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Once regarded as Philadelphia Hip Hop’s “best kept secret,” Reef the Lost Cauze is no longer the best underground MC you’ve never heard of: he’s ready to shed the title once and for all and become a household name. The battle-tested MC is poised to have a breakthrough year in 2010: not by switching up his style or conforming to ready-made ideals of mainstream acceptability, but rather by staying true to the basic formula of raw rhymes and murderous beats. Reef stands as the new sound of Philadelphia. He carries with him the city’s long-standing tradition of musical history and innovation.

Reef began performing at an early age. He started acting in plays from early childhood. He was drawn to the culture of Hip Hop at the age of eight and never looked back. By the time he reached high school he had earned a reputation as a vicious battle emcee, dominating street ciphers across Philly. It was not until he was accepted into Philadelphia’s University of the Arts on a film scholarship that he began to visualize a serious career on the mic.

Realizing that he had found his true calling, Reef dropped out of college at 19 to focus on his music. He linked up with Philadelphia producer Sleep E early in 2002 to begin recording his first solo project: The High Life. The 10-track album opened doors for Reef and he began the journey from street-corner poet to respected and feared MC. His work ethic was relentless and he found time for little else. In February 2003, Reef released Invisible Empire, an 18-track album that he distributed himself by way of a national schedule of shows. He won the Mic Check Battle in Philadelphia in 2003, after which he traveled to Oakland, California to take 2nd place in the Blaze Freestyle Battle.

Titles and accolades aside, Reef describes the first year of his recording career as a time of growth, both professionally and personally. “Life experience really came about in my writing,” he says. “I was comfortable with reaching beyond being simply an emcee and becoming a musician. I really wanted to take chances and play around with rhythm and flow – I lost all fear.”

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 Challenge Champion at the Rock Steady Crew 27th Anniversary in July 2004, and went on to take the EOW Grand Championship title in 2005.

2005 also saw Reef independently release the LP Feast or Famine. It was a record that recognized as one of the “Most Slept-On Albums of 2005.” The album was mentioned in the December 2005 issue of XXL. The album was unanimously met with solid, critical praise for its deft lyrical acrobatics and gritty, uncompromising hardness. Reef quickly became known as one of the sharpest lyricists in the game and was firmly planted in the underground scene.

After a few years of kicking around the city of Philadelphia, Reef’s prowess and reputation eventually lead to him being handpicked by Jedi Mind Tricks frontman Vinnie Paz to become a part of his Army of the Pharaohs crew. Reef is featured on several Jedi Mind Tricks Presents Army of the Pharaohs albums – The Torture Papers (2006), Ritual of Battle (2007) – including the lead single/video “Tear It Down” as well as this year’s The Unholy Terror. In 2008 reef put out yet another solo LP A Vicious Cycle and was again met with critical praise. Reef has also spent a lot of time on the road opening for hip-hop stalwarts such as Jedi Mind Tricks, Brother Ali and Little Brother. He also tours as a member of the Pharaohs crew. With the exposure that constant touring afforded him, listeners and critics alike were schooled on the MC’s indomitable stage presence as well as his other-worldly freestyle skills.

On June 8, 2010, Enemy Soil will be releasing Reef’s newest studio album, the aptly-titled Fight Music. Reef teams up with producers Guns-N-Butter as well as some high-profile rappers like Kool G. Rap, Vinnie Paz (of Jedi Mind Tricks), R.A. the Rugged Man, Slaine (La Coka Nostra), Big Noyd and more.

Reef the Lost Cauze

From the Album “Fight Music” – IN STORES 6/8/10

Tracks: “I’m a G” and “Get Me Outta Here”

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