Mass Reality
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Mass Reality

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The best kept secret in music


"Mass Reality - God Said It, I Believe It"

January 2004

If you were blessed by the fantastic guest spots on 586's record Generations and Underground Rise, you haven't scratched the surface of Mass Reality's talent. The nine-member crew is just hitting its stride, with many exciting projects coming up in the '04. To give us some background, inspiration and wisdom, MR leader Reconcile gave some of his time to The Runaway.

SOHH: Give us some information about the MR crew members

Rec: Well, the line-up is myself, Chosen1, Explicit, FirstBorn, Vandal, cOs, Terse, Di'Elect & Epsilon. We're spread out in location, with crew ranging from Tulsa [OK], New Orleans [LA], Michigan City [IN], Boston [MA], Chicago [IL], Atlanta [GA] & Jersey City [NJ]. MR consists of emcees, producers, engineers & a vocalist -- we've been in this since 1994.

SOHH: How did the crew form/get together?

Rec: We all connected at college in Tulsa, OK, between 1994-1998, through a community outreach department. We went out to inner city communities, recreational centers, campus outreaches, etc. and served the community primarily through rap music. We started off like 40-deep -- it was crazy! Of course, membership changed throughout the years, and the overall face of MR changed, but the mission stayed the same: meet the needs of people, express ourselves through hip-hop with excellence, while being an example of how to live. 1 Timothy 4:12. Our motto: One Body, Many Parts. 1 Corinthians 12:12. Thus the 12:12.

SOHH: How does a group so big maintain/mediate relationships?

Rec: Honestly, we've maintained by the vision -- we've always known what the 12 meant, and we've fought to see the vision for this crew fulfilled. We make the greatest use of modern-day technology --!!! That's not even a plug for the site, either!! We literally connect via our message board -- we go over planning, topics, crew issues, etc. Between that and occasional conference calls, we've managed to build. It also helps that we've established and maintained tangible relationships with one another throughout the years.

SOHH: Give us your background as an emcee. How did you get into hip-hop?

Rec: Let's see...I started off in hip-hop as a beatboxer/aspiring b-boy [I fell off on the breakin' end!]. I used to be out down my block in New Orleans, beatboxing, doing windmills & poppin' to whatever cats were playing. That's where everything started. I was heavy into artwork since age 3, but was always intrigued by how cats did what they did in hip-hop. From there I was CONSTANTLY listening to hip-hop music. I remember Q-93 & FM-98 used to always have these Eric B & Rakim mixes playing. Anyway, I used to always recite other cats' rhymes, but actually started actually freestyling at 17 [in college]; two years later I was writing.

SOHH: What makes freestyling so important to an emcee?

Rec: The Initial Thought: You can usually see where cats' heads and hearts are by a mere freestyle; [that's] not a judgment call, just a realistic point. It's a test of the creativity of the individual. To be able to scan a room or choose a random topic and intricately talk about whatever you see or what you think, make it rhyme & have's a beautiful thing!

SOHH: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started in holy hip-hop?

Rec: I wish I knew THEN that categorizing hip hop into religious sections wasn't really necessary. I could listen to music, feel what I feel, and because I walk with God on the daily that would come through my communication. As opposed to feeling the supposed "necessity" to preach through rap, you know? It's all good for whomever, but I now realize that it is not a necessity.

In addition, I wish I knew back then that ministry is really not about a stage, a mic, beats and rhymes, etc. It's about your life and meeting people's needs. That's it! What needs are being met at these shows or from our CDs? That's what I ask myself often. Your life is what dictates what goes on in front of people or behind the scenes. Everything else (to me) is positive energy, entertainment... AND THERE'S ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH IT!

A lotta Christians don't feel comfortable with [entertaining]; for many, it's all got to be in a church format, ending with an altar call or something similar. That's cool, but it's not a rule. Lest we forget, we are MCs -- we move crowds -- physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I believe God will do whatever He wants to do through us. Whether it's simply making the crowd go crazy at a show, (spittin' acapella to where they have no choice but to hear you) or having an "altar call", it's all about flowing as we feel directed by The Most High.

SOHH: What inspires your music?

