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The Key Studio Sessions: Reef the Lost Cauze

The first time I encountered legendary Philly MC Reef the Lost Cauze, it felt like a whirlwind. The year was 2010, the occasion was an album release party for producer Dumhi’s latest project The Jungle at the ultra-hip Slingluff Gallery in Fishtown. The celebration was in full swing when Reef arrived, right on cue, just in time to cup the microphone and spit fire on “Lions” and “Philly Cousins.” He paced the gallery with intensity, worked the crowd as they sipped their craft beer bottles, and then as quickly as he appeared, he was gone.

If that formidable first impression was not enough, the second time was even more intense. It was two years later, early on in my tenure at WXPN, and a group of us was set up in the studio filming a collaborative Key Studio Session with local hip-hop bog Philadelphia Music Magazine. A live band provided the backing for Reef and his friend and rap scene contemporary Ethel Cee; Reef had never played with a band before, was incredibly hype over their energy, and poured everything he had into a gutting performance of “This Is My Life” that left the entire room breathless.

Later on, in an interview with PMM’s DJ AfroDJiak, Reef gave some context for the gripping nature of his performances.    Continue reading →

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Reef the Lost Cauze emerges in top form on the all-encompassing The Majestic LP

Reef the Lost Cauze | photo by Reji B. for WXPN | rejibphotography.com
Reef the Lost Cauze | photo by Reji B. for WXPN | rejibphotography.com

It’s seems like veteran Philly MC Reef the Lost Cauze is always cooking up some project or another — the Bear-One collaboration Furious Styles, the Snowgoons set Your Favorite MC, his regular Reef Radio podcast — but there’s something special about The Majestic. Arriving on the internet this morning, just 24 hours before his 37th birthday, the project is an all-encompassing survey of everything Reef is all about.

He’s on the offense, taking shots at superficial rappers who book studio time just to take selfies (an actual lyric, an actual practice as well), but he’s also reflective and sensitive, effusively showering love and affection on his family, spitting bars of eternal dedication throughout the project and focusing an entire song on his three-year-old son Manny.

At some moments, he’s both those things at once. Continue reading →

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Don’t miss Reef the Lost Cauze, The Bul Bey, and Hezekiah at Beyond the Bars benefit at JB’s

Reef the Lost Cauze | photo by Reji B. for WXPN | rejibphotography.com
Reef the Lost Cauze | photo by Reji B. for WXPN | rejibphotography.com

On August 26th, Reef the Lost Cauze, The Bul Bey, and Hezekiah will take the stage at Johnny Brenda’s for not only an amazing and epicly stacked local show, but also as a benefit for the Beyond the Bars organization.

Founded in 2015, Beyond the Bars is a nonprofit with a mission to bring musical instruments and instruction to incarcerated youth in Philadelphia. Since its inception, a press release states that the organization has guided sixty young adults in writing and recording their own music across a variety of genres, along with recently implementing a free music program for Philly youth with incarcerated loved ones. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Gun$ Garcia at Ortlieb’s, Chill Moody and Reef the Lost Cauze at Johnny Brenda’s, Cold Cafe at Underground Arts and more…

gun$ garcia
Gun$ Garcia | photo via Facebook

Local DJ Gun$ Garcia headlines a free night of music at Ortlieb’s. The D.C. native honed her record-spinning skills while at art school here in Philadelphia, joining up with the Brick Bandits collective and getting tapped for sets at the Mad Decent Block Party thanks to her dance-centric style of DJing. Stream Garcia’s remix of “A Little More” by Ariana Grande below and get more information for tonight’s show here.

