Reef The Lost Cauze
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Reef The Lost Cauze

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE
Band Hip Hop


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Reef The Lost Cauze @ SXSW - Barcelona Nightclub

Austin, Texas, USA

Austin, Texas, USA

Reef The Lost Cauze @ Johnny Brendas

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Reef The Lost Cauze @ Dubland Underground

Rochester, New York, USA

Rochester, New York, USA

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Published: Friday, December 5, 2008

By Avinash Chak
Contributing Reporter

At the turn of the century, Jedi Mind Tricks kicked Philadelphia’s rap scene in a new direction with their sophomore album, the underground classic “Violent by Design.” Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind’s revolutionary production, combined with Vinnie Paz and Jus Allah’s furious rhymes, marshaled in a new era for the Philly underground. JMT’s blend of horrorcore and mysticism influenced artists and groups across the East Coast, especially those signed to the group’s label, Babygrande.

“A History of Violence,” JMT’s latest release, sounds a lot like 2006’s “Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell,” which should have been a good thing. The reunion with Jus Allah, who left the group after one album, should have given the group the vocal dynamic they’ve been missing. Unfortunately the album fails on both counts. Stoupe’s production, for the first time ever, is lacking. The classical music-influenced beats are still complex, layering ethereal strings and bells over hard-hitting drum loops, but few are memorable. Only “Trail of Lies” and “Godflesh” are worthy of the legend that is The Enemy of Mankind. Without dope beats to hold down the record, the job is left to the emcees.

Back in ’99, Jus Allah’s smooth voice with a faint trace of Elmer Fudd balanced well against Vinnie Paz’s gritty delivery. His back-and-forth verses shared with Paz formed ill tracks like “Heavenly Divine.” Between then and now, Jus has become a lot angrier. His voice is rougher and has lost its sense of effortlessness. His content has also lost much of its trademark Afro-centrism. At times, it’s easy to forget he’s even on the album. And though Paz is moving in a more socially conscious direction, he doesn’t spit anything as razor-sharp as JMT fans are used to.

“A History of Violence” disappoints. But fortunately for Illadelph hip-hop heads, there’s Reef the Lost Cauze’s “A Vicious Cycle.” Though a classic rapper in many ways, Reef has recently injected a big-ass vial of fresh serum into the Philly scene. On the album’s first track, Reef asserts, “don’t call it a comeback.” And this new release really does put him at the level of LL Cool J at the top of his game.

For the Illadelph underground, “A Vicious Cycle” seems to reinforce the shift in focus from beats to rhymes seen in The Roots’ “Rising Down” (2008). Reef’s got the art of storytelling down like Slick Rick or The Notorious B.I.G. He can cut battle records like 2Pac with less violence and more wit. And, on top of it all, he’s got jokes. The Cauze spits punch line after punch line. You wait for him to run out of clever things to say, but he doesn’t. He displays astute observational skill in lines like “You sharp as some scissors they used to use to cut construction paper” or “I dig in your ass like boxers that’s silk.” Reef is as skillful no matter what type of song he does or what beat he rhymes over. He verbally obliterates sucka emcees on “Get It? Got It? Good.” He tells a story from the point of view of slave revolt Nat Turner on one track and a corrupt, abusive cop on another. The ability to string together a large variety of raps under a coherent sound is one rarely found in even the best emcees.

The production complements Reef almost perfectly. “Nat Turner” features a fiddle that sounds like it’s mourning. “Thug Fantasy” has a dreamy, lifting melody evoking a mood like in Biggie’s “Sky’s the Limit.” The only questionable piece of production is “It’s Not That Easy.” Percussion that sounds like the beat to J-Kwon’s “Tipsy” laid over “The Godfather Waltz” has the listener asking “Why?” like Nancy Kerrigan. The lyrics of uninspired sexual banter with fellow Philadelphian Ethel Cee don’t make Nancy’s knee feel any better. Is it well-crafted satire like “I’m Rich,” from Reef’s previous LP, Feast or Famine? Sadly, no. But the song does not at all reflect his performance on the rest of the album. Though not as coherent as Reef’s last two releases, “A Vicious Cycle” has several brilliant moments.

Jedi Mind Tricks and Reef the Lost Cauze approach hip-hop in different ways. JMT has always emphasized creative production drawing on many diverse sources in pop culture; the raps have been subservient. Unfortunately, as on A History of Violence, the music can’t stand up when the beats aren’t solid. Though he isn’t attached to production as creative as Stoupe’s, Reef carries his songs with respect for what it means to be an emcee. He has mastered wordplay with a certain swagger only the greats exhibit. And he shows more versatility than anyone since Eminem circa Marshall Mathers LP. Perhaps he’s prophetic, too, when he says, “I’m’a end up in all y’all top ten, like G Rap, Big Daddy and Rakim.” We’ll just have to see. - Yale Daily News

Reef the Lost Cauze :: I Wonder

Reviewed by Dan Vidal

There's something about stories behind the music that seems to make the music itself that much more compelling. As Reef the Lost Cauze states in his MySpace blog, "I Wonder" was never meant to happen. Way back in 2005, Reef heard the soulful guitar loop and piercing strings of the Marco Polo produced track and knew he was meant to bless it – he just didn't have the funds to purchase it due to the limitations of an indie budget. The track floated in limbo for three years until Reef managed to get Polo into one of his shows free of charge. Polo gave up the track as a thank you gift, and Reef wrote the majority of his rhymes on a stoned train ride to Brooklyn to record them. The result is a thoughtful social commentary – a ponderance on moral paradoxes spat with gusto by one of Philly's finest. -



The name Reef the Lost Cauze strikes fear into the hearts of even the most tested battle rappers.
The Philly emcee has won more titles than his city's sports franchises. And if you ask him, that's not
even his strongest point.

