Based in Cleveland, he began rhyming at the age of 12 and enjoyed early success gaining national recognition both as a poet and rapper. However, in 2001 he decided to hang up his microphone believing that his days as a performance artist had passed him by and settled into another successful career as an award-winning journalist, columnist, editor and educator. Luckily in 2004 he was finally persuaded by the young producer aLIVE (of the Cleveland-based Muamin Collective) to drop by the studio and pick up the mic again. This prolific collaboration helped to define a new Cleveland sound that fuses musical genres and yet manages to remain rooted to the essence of their home city–the realities of living in which have become the source of inspiration for Rep’s solo offering The Unclosed Mind.. Read more
Much more than “just another hip-hop album”, the Replife sound is often described as a fusion of hip-hop, nu-jazz, future soul and broken beat, although even this description fails to capture the freshness and innovation behind the music and artist! And with this album Replife shows himself not only as a gifted rapper, poet, singer and writer, but as a master of ceremonies, pulling together talent from across the globe to complete one sonorous musical thought..
The Unclosed Mind is enriched and deepened by collaborations with a who’s who of talented contemporary musicians, producers, and vocalists. Dego of 4Hero fame and Bugz in the Attic’s Kaidi Tatham combine to produce the spaced-out J Dilla tribute “Spirit”, Mark De Clive-Lowe drops the heavyweight “Emerald City”, Atjazz produces the infectiously bouncy “Put It Down”, featuring rising Swedish vocalist Kissey Asplund, then there are the warm, intricate duets with vocalist Deborah Jordan (Silhouette Brown and Robert Mitchell’s Panacea), “Elevation” and “Pangea” to name but a few. It is these collaborations and more that make The Unclosed Mind appealing to more than just traditional rap music listeners but to those who simply love good, soulful music. As Rep himself says “At a fundamental level, all of the producers contributing to the album are manipulating break beats, so the album is hip-hop based, but really this album isn’t about making good hip-hop. It’s about making good music.”
The Unclosed Mind is a journey through the thought-provoking, the abstract, the inspirational, the danceable, and the musical. With lyrics both challenging and inspiring Rep affirms his place as an original and unique emcee through the trials and tribulations of urban life and creates a musical soundscape that inevitably captures the ear and mind of the listener.
So let your mind too be unclosed.
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01 – Replife – Put It Down (The Unclosed Mind, 2008)
02 – Replife – R U Ready (The Unclosed Mind, 2008)
03 – Replife – Graduation Day (The Unclosed Mind, 2008)
04 – Replife – Pangea (The Unclosed Mind, 2008)
Background music during the interview:
Replife – Spirit (Dilla Shines Through), Boogie Down Productions – Poetry, Replife – Emerald City, Replife – Out Of Soul, Replife – Nommo, Replife – Away (So far), Replife – Elevation, Replife – Change 4 A Dolla, Replife – Keep On Part 2