You know what I like? Hip-Hop. Cat’s out of the bag. As I was trying to connect with more NY creatives I came across Rekstizzy, a New York emcee who is not concerned with being in your top-5-emcees list, nor is he trying to sell you “swag”. How can you define this Queens-bred music? Well he provides songs that promote alcoholism while condeming it, and a threat to take women shopping at Payless. His debut album, ‘Fake It Till You Naked’ is a lifestyle album that’s vulgar yet strangely relatable. We sit down and talk about New York, Wu-Tang, his music, films, and more! Read below for the full Q&A…
Where’d the name ‘Rekstizzy’ come from?
Rekstizzy: Aw man, God bless America. My rap name growing up was ‘reklis‘ because I was always kind of a wild child. But if you google that or any variation of the word, you’re going to get all kinds of rappers who are either on some lyrical-metaphorical shit or they still hate their parents. So I tacked on the ‘stizzy’ just to let you know, it’s some real cool shit about to go down.
Rap has been watered down to nothing but heavily produced club bangers. Do you try to go against the grain or swim with the current in terms on your music?
Rekstizzy: You know, it’s all good as long as it’s coming from a real place. Like, you know LMFAO are really in the club pouring bottles on these females. If they tried to rap over Madlib beats and get all Talib Kweli with it, that would be the worst. I was at a stripclub in Astoria and when they played “Shots” featuring Lil Jon, it got so hype. Strippers started pulling out the craziest pole stunts and all the guys started high-fiving each other causing money to fall out of their hand.
So I’ll go against the grain and swim with the current as long as it’s real to me. What’s popular isn’t really a big concern to what I do. It’s weird how people judge an artist by their fans and not with their ears.
We love Japanese culture, you love Japanese culture! You even took a year of Japanese in college! What is it about the culture that you appreciate the most and how does it influence your music?
Rekstizzy: I know a lot of Japanese people are about to roll their eyes, but yo, anime is the gateway drug to japanese culture. It really makes you want to visit and soak up the culture.
Also, I like the porn.
What is your personal opinion on Wu-Tang splicing clips of cult kung-fu films into their music? Would this be an element that you would ever add to your music?
Rekstizzy: If they were just exploiting it, I’d say fuck ’em. But these guys are like really serious about it. If you Google the RZA you’ll find images of dude rockin’ a robe, training with monks on some Krillen shit. I even believe he was seen at an event recently walking around with some bald white chick with the Buddhist beads on. I fux with the Wu heavy!
I wouldn’t really add it to my music though, unless I had a good reason to. Like any other Asian, I watched a gang of kung-fu growing up but I wouldn’t say it defined me. Some of these asian cats try to talk that dragon fist shit and they sound real corny. You can tell when somebody is really living that tiger crane palm lifestyle with the feng shui whiskers.
For those that are unfamiliar with your sound, tell us a bit about the creative process behind ‘Fake It Till You Naked’ and what your mindset was going into the studio?
Rekstizzy: For my first album, I let the shit happen organically. I never sat down to write a rhyme, them shit’s just came to me. Usually happened after my collaborator YoungHoon Beats sent me a new instrumental or while I was riding the train. I’m very inspiration-driven and I don’t like to do things just to do them. That’s why you’ll see a lot of bad movies or music, because there are people who have the skills or the means but nothing inspired to contribute.
Going into the studio, it took about a day to get used to it. But, I set up the hookah pipe, drank a couple of Heinekens and my engineer Squib and I just got to work. Sometimes, I would take my shirt off and fart in the booth to make him laugh. He didn’t laugh though.
The music scene in New York is bananas. Do you find it easy to network since it is such a huge breeding ground or is it the opposite effect where it is so saturated with music acts it is hard to find a venue to shine?
Rekstizzy: It’s weird because the acts that are really selling out shows are either very established acts like Jay-Z or they’re coming from out of state. New York doesn’t support New York like that and at the same time, I don’t blame them. We’ve got to step it up and stop rapping about rapping. As far as venues, they’ll give anyone a chance as long as they can bring in a crowd, so that’s really on the artist. I can’t wait until I’m rocking a nice enough venue where they can float me down on cables into a fat chick’s lap.
Do you have any favorite Asian Films or Anime?
Rekstizzy: Man… Kitano, Miyazaki, Kurosawa, motherfuckers are insane to me. Lot of great film(s) came out of Japan. I also went through a period in college when I was watching a lot of random classics like ‘Good Morning’ and ‘After Life’ that just made me feel odd and those are the best.
As far as anime, I love that Naruto, One Piece shit as much as the next man. But my favorites are the real silly joints like Golden Boy and Yakitate Japan. Might even drop a couple tears during joints like Hikaru No Go, nahmean?
You decided to have all the beats on your LP done by the same producer. What was the reason for not branching out and including other producers?
Rekstizzy: YoungHoon and I created this weirdly perverse, haze-tinged world for people. If we added anyone else, it wouldn’t have been the same. I’ll probably do the same for my next projects with other producers and again with YoungHoon in the future. The Illmatic approach worked for Nas. Not so much for everyone else trying to throw whatever Baskin Robbin 31 flavors of the month on their albums.
Yeah, we didn’t mean that as a bad thing, as your rhymes float over the beats quite nicely. Is it hard to find musical chemistry with someone in the studio?
Rekstizzy: Thank you, man. It’s always harder to do things with more chefs in the kitchen but when everyone knows their role, no egos, it’s the grandest meal and Gordon Ramsay doesn’t scream on you.
Lastly, I know you’re out promoting your music, can we expect to see you on a U.S. tour soon? Where can people check you out at?
Rekstizzy: Soon as the people start copping the album, ‘liking’ my Facebook page and following me on Twitter, I’ll get on my carpet and go to where they are on some Aladdin extending an open palm to Jasmine shit.