Rek the Heavyweight moves beyond his Atmospheric past

Rek the Heavyweight / Station 4 / June 24, 2007

Sometimes I read cats wondering whatever happened to Jarobi from A Tribe Called Quest or Arabian Prince from N.W.A. And sometimes I used to wonder myself whatever happened to Spawn: ten years ago, Atmosphere dropped their debut Overcast! as a two-MC outfit, but Spawn—already a veteran—was out of the group by the time their second album came out. After changing his name back to pre-Atmosphere alias Rek and adding "the Heavyweight" for good measure, he basically hit the reset button and started back on the road to making his name all over again.

So while Slug gets the crowd going berserk from coast to coast in big open-air festivals, Rek is pacing the stage in front of a dozen people on a Sunday evening in a venue better known for its metal shows. And even though he rocks a short set—about 20 minutes, wrapping everything up by quarter to 10 (man, everything closes early in downtown St. Paul)—dude gives it his all, looking like he just stepped in off the street with something to prove.

Sharing the stage with Rek is Cue Dangerous, a baldheaded dude in a sleeveless streetball shirt who throws out a couple good lines ("y'all gonna miss me if the Tek-9 jams/'cause I'm a broke rapper with Hollywood plans") and boasts a sharp Southern-style doubletime flow at one point.

It's tempting to wonder what an MC like Rek, with his straightforward but clever boast raps, would bring to an album like Seven's Travels or God Loves Ugly—but it's probably more worthwhile to cop what he is doing right now, under the radar but no less hard-working. Fingers crossed, maybe soon he'll finally be able to ditch that "formerly of."