Standing firmly at what he considers his "Quarter Life," San Jose, California rapper/producer Rey Resurreccion is raising the stakes. Coming into his third full-length studio album, Heart Of The City, the artist who uses his given name has never minced his words or hedged his bets. "Culturally, there's a lot expected of me and my siblings," the Filipino-American MC admits. "Coming out here from the Third World, [our relatives are] expecting us to become doctors and lawyers and be traditionally successful." Although Rey pursued his own dreams, he is still fueled by inspiration from his immigrant family. "Their work ethic really gets into my music."
A graffiti writer who works closely with Clout magazine to this day, Rey is connected to the culture at all of its elements. Studying the distinctly West Coast jams of Hieroglyphics and The Pharcyde, as well as E-40 and Tha Luniz, Rey's musical tastes influenced his own dichotomy in San Jose, a city often mistakenly traced as the shadow of San Francisco. "I grew up around a bunch of hip-hop heads, but also a bunch of Cholos, and a bunch of skaters," says Rey, who balances art and street life in his premise. Deeply influenced by late '90s Dr. Dre booming arrangements as well as the deft sampling of Hi-Tek, Rey's music carries on that duality. While he's shared plenty of mics with Hiero, Resurreccion's new single, "Let It Bang" honors Dru Down's 1994 Oakland crossover hit, "Pimp Of The Year." Rey symbolically labels his approach, "Old rust, new bang." He explains, "I try to take my influences and do what they did, in a new, progressive way. I'm moving forward, but still in that lane."
That style has developed over the course of several studio releases. Growing up hustling tapes and CDs outside of concerts, Rey has been a fulltime professional musician for nearly a decade. In 2009, his production income funded Limitless. The dedication prevailed, and Rey became one of San Jose's premiere voices. Studying what fans gravitated most towards in his art, Rey began plugging away at 2010's Sleeping Giants. "It's an homage to my hometown," he says. "We're alive, we're awake, even if we're not making noise like we should be, which applies to rapping community, DJs, the street-wear community, which is all tied together."
While Sleeping Giants served as a wakeup call, Heart Of The City, planned for release later this year, is Rey's most complete, boldest album to date. "With this album, I really wanted to get my sound right. I went with a vibe, and said 'Forget what's going on with everybody else,' and just did me." The album which features Casual, Pep Love, Audible Doctor, and Zion's Zumbi, has deep meaning to the fulltime artist, down to its title. "My studio is in the middle of downtown, eighth floor, corner office. 'Heart' is what I am, and what I'm trying to be to the city."
A hallmark of Heart Of The City is "Quarter Life," a song that ReyRes considers both his most personal and his proudest. Featuring a detailed arrangement from former classmate Noah Luna, a collaborator of both Kanye West and Billy Joel, the revealing autobiographical song features striking vocals, and what exactly Rey is wagering after years of dedication to his passion. "I've been doing this for so long that if I can't make a dope album, then I shouldn't be doing this." The heart is beating strong.