Note: Reef is one
of Hip Hop's brightest new artists and
we are very happy he was willing to be
on the GeoClan.com website. The Philadelphia
native has been doing his thing for years
and has finally started to receive his
shine. For more information on Reef go
to his myspace.
Deesha Dyer is the interviewer and this
Philly native has written for The City
Paper, Verbalisms, The Jawn, AOL Philly,
Binformed,215 Hip Hop, GiantStep and The
Philadelphia Daily News as well as a few
more. She loves music and making positive
change in the community. For more info
on her check out her myspace
interviewed Philadelphia MC, Reef the
Lost Cauze a number of times. They have
all been about different things like the
obvious - his music, tours, and future
projects. In the spirit of the change
that Geoclan is engraving on the world,
I felt it appropriate to speak to Reef
about issues that go beyond 16 bars. Issues
that make him question the state of his
city, his music and the state of himself.
Aside from having a part-time job and
doing the music thing, you teach a class
to kids. Tell me a little bit about that?
I teach a hip-hop writing class to "troubled
kids" that are waiting on trial for
crime. They are either set free or sent
away. They are on home detentions, so
they can't do anything really but come
to the class. It's about 4-6 girls and
Why did you decide to do that?
I just heard about it and thought it'd
be a cool thing to do. It wasn't about
making me look good or getting money.
It wasn't long ago that I was one of the
kids in my class. I went in there and
though I was going to teach them how to
write raps, but it has become more of
a dialogue, and they just write to express
themselves, what they see in the community.
Sometimes is in poem form, it's in rhyme
form and sometimes just written straight
How has it been so far?
am learning as I go. It's the hardest
thing I've had to do. Nothing has ever
consumed me as much. From the time I leave
my class on Thursday, I'm thinking of
shit I have to do on Tuesday. The boys
are harder and tougher to get through
to. Sometimes I don't feel like I'm getting
through to either of them to be honest.
It's really rough because they gotta be
there. They don't have a choice. They
are looking at their watch, shaking their
leg and ready to go. I was one of those
kids. I took advantage of that as far
as the stuff that I learned, and the contacts
that I made. Right now it's on a trial
basis, so one week I'll have 7-8 of the
same kids and next I'll have a whole new
group because the others got sent away
for beat their case. It's frustrating
I can't bond with them.
You were born and raised in Philadelphia,
so what is your outlook on what's going
on in our city?
I feel scarily far removed. What I mean
by that is that I'm older now and I remember
being that kids that people didn't know
how to talk to. We don't understand them,
but I just feel like with every generation
it gets worse. Our parent's generation
had the civil rights movement and all
that, so there was a little bit more togetherness
there. My age group (25-30), we did dumb
shit. We had a different set of respect,
different morals and these kids just don't
have it. I think it's only gonna get worse.
I hope we don't. I feel like the city
of Philadelphia almost at this point needs
to go into martial law. It's so fucked
up and it beaks my heart. I can talk
about we can do to change it but I've
kind of given up hope. Because there is
nothing to look forward to for them. The
environment they are in gives them easy
access to gun and the school system is
rhyming with passion
So with all this going on and your career
taking off, I have to ask why are you
still in Philly?
I don't know. I think it's the fear of
having to go somewhere else and start
from scratch. I know people that had to
do that and it's real hard. I often question
if I'm strong enough to do that. I feel
comfortable traveling, because I know
I'm coming back home.
Do you think that there is anything that
can happen on a level that we can do to
I honestly don't have an answer for you
and that's being real. I just don't know.
I don't have any solutions. I feel bad
about that. Most of the kids are already
gone. You can't bring them back. There
is a complete lack of respect for life.
But I think that's in the world. It's
I know it's kind of a cliché question
to ask, but I will anyway. Do you feel
that rap has a negative influence on kids
Surprisingly, most of the kids are aware
that most of the rappers aren't real and
what they say is for entertainment purposes.
However it doesn't take away from the
fact that they love their music and it
can get stuck in their head. Music is
a great teacher and it also is fucked
up in the sense that if they listened
to the wrong thing enough, they'll actually
start to get involved in it. Movies are
visual and music is repeated and then
sticks. They see people in that type of
life and can relate.
Can you give me a summary on your feelings
with the IMUS/Rutgers situation and the
stance of racism and sexism in the media?
I just think it's crazy to give this much
attention and press to an old racist white
has been shock jock for making a racist
statement. No one says
anything when Wendy Williams or a rapper
or even someone in their family says some
ignorant shit like that, yet we want to
hold candle lit vigils and shit like that
when a white person does it. If he would've
said that shit in the 50s or 60s, then
yeah I could see all this, and actually,
he probably would've gotten a bonus for
saying that shit! But people are dying;
we at war, aids, rape etc and you want
to put this asshole on the cover of the
newspaper? Come on now, its bigger things
at stake out here.
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