HARD IN THE PAINT: 80 REEF

BRONX, NEW YORK | 80 REEF

BRONX, NEW YORK | 80 REEF

INTERVIEW KB TINDAL PHOTO ED MARSHALL PHOTOGRAPHY

WHEN YOU GROW UP IN THE SOUTH BRONX, NEW YORK YOU CAN’T HELP BUT HEAR THE STORIES OF THE LEGENDARY DAYS OF WHEN HIP HOP WAS BORN. STEEL SHARPENING STEEL AS EMCEES AND DJ’S WENT BACK AND FORTH AT PARK JAMS. THE COMPETITIVE NATURE THAT IS NEW YORK. I WAS THERE WHEN IT BEGAN. CASTLE HILL HOUSES WAS MY INTRODUCTION TO HIP HOP AND TODAY IT’S ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO SEE AN UP AND COMING ARTIST THAT HAS STUDIED SOME OF THE GREATS FROM THEIR GENERATION, AND LIVES WITH SUCH PASSION AND ORIGINALITY AND LOVE FOR THE CULTURE THAT YOU’LL PROBABLY NEVER HEAR A WACK VERSE FROM HIM. INSPIRED BY THE LIKES OF JAY Z, LAUREN HILL, BIG PUN, MEEK MILL, AND NIPSEY HUSSLE, 80 REEF IS THAT GUY. 

RAISED IN THE MOTT HAVEN HOUSES SECTION OF THE BRONX, 80 REEF HAS HIS CAMP AND HIS LABEL THAT FALL UNDER THE MONIKER, PAINTERS CABIN ALONG WITH 3 FULL-LENGTH PROJECTS. “UNDER THE WILLIAMS STREET BRIDGE”, “FEVER” AND “TAKE WHAT YOU NEED” HAVE BEEN RELEASED UNDER HIS BELT SINCE 2015. 

HIS NEW SINGLE, “ROCK THE BOAT” FEATURING HIS INCARCERATED COUNTERPART JUS PAINT, COULD JUST BE THE ONE SONG TO PUSH THEM OVER THE TOP. BUT BEFORE WE GO THERE, LET’S GET TO KNOW THE MAN THAT ALSO HAS A LOVE FOR SPORTS AND VOLUNTEERS HIS TIME COACHING AND MENTORING ALL WHILE WRITING COMPELLING BARS THAT DEFINE HIS LIFE THUS FAR AND HIS OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE. A SELF-MADE MAN THAT'S FINDING OUT THAT THE STRONGER YOUR TEAM IS THE MORE YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH IN THIS MUSIC BUSINESS AND A MAN THAT WANTS TO UPLIFT HIS COMMUNITY BY SHOWING KIDS THAT YOU CAN DO MORE THAN JUST RAP AND PLAY SPORTS AND MAKE AN ABOVE AVERAGE LIVING. WALK WITH ME AS WE DELVE INTO THE MIND OF 80 REEF, THE BRONX MC WITH A TONGUE THAT IS SHARP AS A SWORD, A VISION, AND THE DRIVE TO SEE IT TO FRUITION. 

VALIDATED: GROWING UP IN THE SOUTH BRONX, IN MOTT HAVEN, WHAT'S YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF HIP HOP?

80 REEF: I CAN'T REALLY SAY. I GUESS IT'S JUST THAT'S WHAT WE'RE KNOWN FOR. COMING OUT, THEY'RE RAPPING AND HEARING EVERYBODY BATTLE EACH OTHER. MY GENERATION, LIKE, FOR REAL, FOR REAL, WE WERE JUST THE ERA KNOWN FOR COMING OUT AND BATTLING, LIKE GOING FROM BLOCK TO BLOCK TO GO BATTLE. YOU DIG WHAT I'M SAYING? SO EVEN IF YOU DIDN'T WANT TO TAKE RAP SERIOUS YOU STILL HAD SOME RHYMES LIKE, EVERYBODY HAD SOME RAPS. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? SO I NEVER REALLY HAD ANY ASPIRATIONS TO BE REALLY A RAPPER. IT WAS JUST SOMETHING THAT WE DID. WE AIN'T REALLY THINK ABOUT MAKING IT, IT WAS JUST SOMETHING THAT WE WERE SURROUNDED BY.

