Reef The Lost Cauze: Philadelphia Fight Music

AllHipHop.com caught up with one of Philadelphia’s most promising rappers, Reef The Lost Cauze. Those who follow Hip-Hop closely are familiar with Reef’s lengthy independent discography as a solo artist and as a member of Army of the Pharoahs. Reef’s new album Fight Music is his 6th and it features heavyweights like Kool G. Rap, Big Noyd.  Reef is looking to take things up a notch in 2011. AllHipHop.com: So Philly’s the area,  and we took quite a few trips out there and we heard a lot of your stuff.  We seen you up in Philly off of South Street perform, and it was incredible. Talk to   the rest of the world about the Philly hip hop scene. Reef:  Well, its interesting. The reason I say that is because there was a time where it was a lot more live, a lot more unified. Over the years, a lot of things changed, and the people that started off doing it in this area, in the underground scene with me (pauses)… You know, real life catches up, so they aren’t really doing it anymore.  But then again, there is a whole crop of people that are dedicated to the music that are still making great music.  You got    guys obviously like Black Thought [ The Roots],  who is like the King to me out here; Beanie [Sigel], And Freeway doing they thing;  Peedi Crakk just got released outta jail, and he been heating ‘em up lately; you got the young brother Meek Mill whose signed to T.I. [Grand Hustle] that is doing his thing all over the radio and mixtape scene right now. You got JedI Mind Tricks, that is holding down the underground right now. Been doing so for 13 plus years; Chief Kamachi, Bahamadia; my man Hezekiah, and my girl F.O.C. New producer named Dumb High , that’s working on a lot of new projects. So, its a lot of  talent. My man Niko Da Beast. I can go on an on, but there is a lot dope emcees in Philadelphia that are just struggling to get they name out there.  But as far as    the game, we still trying to continue to put our stamp on it. You know , cause Philly tends to be still under the shadow of New York a little bit, so its kind of a glass ceiling here. AllHipHop.com: It seems like Philly has that raw hip hop, freestyle, go hard type of appeal to it, you know what I mean? Would you agree? Reef:  Yeah, man! Absolutely. I mean, people don’t really know this, but,  Philly pretty much, as far as the arrival of battle rappers in the whole landscape of hip hop; Philly was a major part of it.  You know, Pop Art Records, here in Philadelphia, they basically produced and    put out “The Bridge” by  MC Shan, which obviously, led to the Bridge Wars. They also    put out Roxanne Shante’s response to “Roxanne, Roxanne”, which started the Roxanne    wars. So, historically, we’ve been a huge part of battle rapping from the very start of hip-hop. So, I think a lot of people forget that, but that’s engrained in our blood. You know, I spent my life, battling, and being in ciphers with dudes, trying to outshine people. So, I think that’s something real in Philadelphia, the battle circuit, because that’s something that I came up in. But a lot of people got caught up in just doing that. It’s a lot of dudes you see on these DVD’s and Youtube videos with like 1 million hits, that never put out a record.  It’s kind of frustrating because I want those brothers to    shine as well, you know. AllHipHop.com: So, do people style battle on the corner. Cause I remember back in the day it used to be a big community type thing to see people battling. Do they still battle on the corners like    that? Reef:  In Philly, you had different breeding grounds for that. Places like Bobbito Footworks, and the 5 Spot that had battles. So the competition was at the time more easier to find. Those places are not around like that anymore, but you still have organized battles that happen.  AllHipHop.com: Now, you come up on the street rapping that hard, you might get blasted. I know that statistically,  the Philadelphia area has more killings than any other area in the country right now. I mean the murder rate numbers are up there especially over the bridge in Camden!  Reef:  We’re the murder capital per capita. What that basically means is that our area for our size, we usually average about between the top 3. Places like Baltimore and D.C. are within those close numbers as well.  Camden, N.J., which is right across the bridge, is probably one of the worst places in the world as far as violence goes.  Its really sad. It’s such a beautiful city, and I love it so much,  but there’s a part of me where it really breaks my heart that its so much violence and loss through death. Young kids in communities being raped and killed by other 18-year-old kids.  AllHipHop.com: Talk to me about your recent project. Who are some of the producers?  Who are some of the people featured?  And, what’s your vision for it?  Reef:  Word. The new album is called Fight Music.  Its produced by Stu Benson and J.Scrilla, also known as Guns and Butter; A production team, based out of  Washington D.C., by way of Boston. Stu is in Boston now, Scrilla still in D.C. But, I met Stu a few years back, and we just connected. I liked his music, and he liked mine, and we started making joints together. This album has been recorded over a two, to three year period.  Because we didn’t even know if it was going to be an album. We just locked in and started making songs. Since then, it has turned into a really big project. It’s got Kool G Rap on there;    R.A. the Rugged Man;  it has my brother Big Noyd,  and K.Betta. I.K.M.; Fierce Lee, a respectable individual; my man Flames, who is coming up in the game; My dude King    Magnetic, whom I been working with closely with for the last 3 years. You know, most of it was written to and recorded on the spot. Its just a very aggressive, abrasive album, but it also has a lot of fun moments to it. It has a lot of effective moments to it.  I can easily say that it’s the album,    that out of all my work,  the music can just speak for itself.   AllHipHop.com:  What are some of your favorite songs on this project?Reef: “3 Greats” which is produced by Stu as well. Its just phenomenal because it has me,  Kool G Rap, and RA the Rugged Man. I can’t express my gratitude    enough to having them be a apart of this project.  The “ What We Rep” joint produced by J. Scrilla, with my man Big Noyd. You know, that’s another honor, just to rock with him. The vibe of that record is just crazy.  It’s been getting a lot of response.  And, “Imma G”, which is the first single that we put out, and I think Stu did that one as well.  There’s a lot    of dope records and I could never just pinpoint just one.AllHipHop.com: How did you get your start in the Philly area?Reef:  Yeah, basically I was bitten by the hip-hop bug at a very early age.  Started making demos with my crew as early as age 10 or 11. We were making demos and performing and things   like that. And its something that I always did and always loved.  At the same time, I was in school and it wasn’t like I thought that I would ever make a living out of it. But, around 17-18, I was graduating high school and I was heading off to college; not really sure why.    Probably just to keep my mom happy. I dropped out of school and dove into music head first. And its been my life every since. Its been my everything. You know, I pushed my first record, “ The High Life” in 2001, which was produced by my man Sleep B. I started    doing local shows, and from there doing the battles.  I got a lot of love locally, and took it   nationally, and now internationally; but it happened slowly but surely. I put out 5 solo singles; they say 3 because that’s the amount that I had in stores, but altogether its 5. Part of the crew Ju-Ju-Ma, which is a crew my man Chief Hama chi started; Army Of Pharaohs, which is a super group my man Benny Harold put together, and I been doing shows since 2001-2002, so I’m almost up on a decade, man. AllHipHop.com featured me years ago, but they always show love. AllHipHop.com:  What independent record shops and stores carry you CD’s, and where can new fans go to    get your material? Reef:  Honestly, you may be able to find them in the major stores. But our market is mainly the mom and pop record stores.  So, if you look at your local stores that usually carry Independent CD’s, I’m up in there. We are in your Best Buy’s and FYE. But the best place is obviously the internet.  iTunes. As far as getting physicals [copies for distribution], undergroundhiphop.com is always a great spot to holler at, and Amazon.com.  Limewire. I understand that people steal, and that’s fine. You can also come to a show and watch me rock. I just want the people to get and gravitate to the music. 

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