Rec: Honestly, seeing that God is really involved in what I do; my life experiences; the opportunity to impact perspectives and ultimately change peoples' lives; the chance to make classic music; quality & excellent artistry.

SOHH: On the Peace record, you mentioned your need to trust God for the success of your ministry, how have you seen God been involved in your crew's work?

Rec: The Most High is the source of all things for Mass Reality -- no cliché, just reality. Christ is the head of our lives for real. We've walked through so much in our crew's lifetime and we've learned, grown and understood things through trial and error. God's grace is and always will be sufficient for us. Much of our learning was to trust God no matter who was for or against us, no matter who doubted or believed in MR, no matter how the outcome looked at any given time. It really was, "what did God say from the beginning?" That song concept was perfect for us. You'll read about the journey of Mass Reality in a novel one day.

SOHH: What has it been like being involved with a couple Tunnel Rat projects this year?

Rec: It was an honor and a privilege. Definitely a learning experience for the three of us featured on those TR projects [Chosen1, FirstBorn (aka Lazarus) & myself]. Personally, I've followed LPG and Peace 586 specifically since '91 -- FOS...Caught In A Land of Time. We did a show with them in Oklahoma a few years back, and it was kinda surreal to build with them because I was listening to them as a teenager. After our sound check that night, Dax [of LPG] approached us about appearing on a few upcoming projects. That in and of itself was ill, but it was actually something we saw coming eventually. Then to visit "The Infamous Rathole" and see the vision God gave Dax actually coming to pass was very inspirational. Then connecting with all the different heads on Underground Rise & 586's albums and watching it all come together was amazing! I'm truly blessed to have had the opportunity to work with them -- they are our family! You'll hear more collabs with them -- trust that!

SOHH: What does Mass Reality bring to hip-hop?

Rec: If there's anything I can say we bring to hip-hop, it would have to be balance. We love God, love people, love hip-hop. We seek truth, live truth and express it to the masses. We bring quality music and substance to this aspect of the culture. MR bridges the gap between the body and the streets. That's us in a nutshell.

SOHH: What are your crew's goals?

Rec: To be an example of what we believe the body of Christ is supposed to be like: One Body, unified in the midst of diversity -- all centered on Christ with a genuine love for God, people (and of course, hip hop). We desire to free people's minds with truth, to express ourselves artistically with excellence and to truly meet the needs of people in whatever way we can. It's more than music; it really is life for us.

SOHH: What upcoming projects can we look for in the future?

Rec: Chosen1 - "Transformation"--released October 28th on Proximity Records The album is FIRE! That's Chosen1's record label, by the way!

Mass Reality presents "The Awakening: MR Mixtape Vol. I-III". Volume I releases on the streets January 27th, 2004. Visit for up-to-the-minute info. We sincerely believe this mixtape series is gonna change the face of how mixtapes are done within the body. Several of our friends will be featured on these joints... you'll wanna cop this -- I PROMISE!!

2004 will bring a release from MR duo "The Blacktop Order", along with solo releases from Epsilon, FirstBorn, Vandal & myself. For everyone wondering, an all-crew full-length LP will release as soon as it's done and ready to be released. No doubt... we're already busy into 2005, so we'll keep you posted!

SOHH: Where does artist development enter into your ministry?

Rec: Lyrically, we sharpen skill amongst ourselves and other emcees, DOPE emcees, mind you. For real though, whether it is general freestyling, occasional battles, showcases and of course doing shows, we see it all as opportunity to evolve artistically. Musically, it's been about stylistic exploration, each artist and producer sifting through his/her individual tastes to collectively form the musical blend that is MR. Our sound will soon resound to the masses. Please believe...Mass Reality is finally coming -- things will not be the same. One love. 12-Eternal

SOHH: Shoutouts?