VALIDATED: SO WHEN DID YOU FINALLY COME TO THE CONCLUSION FOR YOURSELF THAT YOU WANTED TO PURSUE BEING AN ARTIST?

80 REEF: WHEN I WENT DOWN TO COLLEGE IN NORTH CAROLINA, ELIZABETH CITY STATE UNIVERSITY. SO THIS IS PROBABLY LIKE 2009, 2010, THAT'S WHEN I STARTED TAPPING IN AND TAKING IT SERIOUS. I WASN'T PUTTING OUT MUSIC THEN BUT I WAS DEVELOPING MY OWN STYLE, MY OWN CRAFT BECAUSE IT WAS SOMETHING ABOUT BEING AWAY FROM HOME, I WAS ABLE TO HEAR DIFFERENT MUSIC. YOU GET WHAT I'M SAYING? SO WHEN YOU IN NEW YORK, AND THIS IS A PRE-INSTAGRAM WHERE YOU CAN KIND OF JUST GO ONLINE AND YOU COULD SEE A THOUSAND DIFFERENT STYLES. YOU REALLY HAD TO GO AND KIND OF DISCOVER THESE THINGS. SO THIS WOULD BE MY FIRST TIME LISTENING TO A LET'S SAY, LIKE A LIL BOOSIE, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? UNDERSTANDING THAT RAP WAS MORE THAN JUST NEW YORK CITY. BECAUSE WE DIDN'T UNDERSTAND PEOPLE LIKE BOOSIE'S SLANG OR SOMEBODY OF THAT NATURE OR GUCCI MANE'S SLANG. WE KIND OF TURNED OFF TO THAT. BUT FOR ME, I WAS ENTRENCHED IN THAT CULTURE DOWN SOUTH AND IT HELPED ME UNDERSTAND WHAT MUSIC REALLY WAS, YOU DIG WHAT I'M SAYING? ALL THE SLANG IS JUST DIFFERENT BUT EVERYBODY IS TALKING ABOUT THE SAME S***. SO I FELL IN LOVE WITH THAT. I FELL IN LOVE WITH DIFFERENT PRODUCERS INTRODUCING ME TO STYLES, INTRODUCING ME TO DIFFERENT SHOWCASES AND DEVELOPING MY STYLE AND THE MORE CONFIDENCE I GOT IN THAT, THE MORE I STARTED BEING MORE AGGRESSIVELY AN ARTIST.

VALIDATED: WHAT DID YOU STUDY AT ELIZABETH CITY STATE UNIVERSITY?

80 REEF: I STUDIED HISTORY THERE. I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO GO. THAT'S ANOTHER THING, I REALLY HAD NO ASPIRATIONS TO GO TO COLLEGE, BUT I HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO GO. SO I TOOK THAT AND IN THE DORM ROOMS WE HAD PEOPLE THAT WERE VERY MUSICALLY INCLINED. THEY WERE IN A BAND AND THEY WERE LIKE IN CHOIRS AT THE CHURCH. SO I HAD LIKE DORM MATES WHO WOULD BE PLAYING MUSIC FROM THEIR ROOM AND I WOULD GO IN THERE AND THEY WOULD HAVE LIKE A LITTLE STUDIO SET UP IN THE CLOSET OR SOMETHING OF THAT NATURE. THAT WAS LIKE THE FIRST TIME I REALLY STARTED RECORDING. SO, OF COURSE, IT'S NOT THE BIG QUALITY STUDIO, BUT IT HELPS YOU, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? LIKE THIS IS ALL ORGANIC S*** HAPPENING INSIDE OF A DORM ROOM, ‘CAUSE BEING HOME, YOU CAN'T JUST COME OUT AND DO THAT. YOU KNOW IT'S LIKE STEEL SHARPENING STEEL, SO A LOT OF TIMES WHEN PEOPLE HEAR ME NOW THEY'RE LIKE, YOU RAPPING BUT YOU GOT YOUR OWN STYLING. I HAVE NO WAY TO REALLY EXPLAIN THAT TO THEM... IT'S JUST THAT I JUST GOT AN EAR FOR MY OWN STYLE. LIKE I KNOW WHAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE, WHAT CAN'T BE TOLERATED AND YOU WON'T HAVE A B******* VERSE FROM ME.