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Watch Reef the Lost Cauze’s new video for “You Know Me Well” from Furious Styles

Reef The Lost Cauze
Reef the Lost Cauze | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

Philly rapper Reef the Lost Cauze teamed up with versatile Philly beatmaker DJ Bear One this summer for the Furious Styles LP, released via iTunes last month. It’s hard-hitting, unflinching rap of the sort that people who sing the praises of Run The Jewels might dig…the difference being that Reef has been doing his thing for about a decade longer than RTJ.  Continue reading →

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Required Listening: Reef the Lost Cauze makes his voice heard on “Radio Suckas”

Reef The Lost Cauze | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN | hellerhound.com
Reef The Lost Cauze | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN | hellerhound.com

Philly rapper Reef the Lost Cauze has never been one to mince words, and his latest record, Furious Styles – out now via Soulspazm – sees him and a cast of friends, from producer DJ Bear One to STS, Peedi Craak and Truck North, doing just that.

Exhibit A: the fierce and furious “Radio Suckas,” which meditates on the homogeny of corporate media, and the barriers it creates – particularly for black artists – when it comes to getting voices heard.  Continue reading →

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The High Key Portrait Series: Reef The Lost Cauze & DJ Caliph-NOW

ReefCaliph-9762_horiz

High Key” is a series of profiles conceived with the intent to tell the story of Philly’s diverse musical legacy by spotlighting individual artists in portrait photography, as well as with an interview focusing on the artist’s experience living, creating, and performing in this city. “High Key” will be featured in biweekly installments, as the series seeks to spotlight artists both individually and within the context of his or her respective group or artistic collective.

In the Summer of 2015, Spotify published a survey of 1000 cities internationally, analyzing some 20 billion tracks, and concluding that hip hop was the highest consumed genre of music worldwide. That’s maybe no surprise to its fans, especially in New York City and in Philly, the two cities where the genre was conceived and first took root in the late 1970s.

Philly’s own Sharif Lacey is better known as Reef The Lost Cauze. Together with friend and producer Todd McConnell, known onstage as DJ Caliph-NOW, Reef has earned his status as a prominent steward of that legacy.

Informed by influences as diverse as Killer Mike, to Jadakiss, to Phantogram, to local compatriots The Roots and the late Philly rapper Viro the Virus, Reef’s prolific catalog offers eclectic tastes of a full spectrum of hip hop’s evolution, including an upcoming release with producer DJ Bear-1 on the Soulspazm label that the rapper considers to be his “most accessible, most gutter record” to date. He notes, “I’ve never really done something that I think dudes that hustle in the streets of Philly would really fuck with, and [Furious Styles] is that record.” Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: George Clinton at Sands Bethlehem, Reef the Lost Cauze at Voltage Lounge

George Clinton
George Clinton | photo via Facebook

Legedary funk man George Clinton performs at Sands Bethlehem tonight. Leading a number of incarnations of his bands Parliament and Funkadelic since the 50s, Clinton became known as the Grandfather of Funk after catapulting the genre into popularity. Now running a solo act, Clinton performed “Uptown Funk” with Mark Ronson, Mary J Blige and Grandmaster Flash at Glastonbury just last week. Pick up tickets for tonight’s concert here and watch the video for his song “Atomic Dog” below.

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Reef The Lost Cauze and King Syze strike fear in the opposition with “Sigel”

Reef the Lost Cauze | photo via www.facebook.com/lostcauze
Reef the Lost Cauze | photo via www.facebook.com/lostcauze

As if Philadelphia legend Reef The Lost Cauze had any other reason to be more menacing.  The new track “Sigel” with fellow underground Philadelphian King Syze displays the two trading bars in a video that’s shot in various locations around the city.  The Snowgoons remix is believed to be part of Year of the Hyenas, a collaborative album between the two artists that’s due out July 2nd. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Vaselines with Amanda X at Johnny Brenda’s, Mic Stew and Reef the Lost Cauze at Underground Arts, Arc Iris at Tin Angel and more…

The-Vaselines-1

Scottish outfit The Vaselines visit Johnny Brenda’s with Amanda X tonight. The indie pop veterans first released material in 1987 on an EP called Son of a Gun. Seven more efforts followed, culminating in last year’s V for Vaselines LP which was partially a nod by The Vaselines to the sound of the Ramones. Tourmates Amanda X kept busy last year with shows near and far while recording a new 7″. Tickets and information for the 21+ show can be found here; watch The Vaselines’ video for “High Tide Low Tide” below.

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