Rec: Big ups to Plastic (appreciate the love, kid), Runaway and the whole Sphere team -- thanks for this opportunity. To the Tunnel Rats -- Thanks for the love, fellowship and exposure. To The Remnant -- I believe in y'all, cousins -- the earth isn't prepared! To The Procussions, Cashius, King Ray & Sungate Records, T-Rex, OriginO, Minute and all of our supporters -- we love you! And lastly to my family -- MASS REALITY! No words crew...let's just do this! - (©2004)

"The Morning Review: MR's"

February 2004

As 2004 rolled in, I was a little anxious about the new hiphop music that will be hitting the stores. After an overall successful year in 2003 with "Generations", "Eargasmic Arrangements", "End Is Now", "Underground Rise","Nephilum","AWE-thentic",& countless other studio albums, I was anticipating even hotter joints this year. My first purchase was Boombox Titans' "A Voice in the Desert" & even though it is a respectable CD, it didn't get my juices pumping. Plus, I was so disappointed in last years mixtapes, I was pondering making a vow to never waste my hard earned money on another one again. But before I could make my decision to go through with the pledge, I kept seeing Vandal from Mass Reality posting thread after thread, hyping up the release of the new joint "The Awakening Mixtape". So I was like, 'I'mma give this mixtape a shot, but if it comes out like crap, then my decision to purchase another mixtape will be undoubtedly made.

Well, Mass Reality renewed my faith in mixtapes. The "Awakening" has enough beats & rhymes to resurrect a cemetary. I've always had much luv for Mass Reality since their last CD, the much slept-on "12:12 Regiment Files". I knew they were a talented crew, but they have lyrically & musically matured over the years. "Awakening" is explosive, like one of those suicide bombers in Palestine. I was blown away by this project.

There are NO (& I repeat NO)shortage of songs on this CD, maxing out at 29 tracks! Not bad, for only 10 bucks. There are too many cuts to name, but I thoroughly loved all of them. The female member(Explicit, I think) calls out the sin of lust & cleavage revealing women using Beyonce's own "Crazy" track. She speaks to the ladies(probably even Beyonce herself) about respecting yourself in order to receive respect from men. Mass also uses ol' school NWA track "Express Yourself" with new school flava. But don't get it twisted. A majority of the beats are original & headbangers, enough to get a elderly resthome jumping.

Mass is tight & deep enough to hold their own on a Cd, but when you add superheavyweights like TunnelRats, Remnant, Marsill, & King Ray to the mix, they are unstoppable. "Donkey Punch" w/Remnant is probably the best joint. The militia is in top form & doesn't sound like they've been absent from the studio booth. The song begins with a mule(?)sound. "Strange Days" w/ Tunnel Rats is another blaster, with a blazing beat. This song is argumentively TRs best collaboration & makes you salivate for the arrival of their upcoming album in April. Manchild holds it down with the crews. Soulheir has the delivery to take a weak track(there are none on this album) & create a masterpiece. He is just that ill(no pun intended).

The only complaint I have is that the cd doesn't have a cover. The tightest mixtape in HHH doesn't have anything decorative or eyecatching. Plus, the track listings are just on the cd & not on the cd cover, so I had to keep interrupting the cd to find out what song was I listening to. I thought that was odd.

"Awakening" will make its listeners speechless. Everytime you thought you heard the greatest song on the album, the next tune is even hotter than the previous. In my opinion, this the best mixtape in HHH 'cause it satisfies everyone, the Christians & the nonbelievers. But it doesn't compromise the Gospel. It only incorporates the Word with clever metaphors & wordplay, leaving saints astonished. Yet, this cd is a testimony to the streets, that Christian rap artists aren't only humble servants of the Most High, but they are some of the best freestylers & mic controllers in the business. Mass Reality accomplishes its mission by awakening the deadmen walking.

Rating: 5 stars(out of 5) A Perfect CD

Morning - MorningStarr

"The Next Level of Hip Hop"

May 2004

Tell me about the 12:12 crew, who it consists of and how you all got started in the game.

Rec: We are a universal crew of emcees, ranging from all over the States, aiming to bring hope to the street, on several levels. The art of hip hop is dying...and heads need hope; the art of living has BEEN dying, and heads still need hope, feel me? We are purveyours of positivity through real life in hip hop music. Excellence embodied through diversified unity, an expression of One Love: God, Mankind, Hip Hop. The whole package is right here...
cOs: My crew consists of eight remarkably talented people--Rec, Explicit, Firstborn, Terse, Epsilon, Vandal, and myself. Now, if you want to know how we started, you got to know just a little bit of our history. Back in the mid-90's a guy by the name of Brian Simpson spearheaded a small group of emcees who had a passion for hiphop. Then between '93 and '94, this guy named Jason took over and named the crew Mass Reality. Then, I think sometime in '94, Big Rec took over. From then to now, you had many people come and go, until MR was narrowed down to the present eight members.