VALIDATED: WE'RE FAMILY AND YOUR GRANDFATHER WAS MY DAD'S BROTHER AND I KNOW WHAT KIND OF MUSIC I LISTENED TO GROWING UP WITH MY DAD AND IT WAS MOSTLY MOTOWN AND BLUES, SO WHAT KIND OF MUSIC DID YOU GROW UP LISTENING TO IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

80 REEF: I DON'T KNOW IF IT WAS SIMILAR MUSIC BUT MY GRANDFATHER USED TO DRIVE US TO SCHOOL EVERY DAY, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? SO HE HAD ON A CLASSIC STATION THAT ONLY PLAYED LIKE JAZZ IN THE MORNING. IF IT WASN'T THAT IT WAS THE STATION TO LET US KNOW WHAT THE TRAFFIC WAS GOING TO BE. I WAS JUST SINGING IT IN THE CAR THIS “SALT PEANUTS” SONG, LIKE THAT ERA OF MUSIC. LIKE I DON'T KNOW IF YOU REMEMBER THAT SONG, THEY'D GO LIKE, “SALT PEANUTS, SALT PEANUTS”. (80 IS TALKING ABOUT DIZZY GILLESPIE'S SONG "SALT PEANUTS" FROM 1945.) WE WERE DEFINITELY ON TO JAZZ AND THINGS OF THAT NATURE, LIKE THAT'S WHAT HE PLAYED IN THE MORNING. SO ANY TYPE OF MUSIC THAT HAS SOME SOUL TO IT, THAT'S WHAT WE WAS JAMMIN' TO. SO JAMES BROWN IN THE MORNING, THAT'S WHAT I WAS GOING TO. BESIDES THAT, I HAD A WALKMAN WHERE MY OLDER BROTHER WHO USED TO GO OUT AND BUY ALBUMS. THE FIRST ALBUM THAT I REMEMBER LISTENING TO WAS “THE PUNISHER” ALBUM, IT WAS BIG PUN’S ALBUM AND YOU KNOW IF YOU GOT A CD PLAYER IT AIN'T LIKE YOU COULD CHANGE THE ARTIST, THAT'S JUST THE CD YOU ROCKED OUT WITH THE WHOLE DAY. SO I KNEW THAT S*** LIKE WORD FOR WORD. THEN HE HAD PAC AND I GOT INTO DMX AND THEN TOWARDS THE TURNING OF LIKE 2000 IT WAS HOV AND THAT'S WHERE I GET ALL THE ROOTS FROM... THAT AND HEARING LAUREN HILL. I ALWAYS GO BACK TO LAUREN HILL BECAUSE WHEN I HEARD IT I COULD FEEL THAT MUSIC. SO WHAT I'M SAYING IS, IT WASN'T LIKE SOMEBODY HITTING NOTES AND HITTING PITCHES. IT WAS ON SOME UNORTHODOX MUSIC, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? SOMEBODY THAT COULD RAP BUT SOMEBODY THAT YOU COULD ALSO FEEL. SO A LOT OF THAT FEELING IN MY MUSIC COMES FROM LIKE LISTENING TO A LAUREN HILL OR THAT SOULFUL MUSIC.

VALIDATED: SO GOING INTO THE 2000’S YOU'RE LISTENING TO PUN AND HOV SO FROM THAT TIME PERIOD OR EVEN FROM NOW, WHO WOULD YOU NAME AS TWO OF YOUR TOP LYRICAL INFLUENCES THAT YOU LOOK TO EVERY TIME THEY DROP A PROJECT AND BAR FOR BAR, YOU'RE LISTENING TO WHAT THEY’RE SAYING?

