In such a period where content is massively produced and distributed at such a high rate, it is challenging to be able to funnel out the real identities from the fake, especially when fabricated personas seem to receive the most praise from the masses. It is also challenging to dig towards the root of specific customs and cultures because of how saturated the media industry is of false narratives and information. There are some people, however, who never allowed the influence of an external force to deter them from their purpose.
Reggie Bonds is a rap artist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (residing in California), who dedicates his art to the initial root of hip hop and implements it at its core. He has been writing music for seven years but has been perfecting his discography for the past four. He is now in the process of crafting the last elements to release his upcoming album “THE BLACK TAPE: A BLACK ASS RAP ALBUM,” a 16-track body of work fueled by the subjects of black history, pain, glory, success, and love. It divides into two themes: heart & soul. To make things more interesting, he plans on releasing his album exclusively on vinyl for $111.11.
“With putting that price tag on [my album], it just sets it apart from current musical art and its approach,” he explained. “Also, I’m into exclusivity and owning your energy and worth.”
Bonds stands out from other young black artists because he plans to teach and elevate the history of black culture through the root of hip hop. He released a single from the album titled “BEAUTIFUL,” featuring Troy Tyler & Grey Genius and produced by 11 Gray. It praises the beauty and essence of black people and how they will reign over pain and those that defy them.
I had the pleasure of listening to other prevailing tracks on the album and found a few favorites. “MILLUMINATI!” is an explanation to the racism and segregation in Milwaukee and how he overcame it. “BLACK!” is an incredible & soulful opening with powerful vocals delivered by Siren with Reggie’s compact lyricism. My last but not least favorite track, “MOTHERLAND!/AMERIKKKA!” offers a tribal and war-ready atmosphere.
“With this album, [the subject is] just where I was at the time,” Reggie begins. “Understanding where I stand as a human being and understanding human culture, religion, and making sense of the current times. It’s a true reflection of the energy and space I was in.”
I asked him what his current position on hip hop is right now and how stands out amongst others in the genre.
“I love the current state of hip hop at the moment, but I also know that there is a balance needed within the artistic manner of being a griot and the stories and energy that get relaid to the masses,” he says. “It’s not just about standing out. I know how to be me and make what I like. I make high taste level pieces of beautiful texture— you know, ‘museum rap.’”
That phrase intrigued me. “Museum rap.” To him, his work is high in value & can be displayed for millions to see, but only a few can obtain. “TBT” is something that many people can admire, but a very special few can see the significant value. It was bold of him to proclaim his work as such, and I respect that he speaks of his work in such a prestigious way.
Tay Butler edits the album art. Butler created the album cover after becoming inspired by listening to “THE BLACK TAPE” with a few guidelines by Reggie himself. Butler specializes in taking images from magazines, stripping them, and creating reflective collages.
The album is in a bundle titled “The Gold Package.” It includes a signed copy of the album in vinyl, a “Black Tape” hoodie in a choice of black or grey, a “Black Tape” T-shirt in a choice of black or white, and “Black Tape” stickers— all for the price of $111.11.
Reggie Bonds is an advocate for black culture and plans to give a voice to those who haven’t been able to speak for themselves. Unity, power, respect, and love are the moving forces of his message. Through the power of his artistry, we can learn to respect one another.