Introducing ‘Notes from Mr. Sandman‘ – a column slapping a spotlight on lyricists overlooked, under appreciated, or just plain criminally slept on. Or like a man named Nas once said, “I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death.” Enter Mr. Sandman with what y’all missed while chasing the REM dragon; Photo: Facebook

Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts lyricist Corey Christie, a.k.a. Reks, knows what it means to grind. He’s a 15-year rap veteran, and has built a reputation around his robust lyricism and tenacious delivery. He’s the Paul Pierce of rap, the type of unheralded lyricist who comes up clutch in the biggest moments. Hip-hop is in his blood, and it’s been a driving force in his life since the beginning.

“Growing up with the culture put a desire in me very young,” said Reks. “I wanted so deeply to be immersed in hip-hop. I started out a b-boy with Funk Town Connection in Lawrence, MA. Hip-hop had me from day one.”

As a rap lifer, Reks has expressed his love to the tune of 10 highly-touted albums. Each served as a chapter in his life, a chronicling of the many challenges that came with being a lyricist on the rise. His vision is strong, and the doctrine of excellence that he’s kept close to his heart has underlined every effort.

Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme is one of Reks’ best albums. The self-titled project captured his enigmatic perspective, and framed some of his deepest philosophies. He presented his emotions in their raw state, and corralled it into a stealthy narrative; a skillset that few rappers can boast. “I write whenever an emotion grabs me. Sad, happy, excited, it all is a reason to jot down a new idea,” said Reks. “I am motivated most when I hear something challenging. It could be Black Thought on Funk Flex or it could be a news report about a school shooting. It’s all motivation.”

This or That” has Rek spitting shrapnel at all the would-be rappers out there. It’s a venomous rant that showed how passionate he is about his craft, and how the last thing you want to do is test him: [LISTEN]

Reks has grown steadily as a writer, and the amount of work he’s put in is unmatched. His modest beginnings set the tone, and for as long as he’s been writing he’s made sure to move at his own pace. “As a young artist starting out I didn’t have access to a lot of beats,” explained Reks.

“This forced me to write my rhymes to the rhythms I would hear in my head. With no inclination of bar structure or BPMs I wrote from the gut and just let it all pour out. I feel that helped me develop a lasting passion in my delivery. As I got older and gained a network full of varied producers at my disposal, I honed my talents and was able to let my lyrics marry the backdrops laid by these beat makers. The passion remains, but I feel I have grown in my topical matter. I stay sharp by reading daily. Access to new ideas comes from wanting to know more about everything this world has to offer me.”

Reks’ latest album, The Greatest X is a definitive stand, the sound of a king taking his crown. He’s as hungry as ever, manhandling the beats like a lion. In many ways it’s his career come full circle; having never abandoned his vision he speaks with supreme confidence, knowing that his pedigree is never in question.

Jump Shots” is a poignant tale about the American Dream. Reks draws inspiration from a classic Biggie verse, and explains how not having a silky jumper motivated him to pick up the mic. The limited options available to him made it so that he had to work twice as hard for everything, a retrospective cut that put his career into sharp focus: [LISTEN]

For Reks, rap will always be in his heart. He understands that hip-hop has grown, which makes it imperative that he keep his standards intact. His lyrics are a reflection of all the life-lessons he’s learned, and so long as he stays true to his vision he’ll be able to look back at his output with a beaming sense of pride.

“I feel it’s unnecessary to label everything ‘this’ vs. ‘that’ and to confine artists to their particular boxes,” said Reks. “But people will always see a need to define us this way. Just let good music be good music. If it’s not my cup of tea, I don’t tune in. It’s easy to be unaffected by music you don’t want to hear, just don’t listen. Lyrics will always matter though. 30 years from now my records will be diamond finds amidst the mumble raps.”