80 REEF: IT'S DEFINITELY HOV. UM, BECAUSE EVERYTHING HE'S DONE ALREADY HE'S TAPPING INTO THE S*** THAT I'M ACTUALLY SEEING LATER. YOU DIG WHAT I'M SAYING? FROM DOWN TO A BLUEPRINT TO LIKE NOW AND ME BEING 28 YEARS OLD AND EVEN FROM YEARS AGO I CAN TAP IN AND BE LIKE, DAMN, I SEE HOW HE DID IT. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? I CAN GO BACK TO HIM AND REFERENCE SOME BARS AND REFERENCE SOME QUOTES AND BE LIKE, YEAH, THAT MAKES SENSE RIGHT NOW FOR ME. WHAT'S CRAZY IS I WAS HAVING THIS CONVERSATION WITH MY FRIENDS AND IT WAS LIKE DAMN WE CAN'T UNDERSTAND HOV AND I SAID YEAH, CAUSE HE'S TALKING FROM A DIFFERENT LEVEL AND WE HAVEN'T LEVELED UP TO THAT LEVEL YET. IT'S LIKE THAT BOOK AIN'T FOR US YET. I REALLY CAN'T TAP INTO TOO MANY OTHER PEOPLE. I LIKE WHAT MEEK IS DOING. MEEK IS DEFINITELY MOTIVATIONAL FOR WHAT HE'S DOING RIGHT NOW BUT THAT'D BE ABOUT IT. OH AND IT'S DEFINITELY NIPSEY HUSSLE, REST IN PEACE TO HIM. IN COLLEGE THAT WAS REALLY MY MOTIVATIONAL ARTIST. I GOT INTERVIEWS THAT DATE BACK TO THAT, ME SPEAKING ABOUT HIM, BECAUSE OF THE INDEPENDENT ROUTE, LIKE I SAID I NEVER HAD NO ASPIRATIONS TO BE UNDER NO LABEL OR NOTHING LIKE THAT. BUT JUST TO ENTERTAIN, BEING ABLE TO DO SHOWS ON YOUR OWN AND RACK UP SOME MONEY ON YOUR OWN AND FIGURING IT OUT INTRIGUES ME MORE.

VALIDATED: I SAW THAT YOU GAVE NIPSEY HIS PROPS AND YOU WERE WATCHING HIS MOVES AND LEARNING FROM HIM. SO WHAT'S SOMETHING THAT YOU TOOK FROM NIPSEY BEFORE HIS UNTIMELY PASSING THAT YOU STILL APPLY TO WHAT YOU DO TODAY?

80 REEF: I CAN DEFINITELY SAY A LOT BUT ONE OF THE TOP THINGS IS THAT IT'S NEVER GOING TO BE EASY, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU'RE DOING SOMETHING AGAINST THE GRAIN. THAT'S NEVER GOING TO BE EASY BECAUSE THERE ARE ALREADY GUIDELINES THAT LEAD YOU ONE WAY. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? THERE ARE SO MANY FORCES THAT LEAD YOU ONE WAY AND IT TAKES A LOT TO GO THE OPPOSITE WAY AND STILL FIGURE OUT SOMETHING THAT WORKS FOR YOURSELF. ANOTHER THING IS EVERYBODY'S NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO SEE YOUR VISION. SOMETIMES IT'S GOING TO BE FRUSTRATING... JUST NOT QUITTING. ‘CAUSE A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T KNOW THERE'S A BIG GAP BETWEEN THAT ALBUM AND THOSE TAPES, THOSE MARATHON TAPES. THERE'S A HUGE GAP IN MUSIC WITH HIM BUT THAT DON'T MEAN YOU'RE NOT WORKING. BECAUSE PEOPLE CAN'T SEE IT DON'T MEAN IT'S NOT HAPPENING.

VALIDATED: THAT KIND OF REMINDS ME OF WHAT HOV SAID AT THE FIRST B SIDES CONCERT. HE SAID "DON'T EVER GO WITH THE FLOW, BE THE FLOW," AND I LIKE ARTISTS THAT WORK LIKE THAT. LIKE THEY WANT TO STAY IN THEIR OWN LANE, THEY DON'T WANT TO JUMP INTO SOMEBODY ELSE'S LANE. SO WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON NEW YORK AS A WHOLE, AS FAR AS THE HIP HOP SCENE IS CONCERNED RIGHT NOW? DO YOU FEEL LIKE WE'RE DOING OUR THING? DO YOU FEEL LIKE NEW YORK NEEDS TO STEP IT UP?