Tell me about the album, The Awakening.

Di'Elect: The Awakening is kind of the genesis of things to come. The title signifies this sleeping giant that is MR waking from its dormant state and just making our presence felt. We hope to ultimately do our part in recussitating this dying artform, and to quicken the listener musically and spiritually.
FirstBorn: The mixtape is an appetizer for the public. We are just whetting the appetites until the album drops (Summer 2005) and basically telling folks who we are and to keep their eyes & ears open.

I don't know if you guys are aware of it, but we put a few tracks from The Awakening in our internet radio rotation, and you guys got mad reviews man, no doubt. Cats were wondering who you were and what's going on with you. Describe your style..........who do you compare yourselves to in the game?

Explicit: My style is just spittin' the truth. I like to tell my story in songs, cuz I know real people can relate.I wouldn't compare myself with anyone, but one person I'm influenced by is Lauryn Hill.
Vandal: As a group it's hard to compare us to anyone because we're so unique. Not tryin to sound cliche, but that really is the deal. Me individually though I would say I'm sort of a blend of Nas's depth, LL Cool J's charm, LPG's unapologetic nature, Jay-Z's cockiness, and Canibus's lust to destroy the careers of wack rappers.

Big Rec spits nothing but gasoline on the Freestyle with FirstBorn and the production is game tight. What producers did you work with on this project?

FirstBorn: There were several producers on this project: myself, Terse, Dert (of the Tunnel Rats), Construct (of Remnant) and others.

What producers would you like to work with or have plans to work with?

Di'Elect: To name a few; All MR producers, Construct (Remnant), Andre 3000, Kanye....
Terse: Currently, I'm working with several cats. Within the crew, Firstborn. Man is a genius. In Florida, there's this one young cat I work a lot with named Paul. Keep your ears open; you'll probably be bobbin' your heads to his stuff within the next few years. I wouldn't mind working with Kanye. Also, some of the veterans in the game: Premier, Pete Rock, Rza, etc. The list could go on. Just a lot of people that I respect.

What separates your project from other independent artists projects?

Vandal: Number 1, it's alot hotter than what most heads on our level is droppin right now. Most importantly though, you see a diversity and unity among the artists that's rarely seen in hip hop nowadays.
cOs: What we all primarily focused on was to combine our unique lyricism to create a diverse mixtape containing different styles people can choose from. We also wanted all of the artists to give their absolute best, and they did, which is why I think this mixtape stands out.

To me, your music has that, flava, that "hit em in the head flava" and cats are really diggin that these days.....Then you come with Freestyle by The Procussions for some laid back kinda groove.....Is the entire crew versatile like that or what?

Explicit: Of course!! We all have unique personalities, life experiences and styles. That's why we're able to give our audience a variety. We draw from all those areas when we create music.
Vandal: Most definitely. It's that versatility and diversity that seperates us from most cats. And we ain't even begun to hit niggaz in the head yet.

What's wrong with hip hop today?

Di'Elect: To me, the problem with hip hop is that it has become so "industrialized" that it's losing its essence. Personalities are manufactured, most commercial "artists" lack genuine expression, and the success of many of these "artists" who likely would get limited respect (in regards to skill and artform) in "underground" circles, has served to water down rap to a level where it is not even seen as music, much less an art. The fact is since Rap music became big business, the commercial focus shifted from artistry to hustle. There is a saying... "art imitates life". The current condition of Hip-Hop music is only a reflection of the state of our values and mindset as a community, which seems to be a self-centered/competitive pursuit of wealth, which only serves to keep the community collectively in poverty.
cOs: I believe D said it all. We need to rephrase our question from “What’s wrong with hiphop?” to “What’s wrong with us?” We’re the problem! When we change, rap will change.
Terse: I concur with DLCT. To add a different spin, I get tired of hearing people always complaining hip hop is dying, how much they miss the "golden age" of hip hop, etc. They often overlook the fact that if they want to change hip hop, then they need to look at themselves and the world around them and try to find out what needs to be changed. The issues with the music are only the symptoms, not the problem. It is reflective of the values that a society holds. Hip hop is continuously changing and reinventing itself. Cats get so caught up in trying to maintain the "classic" hip hop feel and arguing over what is "commercial" and "underground" that they lose sight of the bigger picture. Most are so caught up with the divisions within hip hop culture that they never realize that they are still all pieces in a chess game.

