Reek Osama: «I want the world to hear my story and be the first Brazilian rapper in America»

Reek Osama an Mc from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but raised in New Jersey, United States, where his family migrated in search of a better life, in this exclusive interview for ThrowUp Magazine, told us about the deep ties with his origins, the harsh and desperate living conditions of the favelas, worse than any bad area in America, how important Rap is to his life, his latest albums, how he is making a name for himself in the American underground, the collaborations with Conway, Estee Nack, Snotty, Chubs and more.

Essential Projects
  • Prohibition
  • Return of Dadinho
  • Reek Havoc

Peace brother. Thank you for agreeing to answer some questions for our platform and readers! We appreciate it! Lately you’ve been making a name for yourself among the underground scene thanks to your consistency and the quality of your projects and collaborations. You look really hungry right now! How are you feeling and what motivates you?

I’m glad people are really starting to finally see what I’m doing here with my music and what I’m trying to do for my people. 

One of the first things that caught our attention about you it’s your Brazilian origins and your personal story: you are from Rio de Janeiro but you’re currently living in Long Branch, New Jersey (USA) and from your lyrics it seems like you still have a solid bond with your hometown and your hood. Can you tell us about your personal story in more detail? Where did you grow up and how was living up there ? When and why did you or your family decide to move to the United States? 

I’m from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil but I’ve been in the USA since a baby. My family moved us to NJ for a chance at a better life. 

My hometown is Long Branch, NJ but I also grew up in Neptune/Asbury Park, NJ. Where i grew up is very different then many other cities and it’s no where in NJ that’s like it. We’re dead smack in the middle of the state so we get influences from NYC as well as Philly but we’re more NYC influenced. 

I grew up about 25-30 minutes outside of the NYC borough of Staten Island, 50 minutes from Brooklyn, and about a hour from Manhattan. I’m from Monmouth County and the side of Monmouth County that I’m from is nothing like the rest of the county. My county has money until you come to the cities that raised me (Long Branch, Neptune, Asbury Park). Neptune and Asbury Park is basically one city, you can be on one side of the street and be in Neptune, then literally cross the street and it’s Asbury Park. Long Branch is 10 minutes away from Neptune/Asbury so it’s pretty much like just one big city, everyone knows each other and share the same politics and hardships that we face living in a wealthy county and us being at the bottom, it’s hard to make it out. These are small cities that not many people know outside of NJ but we’re on the top most dangerous list every year, it’s a tough place to grow up depending on what path you choose in life, just like any other hood.

I have a strong bond with my hood because I’ve never lived anywhere in the USA for a substantial amount of time other then where I’m from, and I’m still here today in Asbury Park, NJ. It wasn’t easy growing up out here, but I love where I’m from, I love our culture, we’re like one big family but every family has problems, and when it’s bad, it gets real bad, but I wouldn’t change it for the world, my hood made me who I am, when going to bigger cities it’s like they think my city isn’t the same as a city like Newark, Camden, etc etc. but we’re exactly the same, and once you visit, you’ll realize that as well. 

Rio is known for its beaches, the joyful lifestyle, the carnival etc. but also for the tough life and the hars gang violence in the streets of its favelas…Often in your lyrics you refer to these topics and to the street life of those places but you also experienced the United States streets as well… In your opinion, what are the main differences in the way of living and conceiving the “streets” between these two worlds?

The hood I grew up in the USA has no comparison to where I’m originally from in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Any hood in general in America I don’t care where it is, Chicago, LA, St Louis, you name it… there is no comparison, people in Rio would literally kill to switch lives with a person who lives in the most dangerous projects in America. 

In Brazil there isn’t any help, there is no state funding, there is no low income housing or help from the government. The government is corrupt, it’s a war with the government against civilians. My entire family is still there in Rio de Janeiro and also in the state of Bahia, some live in better environments then others but overall everyone still lives in the “Favelas” of Rio de Janeiro. “City Of God” the movie, if you haven’t watched it, watch it. That’s where I’m from, that’s where my family is. Rio de Janeiro is like a paradise to a tourist, but the violence and poverty is like no other.