80 REEF: I DON'T THINK NEW YORK EVER REALLY FELL OFF. I THINK EVERYBODY KIND OF WAS USED TO NEW YORK BEING THE BIGGEST HUB OF MUSIC. LIKE THE ARTISTS HAD TO COME OUT OF NEW YORK VERSUS LIKE WHAT ATLANTA IS DOING RIGHT NOW. HOW EVERYBODY'S IN TUNE, EVERYBODY SUPPORTING EACH OTHER. EVERYBODY WANTS TO SEE EACH OTHER SUCCEED. AT LEAST THAT'S WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE FROM THE OUTSIDE, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? BUT IF NEW YORK CAN FIND A WAY TO KEEP PUSHING EACH OTHER AND ARTISTS SUPPORTING OTHER ARTISTS AND THAT'LL BE DOPE BUT WE GOT A COMPETITIVE NATURE, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? SO A LOT OF THINGS PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND. LIKE THAT'S NOT OUR CULTURE. THAT'S NOT REALLY IN OUR NATURE. WE HAVE A COMPETITIVE NATURE. IT DOESN'T MEAN THAT WE DON'T SUPPORT EACH OTHER AS ARTISTS. IT JUST MEANS LIKE, THAT'S JUST HOW WE GREW UP. ATLANTA'S MORE OF A SHARING AND CARING AREA IN THE SOUTH. THAT'S THE WAY I FEEL ABOUT IT. I DON'T FEEL LIKE NEW YORK EVER REALLY LIKE FELL OFF. I JUST FEEL LIKE IT'S AN EVEN PLATFORM NOW. THERE ARE DIFFERENT GENRES OF MUSIC THAT ARE BEING CREATED AND DIFFERENT PLATFORMS ARE BEING CREATED FOR PEOPLE TO KIND OF SHINE. THAT'S THE ONLY DIFFERENCE RIGHT NOW.

VALIDATED: WHAT SACRIFICES HAVE YOU MADE FOR YOUR MUSIC SO FAR?

80 REEF: A LOT MAN, I THINK THAT IT'S NECESSARY SACRIFICE, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? DEFINITELY FINDING A WAY TO INDEPENDENTLY GET SOME MONEY WITHOUT BEING CONSTRICTED TO LIKE A NINE TO FIVE AND STUFF LIKE THAT. I WAS COACHING YEARS AGO AND I STILL COACH NOW BUT MORE SO ON A VOLUNTEER NOTE WITH BASKETBALL AND BASEBALL. DEFINITELY BEING UNCOMFORTABLE WITH HAVING TO BREAK A PIECE OF THINGS THAT I'VE BUILT AS FAR AS BEING OPEN TO WORKING WITH OTHER PEOPLE, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? HAVING MY ARMS OPEN AND WELCOMING NEW IDEAS AND THAT'S BEEN AN UNCOMFORTABLE THING FOR ME ‘CAUSE I HAVEN'T DONE SO IN THE PAST. I WAS USED TO JUST GOING TO DO IT ON MY OWN AND THAT CAN REALLY ONLY GET YOU BUT SO FAR. SO MEETING NEW PEOPLE AND GETTING OUT THERE HAS BEEN LIKE, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, A BIG SACRIFICE. IT COMES EASY FOR SOME PEOPLE BUT FOR ME IT DIDN'T. FOR ME IT WAS LIKE IF I CAN'T DO IT ON MY OWN, THEN IT CAN'T BE DONE. ‘CAUSE I DON'T LIKE TO REACH OUT FOR NO HELP. BUT THAT'S, YOU KNOW, SOMETHING THAT I LEARNED.

VALIDATED: AS A HIP HOP ARTIST, WHAT DO YOU FEEL YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO THE CULTURE IS AND THEN AS YOU GROW AS AN ARTIST AND AS YOU BECOME MORE ACCEPTED AND YOU'RE MAKING A LIVING AS AN ARTIST, WHAT DO YOU FEEL YOUR FUTURE RESPONSIBILITY IS TO THE CULTURE AS WELL?