How is the 12:12 crew trying to change what's wrong with hiphop?

FirstBorn: Mass is here to bring diversity to an industry that breeds clones. By the very fact that we exist, hip hop will benefit--not necesarily just by our skill, but by what we bring to the culture of hip hop.
Vandal: Well off top, I don't think anything is really wrong with hip hop in and of itself. Like it's already been said, the music is merely a reflection of life. What we hope to do is present a living, breathing example of a better way to live across the board. As artist we do that by not holdin back when it's time to spit what's on our hearts. It's always gonna be real talk with us. And if people choose to follow that example, we feel that the expression will take care of itself cuz the life lived will be on point.

Have you done any shows with any "big name" performers?

Explicit: We've done shows with Grits, IIGz, Tonex, and most recently, Lil' Scrappy (Lil' Jon's protege).
Rec: Being that we've done shows in our respective hometowns, we try to open for major artists that come through our areas. We've ripped w/ several underground cats like ADeEm, LA Symphony, MarsILL, Tunnelrats, Remnant...a lot of respected underground hip hop crews. We also recorded with 2-MEX from the Visionaries out in L.A. a few years ago. Several of the larger-scale performance opportunities have come mainly through Chicago, Jersey & Boston (the bigger cities we rep).

Do you have any performances planned?

FirstBorn: Yes...the dates are not finalized, but stay tuned to for more updates.
Vandal: We're already hittin spots in our respective hometowns. The plan is just to keep it movin. And believe me from this point on it's about to get ugly. Folks can sign up for our e-mailing list or check the calendar on the website for future performances.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Di'Elect: Revolution.
Explicit: Some HOT music that will wake your spirit up!!
Rec: Reality expressed; Reasons to live realized; Change provoked; Respect earned. Expect a new standard of how things are done in hip hop music.
Terse: Pure unadulterated hip hop. Plain and simple. Now go sip some ice tea and chill.

Any last words?

Rec: Much respect to all of our supporters--you know who you are. This is just the beginning. To Rico & IndieStreet, we appreciate the cover story. Much respect. To the world of hip hop--we highly admonish you to arise from your slumber--if you don't have "The Awakening" mixtape Vol. I, chances are you're probably still sleeping. THAT!!! Be on the lookout for a new wave of revolutionary music from MR & others we support. Oh yeah, and if cats need beats:!!! Don't sleep...the 12s are in the building...get used to it! One Body, One Love...12-Deuce Eternal! - IndieStreet Magazine

"Interview with BIG REC"

March 2004

What are your overall thoughts on the current Tulsa music scene?
I personally feel that there is some talent in various individuals out here, but only certain genres tend to get highlighted, thus it seems like talent is limited. This in and of itself can limit the perspective of the overall Tulsa music scene. Many acts move out to "music industry meccas" like Nashville to get a record deal, but those places are focused on only a few genres. If you're alternative/rock, country or a Contemporary Christian artist, chances are you may get widespread support in this general region. It's almost indicative by how often certain artists come through Tulsa to perform. I represent hip hop culture, I'm a part of it...that's me. It is truly a rarity that a decent hip hop concert will come through Tulsa. I think a lot of it has to do with money & politics, the supposed "threat of violence" hip hop brings, which could possibly taint the good-guy, family image Tulsa tends to uphold. With all of that said though, I think things can definitely change over time, with a lot of hard work, open-mindedness, communication & TALENT!!! I think NewVo can play a positive role in that process.