Take the most dangerous city in the entire United States and compare it to one of the not as dangerous areas of Rio de Janeiro, and it’s still no comparison. In Brazil, there’s no middle ground when it comes to money, its either your rich, or your dirt poor. Most people are dirt poor, and have no voice. 

The “Favelas” aren’t even legal, they aren’t even actually part of the city. A Favela is a man built neighborhood on the Morros (mountains) that surround the city. Every favela is on a hill, poor people back in the days built these favelas by hand and lived on the hills, there isn’t any police stations in there, it’s no law pretty much, it’s like the movie “The Purge”, it’s a lawless place. The cops don’t even come up there, and when they do, it isn’t to arrest anyone, it’s to kill. The police are a gang themselves, the Militias (gangs) as we call it are not only at war with other Militias, but also with the cops. 

At night time, the police drive around the streets and kill young children who are simply homeless and just sleeping to clean up the city. It’s ridiculous and almost unbelievable, outside of Rio de Janeiro just like you stated people just think of the beach. You walk a block away from that beach and your life is in danger, tourists get treated well though, we love tourists and we don’t harm them, we want you to spend money with us. A tourist can enter into a Favela before another Brazilian could. 

It’s a beautiful culture and alot of love, but the poverty is so bad that kids growing up literally have no choice but to commit crimes to eat, 10 year olds are seen walking around with AK-47s and it’s the norm.

How and when did you get into Hip-Hop culture? and when did you decide to start rapping and making music seriously? Who were your first inspirations?

I’ve always loved music, since the age of 3, I grew up listening to music 24/7 just as I do today, I grew up on “Samba” it’s a Brazilian type of music and I also loved Michael Jackson. At the age of 4 where I barely even spoke English that well a cousin of mine introduced me to hip-hop. He had 3 tapes at the time, “Harlem World” by Mase, he had a digital underground album and a Bone Thugs N Harmony album. I don’t remember which albums it was, but I’ve fell in love with Hip-Hop ever since. 

In the late 90s i got my first hip-hop tape to listen to in my Walkman, and that was and still is to this day my favorite album of all time… Mobb Deep – Hell On Earth. I was only 5 years old, ever since then I would go to a record store called “the wiz” and pretty much just would have my father buy me any rap albums I came across, not even knowing who the rapper is or ever even listening to the songs. Once I heard Mobb Deep is when I truly fell in love and found what I was looking for. I went back and even bought prior older albums of them that they dropped before I was even born like the “Juvenile Hell” album. 

Prodigy is my favorite rapper of all time, and I’m very honored to have a song with him, it’s a remix of “Rodney Little” by ConwayProdigy. My DJ at the time in 2016 (Dj Diggz  R.I.P) introduced me to Conway and wanted me to just hop on the song because me and Conway had similiar styles, I have never heard of Griselda before this day, I’ve always rapped the way I rap today.

So when I heard it I was excited to hear somebody else who raps like me because in 2016 during the SoundCloud era hip-hop was going in a very different direction and me being the age I am it was hard to rap how I rap, people my age were getting into the “drill” and “auto tune” music, which I like as well, but it just isn’t me. 

Long story short, DJ Diggz looped the beat after Prodigy’s verse and told me to just hop on it and he’ll send it to Conway. Of course with Prodigy being on there I did it. DJ Diggz sent it to Conway and he said it was fire, I went to Prison shortly after that, fast forward 5 years later when I came home Conway allowed me to upload the song on all digital platforms, for that I will always be grateful and appreciative for the love Conway showed me. It’s not many rappers like him in this game, most of these guys are weird or chasing a dollar and forget where they came from. Besides Mobb Deep, my inspirations were always the rappers from Queens for the most part. Nas and Capone-N-Noreaga have some of my favorite albums of all time. I’m also very influenced by Philly rappers. Ar-Ab, the whole State Property but more particularly Beanie Siegel and Freeway. Cassidy is also a big influence of mine, and being Latino I’ve always loved Big Pun as well, you can hear that influence in the way I do my rhyme schemes. 

It looks like you have increasingly intensified your music production in the last two/three years: You had a lot of projects and collaborations…What pushed and motivated you to put more effort in your Rap career? What projects do you think best define it at the moment and “put you on the map” of the American underground scene?

