dangerousNEGRO Prez, Sebastine, introduced me to Reo Pagan back in 2007. They went to grad school together at Purdue, so it was only fitting for Sebastine to acclimate Reo to his new digs in H-Town. That meant bringing him into our circle of dangerousNEGROes. As I grew to know Reo, we connected as Hip Hop connoisseurs. Due to the overwhelming number of Negroes that purport to have rap as a talent, I was skeptical when Reo told me he had mic skills. However, the moment I popped his ’08 D.O.E Records debut CD into my ride I felt like a Hip Hop paleontologist; it instantly dawned on me that REO The Emcee is the missing evolutionary link between Nas and Jigga. Today he offers to the world a musical masterpiece. The RE-education is on par with 50 Cent is The Future, Trap or Die, So Far Gone, and Man In The Mirror, as far as classic mixtapes go. It is equally infectious and indicative of a new star emerging on the Hip Hop horizon.
Demetrius: Who is REO The Emcee?
Reo: REO The Emcee is first an entertainer. Second a Poet. And third a Teacher. Would love to call myself The Teacher but KRS beat me to that. And Nas and Pac were credited as the poets…so I’m all three
I failed to mention that I’m a fan too.
Demetrius: So what’s the deal with this mixtape? Why is it The RE-education?
Reo: so this mixtape is titled RE-Education for few reasons. The first reason is the fact that I am a well educated person and have no fear in letting the world know that. Hell everyone who knows me knows what I’m about…and it’s about constant improvement
The mixtape is titled RE-Education for that very reason
If we think about music we can see that every 10 yrs the music was considerably different
so, for 1980 – 1990 total difference
1990 – 2000 total difference
2000 – 2009/10 nothing has changed
music is stagnant and I think it’s because people have forgotten what makes for a great cd
and it’s the love…it’s not catering to a certain audience. It’s not being so ignorant and it sure ain’t being somebody you’re not
So the goal of the cd is to do me, and to let people know you can make great music people will feel by being you…Cause at the end of the day real recognize real. But some people don’t know that so you gotta educate them.
Demetrius: Being from Detroit and now residing in Houston, how has your ear and appreciation for music evolved?
Reo: Well funny thing is I grew up listening to NWA and Ghetto Boys.
So for me to come down to Houston I went to a Common concert and Bushwick came out on stage. I can hear people in the crowd whispering “Who is that…”
It was at the moment that I realized the dynamics of Houston
Most of the original people are not the people you see day to day on the job. And if you’re looking for that real authentic Houston flavor you won’t be finding it at the clubs downtown. You can find that though on OST and Scott. Or South Park or like any place outside the 610 loop.
but in terms of music…it wasn’t a big adjustment because I have always like the slower pimpish sounding beats. like the Paul Walls and Slim Thug beats…them boys go hard
I ain’t really on that uptempo dance around stuff you know.
Demetrius: You have a screw track on the mixtape… do you think you would have done something like that prior to living in Houston?
Reo: Only reason I did it is because cats run up on me all the time and say “This song or that song was jamming you should chop and screw it.” So I put it on as my way of saying to fans I hear you…! It’s my way of saying to Houston “Thanks for even giving me a chance” because they could have played me to the left like “Get this fool outta here. He ain’t from TX”
Know what I’m saying…It’s like hooping…The home team be real reluctant to show the away players love no matter how good they may be. Mike always got boo’d in the Garden you feel me. So for them even being open enough to listen I gotta show some respect. And that’s how I choose to do it
Hope it doesn’t come across wrong.
Demetrius: Let’s get into the meat of the mixtape… You have a track called Drapetomania on there. From what I understand Drapetomania was the made up disease they claimed slaves that wanted to be free were afflicted with. You seem to mention that dead beat dads and others are sufferers of the disease though. Can you explain?
Reo: Mental illness these people used to suggest the reason slaves ran away. So today many people have this slave man mentality. And it exists on many levels but the song addresses the people who allow themselves to be trapped in this mental state that restricts growth. So for example this dude that got killed in Chicago. These people burned down the memorial. It’s evident that the loss of a loved one has about zero value. And we call this hood. No it’s not, it’s dumb and it further demonstrates that fact that people are neglecting or running away from their responsibility to the community and to each other. Then I address dead beat dads. This is another lefter over mental condition from slavery. We’ve all learned that slave masters broke up the families. And we can see that this wasn’t a good thing for development. So if we are aware of that then why do we still do it. And it’s shameful and disgraceful because the child that was created didn’t choose you. So again, it’s another example of people running away from their responsibility. So the song really plays to the meaning and there are different levels or topics by which we can call Drapetomania. So because I love that beat and the topic I could have wrote forever but I only have so much time to communicate a message and those were the two topics I picked.
Demetrius: Last question - What is your overall mission in Hip Hop and why should
anybody listen to this mixtape?
Reo: So my mission right now is to gain national acceptance as a great artist, performer, M.C., and song writer. Once that mission is accomplished then I would use my musical success to make an alternate income over the j-o-b. I like being on stage. I like being around people. So I would like for what I’m doing to have a positive impact on someone’s life. And I know that every song that I make isn’t positive. But there’s always a message and that’s the beauty of hip hop. How do you communicate that there is a message even in songs that don’t appear to have one. Independent artists have more control over that than a signed artist and there’s also the possibility of making more cash doing it. So I’d say my overall mission is: a) To be known as one of hip hops greatest entertainers, b) earn a pretty penny, and c) touch peoples lives while doing a) and b).