Sometimes we don’t always get it right the first time. Sometimes trial and error can be our best teacher (as long as the error is one we can recover from). In the world of hip-hop it’s not so easy to recover from an initial branding error. Artists like Ja-Rule who tried to return to a more street edge after harmonizing with Lil’ Mo had a tough time making us believers. But then again, you have artists like Lil’ Wayne who made the transition from “wobbledy wobbledy” southern rapper to lyrical behemoth.
In the millennium’s first decade, the hip-hop culture in Philadelphia was engrossed in made-for-dvd battle raps. The likes of Meek Mill, Joey Jihad and Reed Dollaz were all active participants in this dog-eat-dog cypher but eventually the culture began to shift. Following the success of Meek Mill’s “In My Bag” record, the streets began to realize that maybe they should stop aiming guns at each other and start shooting for the stars.
Enter up and coming rapper, Reda (fka Bareda, fka Pretty-Boy Reda). Reda is quietly gaining a buzz and respect as a talented young lyricist. He’s been featured on AllHipHop.com, DailyUnsigned.com, and OkayPlayer.com. It also doesn’t hurt that he has a co-sign from The Roots and performed at the 2011 Roots Picnic. Reda’s most recent project is entitled, “Shoot 4da Starz,” a project that carries a motivational and humanistic tone. From what we stated above, you probably would’ve never known that Reda’s hip-hop beginnings were a little more “edgy” to say the least.
In the discussion below, Reda and I talked about his hip-hop beginnings, why he switched it up and where he believes his talents will take him.
CC: So what’s your full name now?
RE: My name is Reda and my alter ego used to be Pretty Boy Reda. Most people know me by Bareda but it’s just Reda now.
CC: So what made you decide to start rapping in the first place?
RE: It was Bone Thugs N Harmony. I used to try to be an R&B singer when I was a little kid, maybe 4 years old, running around trying to be like Michael Jackson. But when I heard Bone Thugs it was just different. I never heard anything like that. I mean I was a fan of Biggie and Jay-Z but I really felt I could do this shit when I heard Crossroads by Bone Thugs N Harmony.
CC: Tell me how you came from Headshot Records to now, with your latest project, Shoot For The Stars.
RE: In my earlier days, I was on the mixtape scene with Headshot records and I put out a mixtape called Son of a Gun and that was probably around 2007. And when I split ties with Headshots, I put out something under my crew, the Underdogs, called The Leader of The New School hosted by DJ Young Legend in 2009. Then I just took a step back and watched the game and the whole Philly scene and where it was going. And I just wanted to do something different. I always wanted to do something different even when I was with the Headshots crew. But at the time I think Cosmic Kev was playing one of my records from one of my earlier mixtapes and when I heard the song, I was like, yall played this so imagine if I give you my other stuff. Not just a freestyle with me rapping over somebody else’s beat or me dissing somebody–it’s actually real music. So that’s when I changed a lot of what I was doing before.
CC: Right. And I noticed the change from the days of you freestyling in West Philly with Tone Trump in the back to you recording a song like Moment of Honesty which is like a total 180. So what made you decide to grow into the rapper you are now? And is that just a reflection of a changing hip-hop scene?
RE: Well it had a lot to do with growth. When I was doing the whole DVD thing with me dissing Joey Jihad and Quilly Millz, it wasn’t really about the music. It wasn’t really about who’s the best MC and who’s really the nicest lyricist–it was about everything except that. So I just watched the scene in Philly and where we were going and I just took a year off and started listening to some classics like Nas, The Roots, Mos, Jay, Big, Pac some R&B, stuff from the 70s and just a lot of different types of music. And I just wanted to see where I want to be as an artist. What do I want to be known for? What’s going to be my mark when I leave this place? So that’s where it started from. I knew that doing the whole dissing and the DVD thing wasn’t going to get me as far as I wanted to go or even get respected musically. That’s what made me change.
CC: How has growing up in Philly reflected the music you make now?
RE: Well G, I’m pretty sure you know where we’re at. Right now it’s reality music. That’s what it’s about. People in upper-class neighborhoods may not understand but they still might dig the music. So what I’m saying now is that I just want them to know where we’re from. It’s hard out here. I mean, I actually live down the street from Drexel’s campus but when you cross that street you’re in the mean streets of West Philly. And I’m just trying to show a balance where you can see the fun and the dark side.
CC: Where do you want to see yourself in ten years?
RE: In ten years, I want to see myself as a successful artist, producer and writer. I co-own a company called Vegas Summers that manages artists so I hope to have a few of our artists on established record labels by then. And I’d like to be 4 or 5 albums in the game. Um…In ten years, I hope to travel the world and make sure my family’s fine. My daughter will be 15 so I hope to have her college already paid for. I’ll have all my mom’s bad credit cleaned up lol, all my bad credit cleaned up. And You know, just living life.
“Shoot 4da Starz” is available for FREE download on Datpiff.com
Follow Reda on Twitter @PrettyBoyReda
NOTE: YOU ALL NEED TO DOWNLOAD THIS MIXTAPE FOREAL….IT’S REALLY GOOD. – Concrete_G
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(Posted by Garron Gibbs)