Reks Straight, No Chaser

Reks Straight, No Chaser
The best tracks on Reks' Straight, No Chaser are those in which the Massachusetts-bred MC brings the Golden-era ruckus and combines it with a fresh slant on played-out rap clichés. This occurs about half the time, then, if we're lucky, Statik Selektah (a long-time friend of Reks, who produced the LP) lets the instrumentation run its course, marrying harmony and ruckus for a perfect combination. It's a match made somewhere between Boston and Brooklyn, along U.S. Route 1. Yet that extra dimension to the music – when Statik plays tastemaker – occurs much less frequently on the LP, maybe only on a handful of tracks ("Power Lines," featuring Ea$y Money, "Riggs & Murtaugh," featuring Action Bronson, and "Straight, No Chaser," featuring Slaine). The rest of the time REKS spends trying to convince us he still has his ear to the streets. He raps, well, about everything, from Sean Bell and the seven deadly sins to Tupac and the persisting slave mentality in hip-hip. In his words, Reks raps about things that would "make his sons proud," over a masterful array of keys, strings, horns, sound bites and even organ. At the end of the day, Reks is that small town dude who's grown up to be a dad and spits rhymes for a living. He's been doing the gig for 15-plus years and only now, in 2012, is he (very rarely) running out of things to say. (Brick)