If it wasn’t for The Bronx, this rap shit probably never would be going on for 80 Reef. “Growing up in the South Bronx, I sort of grew into it. It was a hobby. I can admit even at a young age, I wasn’t thinking about being a rapper. It turns out I ended up being good at it,” says the confident Bronx native. “I never had someone with a musical background around me. But I’m in the South Bronx. You know how music is. If a place is known what it’s known for, you’re equipped with it. It was always everywhere,” says Reef. Born and raised in hip-hop’s birthplace, 80 Reef is steeped in his borough’s rich tradition while maintaining a forward-looking approach to his music. His name is an homage to the late Diggin’ In The Crates rapper Party Arty aka P-80, who was from his neighborhood, but 80 Reef’s music isn’t a throwback to years past. His music is deeply personal and substantive; inspired by the people of his community and the obstacles they had to overcome together. Just three years ago, a sweep of federal indictments in his neighborhood lead to several close friends and family ending up in prison, which changed Reef’s aspect of life. “The drugs, the violence, the gangs. We don’t even know we’re being monitored. […] All the shit we was doing that we thought we was getting away with, it’s catching up with us,” says Reef. Channeling his pain into his music was how 80 Reef survived. In addition to pain, 80 Reef is also inspired by greatness. He cites Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill, and Nipsey Hussle as three of his most prominent influences. Jay for his trademark wit, Lauryn Hill for her soulfulness and relatability, and Nipsey Hussle for his indefatigable grind. Regarding the willingness to hustle, 80 Reef is a one-man army. Reef is clearly not afraid of hard work, and expresses himself via his video production, art, and apparel in addition to his music, but for him “music is the driving force. Things don’t move unless you move with the music.” Reef’s efforts are beginning to pay off, he’s booking more shows with bigger crowds in 2018 than he did last year, but he still remains fiercely loyal and connected to his community. The aforementioned criminal indictments, whose goal was ostensibly make the neighborhood safer, also had the effect of removing people from the community without adding anything positive in its place. Reef wanted to change that. He helped recently to reestablish a popular basketball tournament that hadn’t happened in 10 years. Again, he was a jack-of-all-trades working as an organizer, coach, scorekeeper and even sometimes referee. The tournament was a great success, with more than 150 kids participating. For 80 Reef it’s more than just talk and it’s more than music. Besides being a charismatic and clever rapper and a multi talented visual artist, 80 Reef is a native of the South Bronx. “The best thing in life is to give back. That’s what i want my legacy to be about. Something that’s everlasting because of something I or my team has done,” says Reef.