Reef the Lost Cauze + Bear One
Reef The Lost Cauze, a vicious Philly MC, has been ripping boom bap tracks since his first album in 2003. He has dropped albums and mix CDs continuously since then. As part of the Army of the Pharoahs, he has solidified his spot as a respected underground MC. Hooking up with Snowgoons, King Magnetic, Guns N Butter or Stress the White Boy, Reef shines when pairing with a producer for an entire album. This time around, we hear the gritty Reef spit over beats from Bear One. Bear one, also from Philly has worked few MCs but this is his first solid full album.
Reef’s lyrics are hard hitting while driving through multisyllabic repetition. Crafty wordplay emphasizes and validates his braggadocio focus. Sometimes he dips into the profound or socially relevant, but mostly adheres to the spine of hip hop, severe claims of greatness. Bear One weaves intricate hooks utilizing myriad samples from films and hip hop. All quotes reflect a desire to continue and strengthen the current landscape of hip hop.
The album’s intro is Furious Styles’ Compton speech from Boyz N The Hood. This scene is a severely impactful, poignant warning to the youth of the city. Reef and Bear set the benchmark high by using this right away. That standard is met immediately by the solid smooth 70s soulful horns and strings of “Olde English”. The beat gets the head to nod. The album moves into a sultry bassline and vocal loop with “Bear Witness” that allows Reef to spit intensely.
“All Ours” illustrates Bear One’s tenacity and drive as he speeds up a slick guitar pluck and mixes it with a vocal chirp pitched up. My favorite beat consists of a gnarly, naughty, funky blues guitar over congo drums on “Black Out”. The cooler switch for the chorus boasts dexterity and musicianship. My other favorite beat is the dark funk provided by bass and deep piano on “You Know Me Well”. “Radio Suckas” is equipped with ill hooks and samples, and features STS (a common Bear One collaborator) and Peddi Crakk, and Truck North riffing on the pop slop on the radio. Borrowing from 7L (“Bare Knuckle Boxing”), Reef comes again over a monster beat with new lyrics.
Furious Styles is a true marvel, being a listenable album through each thirteen tracks. It continues the esteem Reef TLC has amassed. Professing street grit like his AOTP brethren, his tales and experience, and his dues paid over a decade in the game, has Reef still maturing with rap. Bear One compliments this attitude and motivation by providing banging boom bap beat. The Philly soul influence is steep and thick like honey. Pick this up.