Remember that episode of Friends where Joey tells Rachel that during high school, there was a rumor going around that she was a hermaphrodite cheerleader? Reks does. He might even be able to tell you in which episode and season it happened.
Yes, Reks, the Massachusetts-based rapper who claims to be “the best rapper nobody heard of” isn’t ashamed to talk about his love for the squeaky-clean ’90s sitcom featuring six yuppies happily making out with each other and drinking coffee in Lower Manhattan. He’s so far from ashamed that he put up with 15 minutes of questions about it while driving to an in-store appearance in New Hampshire on the day his latest album, R.E.K.S., was released. Reks has been a dominant force in the underground hip-hop scene since his debut LP, Along Came The Chosen, was released back in 2001. Ten years later, Reks has teamed up with a slew of hip-hop’s top-notch producers on his hardest-hitting album yet. A few of the legends providing beats for the talented MC include DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Alchemist and Reks’ go-to man, Statik Selektah.
So, your publicist told me that you watch the show Friends religiously. Is that true?
Oh yea, religiously, that’s very true. In fact, I watched season seven last night.
The whole season?
[Laughs] No, about three episodes.
How did you get into that show?
It’s fucking retarded, real talk. All my niggas in the hood think I’m crazy. I was going on a trip with my home girl that I grew up with. She graduated with a Ph.D. from a school in South Carolina, and I took a trip down there to celebrate with her. This was around the time the final season was about to be over. They were talking about this like the shit was so heavy. I was like, “I fuckin’ hate that show, I’ve never seen it, that shit is retarded.” So I get there, and they were watching the show, and I was peeking my head in, watching little pieces, laughing at little shit, trying to front like I was laughing at something else. The next thing you know, I get home and start watching the show. Just a couple episodes here and there, but then suddenly I was hooked. I’m over here watching Friends religiously. I’m a die-hard fan copin’ seasons, putting it on my Christmas list, you know, the whole nine. I ain’t gonna front about it. A lot of cats think I’m crazy but, yo, I love that show. For real. I ain’t ashamed to say it. The same brother who wrote “This And That” watches Friends religiously.
You say all your friends think you’re crazy. So you’re completely on your own with this?
There is no one I know who watches this shit. Nobody I know would be caught dead watching that shit. I’ve seen every single episode. The crazy shit is, when we were on tour, headed to Europe, I was trying to get Terminology to watch an episode and then trying to get Statik [Selektah] to watch an episode. They were telling me to beat it. Whatever. It comes with the territory. That’s my shit, I ain’t playin’. I love it.
Hypothetical situation: If the show was still around and you got the chance to do a Paul Rudd-style guest appearance for a number of episodes, what would your character be?
Oh I’d be the fuckin’ annoying ass neighbor who never fuckin’ keeps it down. Always partying and shit. Blasting music. They’d be so aggravated and shit. I’d probably get Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox to make out in the backroom or something. Just for kicks, ’cause we drink Hennessy all day. I’m sure I’d have Jennifer Aniston doing Hennessy shots with me.
This is why I’m amazed that you watch this. That kind of thing never happened.
No it doesn’t, but it would in my version. But honestly, my version wouldn’t be that different. The thing that I love about that show is that it has the obvious jokes and the obvious catchy lines, but it has a good feeling, you know what I’m saying? It’s about relationships, friendships and bonds, and that’s something I’ve always been big on. The friendships that I hold dear to. All jokes aside, that’s something that is really important to me. Being around the people that you really love. I think it would be the same kind of mentality where it’s about a group of individuals, but it would be more aligned to my kind of personality and the individuals that I roll with. But it would be the same kind of environment. It would be a cool group of friends that kick it and go through life experiences together. Don’t get the wrong idea, I don’t fucking sew or anything. I’m not fucking weaving blankets and shit. This is just something that I like.
So at one of your SXSW shows, are you going to have Statik Selektah drop a beat sampling the show’s theme song?
[Sings the entire chorus from the Friends theme song]. Hell yeah.
As Reks finishes up the conversation, he gets distracted by something. “I just got the word that we’re No. 22 on iTunes right now,” he says. “That’s good to hear.” He’s right, that’s very good to hear. Ten years after releasing his debut album, he’s finally getting some well-deserved attention from the mainstream.
R.E.K.S. is out now from Showoff/Bricks.
Reks ‘Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme’ by Brick Records