``I feel like I'm a better songwriter than I am a battler, and that's saying something,'' Reef said
from his hometown.

Reef's profile started to explode after he won the Riddle Records Mic Check Battle and EOW Grand
Championship titles in 2005. Since then, he's released a solo album, countless mix tapes and
recorded with rugged Philly crew Jedi Mind Tricks, who share the bill with Reef, Outerspace and King
Magnetic with Adlib tonight in a sold-out show at the Middle East in Cambridge.

Now Reef's challenge is to get fans accustomed to his abrasive style to check out songs such as the
slow, contemplative single, ``I Wonder,'' from his soon-to-drop album, ``A Vicious Cycle''

``It's much deeper than me just rapping about how good I can rap,'' he said. ``I have relationship
issues, I have financial issues, I have real-life issues. When it comes down to it, I'm trying to be a
musician and an artist.''

``A Vicious Cycle'' features a new Reef, delivering insightful rhymes with the same acuity he uses to
beat his opponents in battle.

``Gone,'' featuring Massachusetts rapper Termanology, has him
looking at his past from a mature perspective. ``I Wonder'' touches on the lack of jobs and
education for inner-city youth - issues particularly relevant to Reef. For the past year, he's mentored
troubled kids. To the Lost Cauze, these youths are anything but.

``These kids are really frightened,'' he said. ``I see them struggling to be something more than
they are, but their environment won't allow it. It's heartbreaking.''
But just because Reef is focused more on songwriting doesn't mean he can't break out his lyrical
sword. His next project, titled ``Fight Music,'' teams him with Boston heavies Slaine and Guns-N-
Butta for another round of battle-ready material.

``Slaine is one of my best friends in the rap game,'' he said. ``Boston is like my second home.
They hold me down all the time.'' - Boston Herald


Solo Albums:

The High Life (2001)

Invisible Empire (2003)

Feast Or Famine (2005)

A Vicious Cycle (2008)

Fight Music (2010)

King & The Cauze (2011)

Group Albums:

Eyego/Direct - Workman's Comp. Vol. 1 (2004)

The JuJu Mob - Black Candles (2005)

Army of the Pharoahes - The Torture Papers (2006)

Army of the Pharoahes - Ritual of Battle (2007)



Reef The Lost Cauze is a Philadelphia emcee with his sights set on the top of the hip hop game. While some emcees are strictly studio and basic battle cats, Reef brings well-rounded talent to the table with formidable stage presence, skills of the pen and a ferocious freestyle ability. HIs latest offering, "Fight Music" features Jedi MInd Tricks front man Vinnie Paz, legendary street lyricist Kook G. Rap and more. Reef is geared up to hiit the road this fall in support of his collaborative project, "King & The Cauze" with King Magnetic. The project boasts features from Joell Ortiz, Saigon and more with production by Marco Polo, Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind and others.

Having spent a great deal of his childhood acting in plays and performing, Reef fell in love with Hip Hop at the age of eight and has been rhyming ever since. By the time he reached high school, Reef earned a reputation as a deadly battle emcee -- jumping in any and every cipher he came across. It was not until his acceptance to Philadelphia's University of the Arts with a film scholarship that he began to visualize a serious career on the mic. It's here that he began to hone his songwriting skills, and worked on perfecting his stage presence.

Realizing that he found his true calling, Reef departed the academic world at age 19 to focus on his first love-- music. He connected with Philadelphia producer Sleep E in 2001 to begin recording his first solo project, The High Life. The 10-track album opened doors for Reef, and he soon began performing at local venues, generating consistent praise from both fans and the media.

In February 2003, Reef released Invisible Empire, a blazon 18-track album; self-distributed via a national schedule of shows. Before long, Reef won various battle competitions such as the Mic Check Battle in Philadelphia in 2003, after which he traveled to Oakland, California to take 2nd place in the Blaze Freestyle Battle. Reef took his freestyle skills to another level early in 2004 with a rousing performance at the Beat Society Production Competition in New York, and a fierce win in the Riddle Records Mic Check Battle. He was also the End Of The Weak (EOW) Challenge Champion at the Rock Steady Crew 27th Anniversary in July of that year, and went on to take the EOW Grand Championship title in 2005. Titles and battle accolades aside, Reef focused his well-rounded artistry into his third solo project, Feast Or Famine, the globally distributed seminal hip hop album that lead to his inclusion in the December 2005 issue of XXL where Reef stated "I want to take people on a journey through my life. I'm always going to make stuff that covers the spectrum, because there is so much to talk about". Over the years since Feast Or Famine, Reef has continued acending through his inclusion in tours all over the world as well as an innumerable amount of collaborations.

Having recently worked with mainstream artists, Gym Class Heroes, as well as underground hip hop's elite, Jedi Mind Tricks, and hip hop rising star, Termanology, Reef has demonstrated his chameleon-like ability to stand out on a wide array of tracks. He places a determined emphasis on balance with his songwriting and performance abilities.

"I love the rush of the crowd," explains Reef. "I love to be on stage and have a place full of strangers being amazed at what I'm saying. I'm much more at home and relaxed on stage performing my music."

Reef continues to incorporate his life and business experiences into his projects, and his range of expression will allow fans the opportunity to truly identify with him. As he grows in the world of entertainment, it is certain that Reef stands to become one of this year's breakthrough artists, en-route to solidifying his spot as hip hop's next superstar.