80 REEF: DEFINITELY BEING ABLE TO DOCUMENT THIS WHEEL THAT I'M RECREATING, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? THE WAY I'M DOING IT MAY NOT BE A WAY THAT'S DOCUMENTED ESPECIALLY FOR THE KIDS THAT ARE STILL LIVING IN THE SOUTH BRONX OR IN THE INNER CITIES IN NEW YORK CITY OR ANYWHERE ACROSS THE NATION. MAKING SURE THAT IF YOU WANT TO DO IT BY YOURSELF THESE ARE THE GUIDELINES, ‘CAUSE I DON'T REALLY THINK THAT MAJOR LABELS OR MAJOR BUSINESSES ARE DEVELOPING THESE ARTISTS. THEY'RE GRABBING THEM AND MORE LIKE MILKING THEM FOR WHAT TALENTS THEY HAVE AND THEN JUST THROWING THEM OUT THERE VERSUS DEVELOPING PEOPLE. WE'RE NOT SEEING A LOT OF THAT ANYMORE. AND FOR ME, I WANT TO RUN LIKE A COMMUNITY CENTER IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD. IF THIS IS THE MUSIC BUSINESS, THEN THIS IS THE CLASS THAT NEEDS TO BE TAUGHT EVERY YEAR. SOMETHING THAT MAKES SENSE FOR MY COMMUNITY. IT DON'T MAKE NO SENSE THAT YOU'VE GOT SO MANY PEOPLE THAT WANT TO DO RAP, THAT DON'T KNOW THAT YOU CAN MAKE A LOT OF MONEY DOING OTHER THINGS INSIDE THIS BUSINESS. I JUST FELT LIKE I'M WIRED LIKE THAT.

VALIDATED: WHAT'S THE CONCEPT BEHIND THE “ROCK THE BOAT" JOINT AND HOW DID YOU AND JUS PAINT DECIDE TO USE THAT LEGENDARY AALIYAH SAMPLE FOR IT?

80 REEF: WELL FIRST OFF FREE JUS PAINT RIGHT NOW BECAUSE HE'S LOCKED UP. HE GOT SHORT TIME BUT DEFINITELY FREE HIM. I HAD DONE THAT RECORD LIKE TWO YEARS AGO THOUGH, HONESTLY MAN. LIKE TWO AND A HALF YEARS AGO. SO EVERYTHING WAS REALLY ABOUT, I GUESS LIKE TIMING. THAT RECORD IS GROWING LEGS ON ITS OWN. SHOUT OUT TO THE PRODUCER WHO IS ACTUALLY SOMEBODY FROM MY NEIGHBORHOOD AND THAT'S IZZY. HE'S FROM MY BLOCK AND HE PRODUCED THAT BEAT. I HAD THE RECORD FOR A MINUTE AND I WAS WORKING WITH JUS PAINT AND LIKE I SAID, A PART OF ME JUST BE COACHING AND IT'S SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST BEING AN ARTIST BECAUSE I WAS WORKING ON HIM AS AN ARTIST AS WELL. WHICH IS PROBABLY WHY IT DIDN'T GROW LEGS AT FIRST. HE'S GOING THROUGH HIS OWN THING AND I'M GOING THROUGH MY OWN THING SO IT NEVER REALLY MATCHED TWO YEARS AGO, WHICH IS MUSIC BEING DONE. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? WE ALWAYS GOT MUSIC AS FAR AS RECORDING. I'M A WORKHORSE, BUT WE GOT LIKE A LOT OF MUSIC IN THE STASH. SO THAT RECORD CAME UP AND WE HEARD THE BEAT, HE'S MORE OF AN R AND B INCLINED PERSON AND ME, I'M JUST LIKE WHATEVER'S GOING TO FIT ON THE RECORD. BUT THIS IS DEFINITELY A AALIYAH JOINT AND I'M LIKE, “THIS IS GROOVY.” I ALREADY KNOW WHAT THIS IS. RIGHT NOW IT'S STARTING TO GROW SOME LEGS AND WE'RE PUSHING IT OUT BECAUSE THE PEOPLE ARE HEARING IT. THE PRODUCER IZZY HE GOES OUT A LOT SO HE GETS IT PLAYED IN THE CLUBS AND THAT'S HOW IT'S GOING ON RIGHT NOW.

VALIDATED: YOU DROPPED TWO FULL PROJECTS IN THE PAST, “BENEATH THE WILLIS BRIDGE”, IN 2015 AND “FEVER” IN 2017. IS THERE ANOTHER FULL PROJECT COMING?

