like those two individuals were the ones I wanted to share the mic on me with that one. Saigon was a no-brainer with his history of approaching fresh subject matter on a regular basis. N.O.R.E. does it and they both come from a street aware mentality, N.O.R.E. more on the grimy end and Saigon’s still grimy but the brother’s trying to reach out to the youth. I felt like they were the perfect individuals for that “Garvey” record.
On still getting props on the Grey Hairs album:
It was created during that period of time where I was trying to find the balance between the music, being a married man, and being a father for the first time and that music kind of defined a period in time where not only was I searching for a balance but I was trying to see if music would be a career and if I would have a career in hip-hop. It also represented a kind of parallel between my coming up and coming of age.