How do you think something like NewVo could have an impact on the scene?
I think NewVo can have some very positive effects, just based on the effort to expand and really consider all people, all genres of music. The format for this year is intriguing to respective audiences of the featured artists, from the demographic that the shows are geared to, noted by where the events are being held. I think that was a smart move. Additionally, if it consistently improves throughout the years, NewVo can grow into national recognition as an event that draws industry heads & representatives, making it more attractive for the Tulsa music scene overall. It seems like most "major" artists don't come through Tulsa because they don't think there's an audience that will come out to the shows. I think building the underground scene, giving some exposure to what's really out here & pushing local artists nationally will in turn benefit us all locally.

What will the Mass Reality show be like at NewVo?
MR will bring Hip Hop experience to NewVo! It will be high-energy, a display of skills & substantial lyrics that will move crowds physically, mentally & spiritually. 'Nuff said!

What about a band causes an audience to connect with their music?
The band must KNOW THEIR AUDIENCE!!! In our experience, it's been important to understand a few intangibles. You've got to know your audience. If MR were rapping at a Senior Citizens' home, we would need to take into account that blasting the music & rapping fast would not be effective, you know? So maybe a capella would be better from time to time. Know your audience--give them what they want, but give them what they need! Also, SAY SOMETHING SUBSTANTIAL! You've got to give the people something they can go home with...mentally, emotionally, spiritually. If all I'm ever talking about is "blinging", pimping women & how much of a thug I am, what is going to stand out from every other hip hop/rap artist in the audience's mind? Words are powerful, and if I can say something that will provoke a response from the people beyond the music, then that's going to stay with them...beyond the music.

How do you think listeners in general have responded to Mass Reality?
Everything thus far has been positive. Responses to our music & drops on the radio have been great. I think that because so many haven't seen us perform, some are like "who are these cats?" But after they experience the Mass, the connection will be made on a more tangible level--I guarantee this. I believe it's all good from here on out.

Where do you see music in Tulsa going in the future?
I think Tulsa can eventually be hotbed for new talent, especially being that so many are not even from Tulsa (like myself). I'm from New Orleans, LA originally, but have been here for the past 10 years. I see it going as far as the people go. If we cater to a few genres and not build up the underground music scene, the Tulsa music scene will not be attractive to all & people will just lose interest. If the people of Tulsa choose to change the method that things have been done over the past 50+ years (musically), then I see the results changing. If more time, money are invested into the music scene, we can all benefit in the future.
- Urban Tulsa Weekly


2000: Mass Reality
"Revolution/Human Condition" (single)

Epsilon (of Mass Reality)

2001: Mass Reality
"The Reign" (compilation)

Chosen1 (of Mass Reality)
"Baby Steps to Bride Status: The Journey" (LP)

Mass Reality
"Regiment Files:The Reign Extended" (mp3 album)

2002: Epsilon (of Mass Reality)
"Planet America"

2003: Mass Reality (guest appearances)
1) Peace 586 "Generations" LP
featured on "God Said It"
2) Underground Rise "Sunrise/Sunset" LP
featured on "How We Get Down",
"Southern Brutality", "Mission Penpossible",
& "Remember This Day"
3) King Ray "The King Ray Version"
featured on "No Doubt" & "C'Mon [Remix]"
4) Platinum Souls "Unexpected Mixes: Vol. IV"
featured on "Heat" (Chosen1)

Epsilon (of Mass Reality)

Chosen1 (of Mass Reality)

2004: -"The Awakening": MR Mixtape: Vols. I-III
-Blacktop Order - "The Revolving Door" LP
-Reconcile - "State of Emergency" LP
-FirstBorn - "Self-Titled" LP
-Tripartite Vandal - "Release" LP
-Epsilon - "Social Disorder" LP


Feeling a bit camera shy


In modern-day hip hop, many rap on mics with either no heart, no skill, or the prevalent combination of both. Likewise, there are those with both the heart & skill intact, but no direction or vision to carry out their existence. Then there are the few who are equipped with the total package...

This eight-member crew is comprised of emcees, producers & one vocalist, all originating from across the United States. Formed at an Oklahoma university in the mid-90's, MR was established with emphasis on community service, aiming to breathe life into hip hop culture & inner-city communities. The motto : "One Body, Many Parts" [The 12:12 Theory]--distinctly different members functioning as one unit.