REKS - Grey Hairs

Posted 8 years ago
Tags: REKS,

Love makes you do dangerous, sometimes illegal things, and back in the day my love for hip-hop...

Grey Hairs Album Review

Love makes you do dangerous, sometimes illegal things, and back in the day my love for hip-hop made me sneak into every show I could find, age limits be damned. One sweltering summer night I managed to evade security at the now defunct Boston House of Blues and found myself in the midst of a speaker-busting frenzy. Honestly, my memories of that night are a little hazy, as are most of my memories (don’t do drugs kids), but here’s what I do remember: the headliner’s name was REKS, he was absolutely killing the mic, and apparently the only crowd interaction he had developed at that point in his young career was repeatedly telling us to “put our damn hands up.”

Little did I know at the time I was witnessing the emergence of a lyrically determined man who would become an absolute force in Boston’s insular hip-hop scene. REKS quickly established himself as an underground sensation with the release of his debut album Along Came The Chosen, and although it’s taken seven-plus years for the man to put together his sophomore album, the self-deprecatingly titled Grey Hairs, all that waiting has not been in vain. For all intensive purposes a collaborative album with fellow Bostonian and rising production star Statik Selektah, Grey Hairs is a sometimes gripping, sometimes meandering album that won’t make REKS a household name – unless your household happens to love underground east coast hip-hop.

While Statik provides the majority of the beat work on Grey Hairs, REKS wisely chose DJ Premier, to lay down the foundation for his lead single Say Goodnight. Goodnight is a nostalgic east coast boom-bap track in the sense that it features muted snares, live scratches and fearlessly delivered lyrics, but it’s much more than just another track drenched in old-school nostalgia (check the 50 Cent sample on the chorus). This is what underground hip-hop needs if it’s to stay alive in the future as well as it stays connected to the past, and for that we all owe REKS a thank you. Now that I’ve given REKS his much-deserved respect, I have to point out that while REKS is a much-needed general in the war against wackness, he’s still no savior. Just take All In One (5 Mics), a track that attempts to channel the stylistic ghosts of hip-hop’s legends. It’s a hell of a concept, and it could have been an all-time classic track if REKS had pulled it off, but unfortunately he’s just not up to the task. REKS nails his Tupac recreation with an appropriately outlaw verse, and his Big Pun is pretty impressive, but you’d be hard pressed to pick out his Biggie verse without an intro, and his Big L just isn’t nearly hard enough. In a way 5 Mics is a perfect encapsulation of Grey Hairs as a whole; it’s a dope album, but the space between a dope album and legendary album is enormous, and Grey Hairs just can’t bridge that gap.

In another sense Goodnight and 5 Mics aren’t good examples of Grey Hairs’ average track, primarily because neither is produced by Statik Selektah. A solid portion of Grey Hairs’ appeal is Stakik’s stellar production work, starting with How Can It Be, a track that embeds a soul vocal sample with burning electronic synths and REKS scorching delivery of lyrics like: “Genesis, revelation, associate, whoever get the premonition to f**k wit’ me is over with.” Ironically that line serves as a premonition itself, forecasting the arrival of a the aptly-titled Premonition. Premonition showcases another round of Statik’s laid back board work, and most notably brings on fellow Boston associate Termanology for a heartfelt look back on life’s regrets. In the end it’s exactly this heart, the pulsing blood that beats on tracks as diverse as the socially significant Black Cream or the triumphant My Life, that makes REKS an MC to be reckoned with. Grey Hairs doesn’t have the hottest production, the most complex lyrics or the sickest delivery, but it has heart, and in an age where hip-hop sometimes barely has a pulse, we need all the heart we can get.

DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins

Comments
Written by
Posted 8 years ago
Get The PLUG app by DJBooth and get the best hip-hop writing and news delivered daily.

Sample Text - Sample Link
0:00
3:00
Shrink
Hide

More from REKS

Featured Video

Hip Hop News

First Listen: Spark Master Tape Delivers Trunk-Rattling “KKALLABASSASS”

The mysterious new act drops off a hard-hitting, exclusive world premiere. Read More
Posted 9 minutes ago by Brendan V

Isaiah Rashad’s “The Sun’s Tirade” Will Feature Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock & SZA

With the album dropping in less than three days, Top Dawg has revealed the tracklisting for Zay's sophomore album. Read More
Posted 42 minutes ago by DJ Z

Announcing A3C & DJBooth’s Top Prospects Showcase This October

If you will be in Atlanta and love great music, this is one show you don't want to miss. Read More
Posted one hour ago by Brendan V

Seeing Beyond Reality: The Psychedelic Shift In Hip-Hop

We're in the midst of a renaissance in hip-hop, and psychedelics are playing a big role in that shift. Read More
Posted 2 hours ago by Brent Bradley

Young Thug Doesn’t “Care For Sex That Much,” But Has He Heard His Own Music?

There's a stark difference between the real life Thugger and his overtly sexual rap persona. Read More
Posted 3 hours ago by Brent Bradley

The Overlooked Brilliance of Joey Bada$$’ “Devastated” Release

It looks like Joey has more tricks up his sleeve than he’s willing to let on. Read More
Posted 4 hours ago by Brent Bradley

TRENDING NOW



Flame

TOP 20 MUSIC CHARTS


Discover the best new songs, videos, and albums added to the Booth.