Yes, luckily for me I have a lot of great producers behind me. I don’t work much with artists, I work more with Producers. Most of my albums have had no features until my most recent projects. 

What pushed and motivated me is the fact that this is all I got, what you hear in my music is literally my life, my everyday life. I’m not rapping in past tense I may be speaking on past situations at times but overall, this is still my life to this day. 

Rap is all I know and all I’ve ever had in life. Rap music gets me through everything, hard times, good times, etc etc. I have no skill or trade in anything, I didn’t finish highschool. All I ever cared for besides music was fashion. I’m not getting any younger, I recently had a daughter and I’ve been home from prison goin on 3 years and this is when I started really taking my music serious. I’m a local celebrity in my hood, when I was younger I was dumb and content with that, not realizing it really means nothing.

I want the world to hear my story, I want to be the first rapper in America to be Brazilian and really show the truth of life in Brazil, and also not just that, I also want to shed light on the truth of my hood here in NJ. 

Where I’m from here in NJ, we also have a beach and get alot of tourists, and just like in Brazil… you go visit the beach in Asbury Park, NJ and you walk a few blocks away from that beach, and your in a whole other world, literally. Same as in Long Branch, we have a beach here as well.. “pier village” is a very popular tourist attraction now a days in Long Branch, and once again… you walk a few blocks up and your on the most dangerous street in Long Branch where all the public housing projects are at.

My motivation comes from being from areas that are misperceived by the public eye about the real city and what actually goes on out here outside of the beaches and bars. I want the truth to be told about the ones like me who don’t even go to the beach and get treated as out siders in our own city. 

The projects that I would say put me on the map are “Return Of Dadinho” fully produced by Circa 97. “Reek Havoc” fully produced by Machacha, and then my first project after taking a year hiatus “Prohibition” fully produced by Kheyzine, ever since I dropped that project is when things started to really take off for me, Alhamdulillah. 

Prohibition had no features, I was still doing everything alone, when I started to work on Return Of Dadinho I started to change my view on things and realized I have to start to network with other artists as well, and that’s when the collaborations with other artists like my brother Chubs, and Snotty started to happen. Working with artists who I relate to and we have common sounds really gave me a push as well. Working with Estee Nack was a huge honor to me, and also gave me a good push in the underground scene as well, we have similiar stories and work with a lot of the same producers, so it kind of just fell into place and I feel it was inevitably going to happen anyway.

I got mad respect for Nack, that’s another one of the realest in this game, there isn’t many like him..  and I relate to people like that, because I’m genuine and I can see through people, I oyoutunly work with artists that I relate to and I know they actually live or lived what they’re rapping about.

We especially loved your latest projects with Machacha from Denmark (“Reek Havoc”) and Circa 97 (“The Return of Dadinho”). Can you tell us how these two albums were born, the meaning of their titles and your relationship with rappers like Estee Nack, Snotty and Chubs that featured on these projects?

Haha, I kind of answered those questions in the last question with out knowing this question was coming next, I guess I felt that it was coming so I just started speaking on it naturally, haha. Return Of Dadinho simply came together with me hearing a song produced by Circa 97, I’ve been looking for a certain sound in my beats that I just couldn’t find no where, I have no idea on how to make beats, that’s one thing I just never learned to do or maybe because I’m just so much of a rapper I never really took the time to really try to learn, I rather pitch my ideas to a beat maker and let him bring it to life.

Return of Dadinho album is where I would say I found my “sound”. I always knew exactly what I wanted my music to sound like, but not being able to make the beats it was hard to bring it to life, until I came across Circa 97, and once we linked up it just worked perfectly… 

I refer to us as the new Conway & Darringer, Shaq & Kobe, Jordan & Pippen, etc etc. He knows exactly what I’m looking for, and I deliver the exact sound he’s looking for on his beats. Return of Dadinho simply came together with me contacting him on Instagram to work together and first it was supposed to be a short EP but we had so much fun putting the album together that it ended up being an LP. The meaning behind return of dadinho is based off of my story, my image… Brazil…. City of god. 