80 REEF: IN DECEMBER OF 2018 I PUT OUT “TAKE WHAT YOU NEED”. THAT'S ON SOUNDCLOUD. AUDIOMACK AND SPINRILLA.

VALIDATED: SO IS IT A PREFERENCE FOR YOU TO DROP FULL PROJECTS OR DO YOU FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE DROPPING SINGLES OR A COMBINATION OF BOTH.

80 REEF: WHEN I WAS DROPPING THOSE PROJECTS IT WAS JUST MORE SO GOING WITH WHATEVER I HAD. NOW IT'S MORE PLANNED OUT AND IT'S MORE STRATEGY BEHIND IT. NOW IT'S BUILDING UP MY STAMINA AND SEEING WHAT THE FEEDBACK IS. NOT SAYING THAT THIS PROJECT'S GOING TO BE THE PROJECT THAT TAKES US OUT BUT LIKE JUST HAVING FUN WITH IT, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? LET'S LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE, LIKE I SAID, "ROCK THE BOAT”, I HAD PUT OUT LIKE TWO YEARS AGO AND IT’S 2019 ‘BOUT TO GO INTO 2020 AND IT'S GROWING LEGS. THAT'S JUST SOMETHING I BELIEVE, IS TO JUST ALWAYS HAVE WORK. IF YOU ALWAYS GOT WORK ALL YOU GOTTA DO IS ORGANIZE IT AND PUT IT OUT AND YOU NEVER KNOW HOW FAR IT CAN IT GO. BUT I'M DEFINITELY THINKING ABOUT A BIGGER PROJECT NOW, THAT KIND OF MAKES SENSE. PUTTING ALL THE RESOURCES TOGETHER TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS ONE CREATES A BIGGER BUZZ.

VALIDATED: SO HOW DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU'VE GROWN AS AN ARTIST SINCE YOU STARTED PURSUING THE DREAM OF BECOMING AN ARTIST?

80 REEF: BEING ABLE TO SEE THE BIGGER PICTURE. I ALWAYS HAVE MY OWN VISION. JUST BECAUSE IT'S NOT THERE AND IT'S NOT FOR YOU RIGHT NOW, DOESN'T MEAN THAT IT WON'T BE IN THE FUTURE. SO BEING PATIENT AND BEING ORGANIZED ‘CAUSE LIKE I SAID I WAS JUST THROWING S*** OUT AND DOING THINGS JUST TO DO THEM SPUR OF THE MOMENT AND JUST WINGING IT. SOMETIMES YOU FIND SUCCESS BUT THE CHANCES OF SUCCESS WITH THAT TYPE OF IDEOLOGY IS NOT A SURE THING AND YOU WANT THE PERCENTAGE OF SUCCESS TO BE HIGH. SO NOW IT'S JUST BEING PATIENT, PLANNING AND BEING MORE ORGANIZED AS AN ARTIST.

VALIDATED: IF YOU COULD SUM IT UP IN ONE WORD, WHAT DOES HIP HOP MEAN TO YOU?

80 REEF: THAT'S TOUGH. UM, CULTURE.

VALIDATED: DO YOU FEEL THAT MAINSTREAM HIP HOP IS DOING JUSTICE FOR THE CULTURE AS A WHOLE?

80 REEF: UM, I WOULD SAY YEAH. MAINSTREAM IS OF COURSE CONTROLLED BY WHATEVER IT'S CONTROLLED BY, BUT AS YOU CAN SEE ANYTHING CAN REALLY SHIFT THAT. SOMEONE COULD COME OUT OF LEFT FIELD WITH A DIFFERENT UNORTHODOX STYLE AND THAT MIGHT CATCH. SO IT'S, FOREVER CHANGING AND I THINK MAINSTREAM HAS BEEN A REFLECTION OF THAT. I ALSO BELIEVE THAT THERE'S SOME FOOLERY AROUND, BUT THAT'S JUST LIKE PEOPLE PUSHING THE LIMITS ON THAT NEW CHANGE. SO PEOPLE TRYING TO CAPITALIZE ON WHAT NEW CHANGE IS. BUT I THINK MAINSTREAM HAS ALWAYS REFLECTED WHAT'S REALLY GOING ON AS FAR AS BEING CREATIVE. WE MAY NOT ALWAYS AGREE WITH IT, BUT IT'S COMING FROM SOMEWHERE.

