This week, I interviewed a young boundary-smashing producer named Rey Reel. If you’re an avid listener of Urban Contemporary radio, especially in the major cities of the United States, chances are you’ve heard a bouquet of records produced by the 26-year-old California native. Originally from Sacramento, Rey Reel was raised in the Inland Empire where he met and connected with fellow HS87 artists Oktane and Price (Audio Push) and Hit-Boy. According to the artist, he’s been producing for Audio Push since he was 15 or younger and produced “Teach Me How To Jerk”, a single which was heavily praised on MySpace. In 2011, Reel moved down to Los Angeles for music. In present day, he’s landed Drake’s “Trophies”, will.i.am’s “Scream & Shout” Remix featuring Waka Flocka and Diddy, Beyoncé’s “Flawless” Remix featuring Nicki Minaj and the original version of “Flawless.”
We are certain, being able to work with quintessential artists such as the aforementioned and M.I.A. is one he counts as a blessing and states that his “creative mind has expanded so much” from having the grand opportunities to work with such top tier talents.
Namelessly, Reel infiltrating our airwaves and now, he’s ready for the world to get to know him.
Tell me about producing Drake’s track. What was that like?
Rey Reel clears up the rumored back stories about the track “Trophies” was supposedly meant for Childish Gambino.
“Actually, he (Childish Gambino) rapped on it but that beat is actually like really really old. Like years old. Hit-Boy had it. It was just a loop, and then he was like ‘Yo, come mess with the drums a little bit’. So I went in, did stuff with the drums. Then, we got the drums sounding right. Hit-Boy had taken it to Toronto with him. When he had met Drake and went to work with Drake, he had hit me and told me that they did a record called “Trophies” to the beat that we had did. I said, ‘Cool.’ You know, and you don’t really think too much of it because nowadays it’s very hard to land something . It was exciting. It was exciting news to hear. It was like one of the dopest things because like I’ve been wanting to work with Drake for a long time now. I didn’t get a chance to meet with him. I would have loved to have the opportunity.
Has life changed since the “Trophies” record?
You know what, it has changed. I’m looked at a diverse producer now. Someone that can do R&B, Hip-Hop and Pop. I’m trying to transition into more and other things such as Country, etc. I’m trying to expand. This is only a minor talent[?] of everything.
What was it like growing up in Sacramento and the IE? How did you get into production?
In Sacramento, I didn’t do too much growing up out there. We were kind of on an up-and-we-gotta-go scenario. My mom was a single mother, raising two children. She had three but my older sister was gone. She had already moved out and went on with her life. Then, going to the IE and meeting new people such as Oktane, Price, and Hit-Boy, we all grew up together which is extremely dope and rare. You know, a real family unity. And to be honest with you, getting into production is really something that I give to my sister who passed four years ago. She gave me a small programme (or software) a long time ago. It’s called, Hip Hop DJ[?]. I just happened to mess with that a little bit, and as I’m messing with that, she’s like, ‘You’re making some tight sounds.’
Do you have a body of music that’s coming out early next year? Is there something that we could look forward to that would showcase your production only?
I have countless, numerous of placements coming out right now. I can’t really name them all, only because it’s classified. I’m excited to showcase myself, finally. Finally, get in where I fit in and doing what I’m supposed to be doing and showing off my talent so everyone knows that with the assistance of Hit-Boy, I can also do my own thing.
Is there a specific artist that you’d like to work with, that you haven’t worked with yet?
I would love to work with Josh Groban, Katy Perry, Bic Runga. It’s a lot of artists that I want to work with down the line and touch basis with and get involved with. I know it’s just a matter of time for the blessing.
And for the other genres that you want to tap into, with you being known or associated with a Hip-Hop sound, do you feel like there’s going to be any pressure? Do you think anyone will criticize you about starting from Hip-Hop music and going to Country music?
I mean. No, not really. I mean, look at Pharrell and his success, and the path that he’s taken. Literally, by far, he’s one of the most diverse producers I’ve ever seen in my life. I compliment him on that and I look up to him, at the same time. He’s never really had a problem for it, and if he has, it’s been quietly kept. You know, secretly. If anything, he’s been nominated as one of the best producers of this time (of all time), along with Quincy Jones, Timbaland and others. So no, not at all. If anything, I think it would advance and help me more so.
Which producers did you look up to when you were growing up, and do you have a favourite rapper?
Favourite producers would have to be my top three: Quincy Jones, Pharrell and Hit-Boy, and my favourite rapper… You know it’s hard to say my favourite rapper because sometimes I be in a Snoop Dogg mode. Then, sometimes I be in a Biggie mode. I have to hold them all down right now.
So is it safe to say Biggie and Snoop Dogg?
Yeah, yeah. We can say Snoop and Biggie.
Cool, that’s noted. So what’s next for you?
Right now, I’ve been working with a couple of artists that I want to put under my wing and help develop. Not sign to me or anything like that. I’m in the process of changing the music industry. When I say changing the music industry I don’t mean changing it with the music I mean, changing it business wise. Trying to rid of some of the old trends as far as the bullcrap talk of politics. You know, I feel like we should start playing fair. You know, everyone deserves a chance at some point and time of their life and just because they are unknown, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have a talent to excite the world. Along with the financial situations with that. Then, I’m jumping into acting. In 2015, I should be on the screen at some point and some time. It’s something that I’m very excited for. It’s something new to me, and something that I love also.