REKS – Straight, No Chaser Review

There is a beauty in Hip Hop when rare expectations are fulfilled in the next generation. A next generation filled with MCs that have really mastered flow, precision, pacing, diverse content and intensity. Boston’s Reks, as with Chief Kamachi or J-Live, is one of the most consistent workmen MCs of the 00’s and steps into the new decade extremely effortlessly. Reks is a prototype MC that makes head nodding listening music that has all of the 90’s elements of addiction.

This is MCing with no technical mistakes and if one isn’t listening close enough there is a hypnotic obsession with his flow that leaves the content for repeated listening. A content that covers a broad spectrum of social situations from relationships (“Break Ups”), scandalous groupies(“Cancel That”), fatherhood (“Parenthood”), the individual perspective on societal oppression (“Lost in Translation,” “Power Lines”), the duty of the MC writer (“Regrets”) and countless other introspective joints (“Sins,” “Sit/Think/Drink,” “730”). The album is not focused on overtly dynamic MC acrobatics as the double time rhyme flow on “Riggs & Murtaugh.” Instead, it’s a mid tempo Boom Bap grind where Reks lends detail to his mentality and Statik Selektah’s production speaks to us subtly using the Premo-rooted scratch techniques (“Cancel That”) and Soul sampled extensions (i.e. the end of “Autographs”).

The features all match up respectfully with Easy Money’s verse on “Power Lines” syncing with Reks’ rolling flow as they drop anthemic vignettes through details of hell. Though this is the type of introspective album that didn’t need any features it is an album recorded in studio with all its guests and the camaraderie and its relayed sentiments are easily noticed as with Slaine’s energetic intensity on the title cut or Kali, JFK and Termanology going rugged on the posse cut “Such a Showoff.”

There certainly is excitement caught in expertise through Straight as when “Chasin’” introduces its piano loop with repressed break halting. Reks revs up with false starts as well with “Chasin, chasin…go get that, the good die young in the hood I’m from…” to drop precisely on beat with a flow that has a perfect racing pace. This is gross effortlessness and it deserves noting how difficult it is to hit on tracks like this. This is a craftsman’s album and Selektah’s beats are not just tossed but produced to further Reks’ deliberate intentions to enthrall and engage you with his no nonsense content heavy approach.

Ultimately, survival today is in exhibiting one’s quality prolifically. Unfortunately, loading us with mixtapes, versing every freestyle opportunity and releasing LPs yearly are now expected. The dilution of great work is highly possible but absolutely not here as Reks immediately follows 2010’s R.E.K.S. LP with another expert effort. If there are many primes in Reks’ career they are well earned but it must be noted that this album is another record in this current prime for him.

By Sunez