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Today is:
An Interview with Reef The Lost Cause
by Deesha Dyer

Editors Note: Reef is one of Hip Hop's brightest new artists and we are very happy he was willing to be on the 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


I've 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.


GC: 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?


RTLC: 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 10-12 boys.


GC: Why did you decide to do that?


RTLC: 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 out.


GC: How has it been so far?


RTLC:I 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.


GC: You were born and raised in Philadelphia, so what is your outlook on what's going on in our city?


RTLC: 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 shitty.


Reef rhyming with passion

GC: So with all this going on and your career taking off, I have to ask why are you still in Philly?


RTLC: 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.


GC: Do you think that there is anything that can happen on a level that we can do to help?


RTLC: 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 a manifestation.


GC: 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 today?


RTLC: 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.


GC: Can you give me a summary on your feelings with the IMUS/Rutgers situation and the stance of racism and sexism in the media?


RTLC: 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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