My first solo EP is called City Of God and I have a song called “Ze Pequeno” or “Lil Ze” in English who is a character but a real life person from where I’m from in Rio de Janeiro. “Dadinho” was Lil Ze before he came Lil Ze. Dadinho was his name as a kid and was when he began running the streets and committing his first robberies and homicides, so I wanted to keep my theme and do something different with it. Snotty & Chubs and the other features on that album were chosen by me and Circa 97. We both exec produced that album and we picked artists we felt would fit the vibe of the album and it just worked out perfectly from chubs, to snotty, to G fam Black, and my artist & fellow skumbag Daytona Chavez. 

The “Reek Havoc” LP simply came about with Machacha hearing my music and wanting to work, I’ve heard machacha various times prior so of course it was an honor to work with him and I jumped on it. He sent me a folder with about 40 beats and told me to pick 5-7, I picked a few more and he allowed me to. I fully executive produced that album, once again that album is called Reek Havoc but it’s still also has the “City Of God” theme. The intro and outro are scenes from the city of god movie with productions by Machacha in the backround. Ever since Return of Dadinho people started to notice me being of Brazilian descent and a lot of people were telling me I should rap in my language. In Brazil we speak Portuguese, but our dialect sounds very different then Portugal. It’s like comparing American English from someone from the south, to English from England. Same language but very very different dialect. The way we speak especially in Rio de Janeiro is very similar to Spanish and the way they speak in countries like Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. I decided to take this album in that direction, and for the first time I incorporated my language in my verses and even had a artist and friend of mine from Rio named Ca$hline feature on a song, he doesn’t speak English what so ever. I kept the whole “Latino” theme and everyone featured is of some sort of Latino descent. Estee Nack, Tre Eiht, Shottie are all Latinos as well so it worked out perfectly. 

I got my bro Starz Coleman on there as well, we got a lot in common and that’s my bro so I wanted him on there as well even though he isn’t Latino the song still fit the theme. “Reek Havoc” which means chaos, every song is named after something along those lines, so everything fell into place perfectly especially with Machacha’s production. Machacha also fully produced mixed & mastered the album. I have a very close relationship with Chubs and me and Estee Nack are locked in as well, you will hear alot more of us together. Snotty is my bro as well, I knew people would like to hear us together and a lot of fans have been requesting it, so you’ll hear more of us soon as well.

What is your connection with the Hip-Hop scene in Rio De Janeiro and how is it? have you had or do you also have some connection with the world of graffiti?

I’m just now recently getting connected with the hip-hop scene in Rio de Janeiro. 

I didn’t know there were “boom bap” rappers out there. The music played in the favelas or any hood in Brazil is usually the Brazilian “funk” music. Which is kind of like the “reggaeton” music from Puerto Rico. Brazilian funk is the music from the Favelas, it’s similiar to hip-hop mixed with like club/house music like EDM

I was introduced to the boom bap scene recently though and it’s getting very big out there in Brazil, as well as Argentina and Chile. Pretty much the whole South America over-all. 

I have a huge connection with Graffiti, I love graffiti, as a kid I used to do graffiti myself, I used to tag “Mesk” and I would do throw ups a lot. 

I’ve never done a piece on a wall before but as a kid my sketch book was filled with pieces, I always loved graffiti, I would walk around my city alone alot just to go looking at tags and throw ups and pieces around the city. I haven’t done graffiti since middle school, but I still love it. 

I was more of a marker guy though, I liked using the big fat tipped markers for tagging. It was hard for me to get spray paint as a kid besides like the shitty spray paint you can get at like Home Depot and stuff, but I didn’t know where to get the krylon cans and different tips for the spray can. I still would love to go out tagging some day for old times sake.

You look really focused and hungry to take your space in the music industry… What are your ambitions for next year and the next projects in the pipeline? Can you tell us something more about them?

 I’ve never been more hungry and focused than I am right now. I have a project dropping every month of 2024 for the most part. Whether a short EP, few singles, or a LP, every month there will be new music from Reek Osama. I lacked in videos, now a days people really wanna see who they’re listening to, so I’ve been trying to focus on that a lot more. I dropped 7 videos from the end of November until mid February my last most recent videos being “Jim Henson” “Burly Skumbag” with chubs and my most recent “Mass Destruction” with Estee Nack. I’m rolling out videos off every project I have out and every project that is still soon to drop, so expect many more projects and videos through out this year and shows as well.



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