VALIDATED: HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT WHAT HOV'S DOING WITH THE NFL RIGHT NOW?

80 REEF: THAT'S SOMETHING I WANT TO SIT DOWN AND KIND OF JUST RESEARCH ON MY OWN. I CAN'T SPEAK TOO MUCH ON IT ‘CAUSE I HAVEN'T RESEARCHED. I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE WHOLE SITUATION IS. I'M HEARING THE FEEDBACK AND IT WAS CRAZY. I GOT IN A CONVERSATION WHEN I GOT IN THE CAR WITH MY FAMILY AND THAT WAS THE TOPIC GOING ON, BUT I COULDN'T REALLY COMMENT BECAUSE I DIDN'T DO MY OWN RESEARCH. WHATEVER THE REASONS IS, YOU KNOW, BEHIND THE AGREEMENTS AND WHAT THE NFL DID IT'S SOMETHING BIG IN THE WORKS, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?

VALIDATED: WHAT ELSE ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?

80 REEF: RIGHT NOW WE ARE JUST BUILDING A FOUNDATION. IT'S MORE THAN MUSIC FOR US SO WE'RE BUILDING A FOUNDATION RIGHT NOW FOR ENTERTAINMENT AND LABELS. THAT'S HOW WE’RE OPERATING RIGHT NOW. SO WHERE IT'S LIKE A HUB, WHERE WE CAN COME IN HERE, WE CAN GET ALL THE RESOURCES, WE DON'T GOTTA SCATTER FOR PR OR NOTHING LIKE THAT. IF IT'S A PROJECT AND THAT'S WHAT'S GOING ON THE AGENDA RIGHT NOW I GOT A TEAM WORKING THAT. SO IT'S BEEN LIKE LITTLE VIDEOS HERE AND THERE, BUT THAT'S MORE SO JUST TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY KNOW WE OUT THERE, THEY KNOW I'M NOT REALLY PLAYING AROUND WITH THEM, BUT IT'S ABOUT TO BE A WHOLE LOT MORE. SO THAT'S WHAT I'VE BEEN BUSY WITH JUST THE FOUNDATION. MERCHANDISE IS DEFINITELY A BIG PIECE THAT WE’RE PUTTING TOGETHER. I'M WORKING ON A WEBSITE NOW SO THAT WAY PEOPLE COULD GO RIGHT TO OUR HUB AND IF THEY SEE SOMETHING THAT THEY LIKE, GO AHEAD AND ORDER IT, VERSUS GOING TO DM ME. I'M PUSHING AWAY FROM THAT SO THAT WAY THAT S*** RUNS LIKE ITS OWN MACHINE. LIKE I SAID, JUST THE FOUNDATION OF THAT. SHOWS, BRINGING IN OTHER ARTISTS AND GIVING THEM THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE LIKE THE SAME PLATFORMS OR GET IN ON THE GROUND.

VALIDATED: ANY FINAL WORDS FOR THE READERS OF VALIDATED MAGAZINE?

80 REEF: HAVE FUN WITH IT. I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE FUN. YOU SEE WHAT I'M SAYING? OF COURSE IT'S NOT GOING TO BE EASY DEPENDING ON HOW FAR YOU WANT TO GO WITH THIS BUT IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE FUN. WATCHING ANY OF MY FAVORITE ARTISTS, IF I HAD TO GO BACK AND SEE LIKE OLD VIDEOS OR OLD VLOGS, I'M LIKE, YO ALL THAT S*** LOOKS LIKE PEOPLE ARE HAVING FUN. YEAH YOU HEAR THE STORIES AND S*** THAT PEOPLE WANT YOU TO WITH A MAGAZINE OR ANYBODY THAT PUBLISHES WORK WANTS YOU TO SEE BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY IS HAVE FUN WITH THIS S***. THIS IS JUST A SMALL FRACTION OF LIFE.

VALIDATED: WHAT'S YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA WHERE EVERYONE CAN KEEP UP WITH YOU?

80 REEF: I'M @80REEF ON EVERYTHING.







Troy Hendrickson