It isn’t often that I do the review thing on MFD but as I’ve said in the past, I’ll make a quick note if I’m feeling something and I think you will too. With that disclaimer out of the way, let me get into the latest from New Orleans-bred, Atlanta-based rapper REi.
I remember a few years ago, watching this young man open up at damn near every show at The Loft in Midtown Atlanta. Actually, this was at the same time Jarren Benton‘s star was rising. I recall initially thinking, ‘He works hard.’ Then, ‘Wait. He can actually spit a lil’… Okay.’ But you know the tale: rap life and real life collide more often than not, especially if things don’t pop off right away. Jeezy said it best, ‘Georgia Power won’t give a n*gga lights free…’
So what do you do? Find a 9-to-5? Barter some dope on consignment and start trapping? Or create a conceptual mixtape with an A-Town legend serving as executive producer?
REi The Imperial went with the latter.
See, the thing with rappers nowadays is that they can’t stop with the cliched phrases. As someone who spends endless hours talking to and about them, I can do a mean impression:
‘I only listen to my own music and my patnas for inspiration,’ or ‘Man. This project is a special one. I wanted to do a concept album. It’s not just a mixtape, for real, for real… It’s bigger than just a mixtape.’
The latest from REi actually fulfills that last one though. If nothing else, Rise Of The Rejects is most certainly conceptual — there are ‘acts,’ yes, ‘acts’ just like a play. Truthfully speaking, it’s a little long for my taste sporting 22 whole tracks — skits included — but he’s got some real notables on there.
The premise is based on what has to be a major concern for most indie artists: Are they making the “right” decision? Are they really as “dope” as they thought they were? And if they are, why in the hell is success being so elusive?
Me being me, I enjoy hearing the N.O. emcee put his most personal feelings on wax, but of course with DJ Toomp at the helm, he’s got a number of trunk rattlers on deck too. Some of my faves include “Bookoo,” “Welcome to the Underground,” and “Every Weekend” featuring Memphis wordsmith Skewby. Give it a listen here and judge for yourself. See how easy I’ve made it for you?