(AllHipHop Features) Many Hip Hop devotees remember the first album that turned them into an unabashed follower of the culture. For Rey “Renegade El Rey” Oliver, Nas’ I Am… did more than make him a rap fan. The 1999 LP inspired him to actually step into the booth.
“Nas made me feel his point of view, and I wanted people to feel mine,” says Rey.
The German-born, Tennessee-raised rapper was first exciting crowds as a wide receiver. Rey spent time on the University of Memphis football team, but he later began taking recording arts classes at Full Sail University.
After leaving the Orlando area institution, Rey became an unpaid intern at the famous Stankonia Studios in Atlanta. His engineering mentor John Frye decided to move on from the space, and Renegade then became the studio manager for the house OutKast built.
Stankonia opened up the chance for Rey to work behind the boards for Big Boi, Killer Mike, Future, T.I., J. Cole, Janelle Monae, and many more. In 2010, the talented southerner also added founder of Southern Eagle Music Group to his LinkedIn profile.
Increasing his company’s service clientele as well as crafting his own tunes are part of Renegade El Rey’s plans for the future. AllHipHop.com caught up with the budding entrepreneur to take part in the “Three Questions” interview series.
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What’s one of your most memorable moments with Big Boi?
I would have to say going on his “Shoes For Running” tour with him and Killer Mike as an artist would be the most memorable. To be able to travel from city to city performing in front of people who have never heard of me and have them embrace my music the way they did meant a lot to me.
What is one fact about Renegade El Rey the artist that most people may not know?
Many people think that I’m an engineer that decided to rap. When actually I’m an emcee that decided to be an engineer. I needed a way out of Memphis and needed to add value to myself, so going to Full Sail to be an audio engineer did just that for me.
Your song “Yeah Yeah” references 8Ball & MJG’s “Lay It Down.” If you could only listen to three of their songs for the rest of your life, which songs would you pick?
I would have to pick “Paid Dues” featuring my big brother CeeLo Goodie. It just has always given me that “grind through the BS” feel, even to this day. “Don’t Flex” because it’s on some hype and laid back sh-t at the same time. And as a young wild youth in Memphis, that’s how I grew up feeling. [laughs] Real sh-t.
“Daylight” because in Memphis, we all hustle hard for that dollar, and that record will always resonate with the hustler in me. It’s a real grind type of song. “Sho Nuff” featuring Tela, because I still remember the first time it came out and got everybody grooving. Even though I was just a kid, it still made a huge impression on me. My bad man. I couldn’t just name three. [laughs] It’s Ball and G!