There are people you interview and then there are people you love to interview, and Skylar Reed belongs to that second group. The Omaha emcee, who goes by Scky Rei (“sky ree”), is one half of the rapper/producer duo Both, also featuring producer Nate Asad or INFNTLP (“infinite loop”). You meet him and you’re instant friends, and if I could describe him using four adjectives, they would be funny, warm, eccentric, and gifted. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Scky Rei is his mind. Have a conversation with him and the depths of his imagination will start to reveal itself in interesting asides and the “what if” scenarios he creates. That type of personality can only produce one type of music: awesome. And he makes it.
Check out the interview Scky Rei below and make sure to download all the awesome for yourself for free.
Say Hey There: If you could sum up your Wikipedia bio, what would it say?
Reed: Weak ass rappers…Little thug McNuggets. But if you want a serious answer, American artist. Scky Rei and INFNTLP collaborate together to create a weird group from the cornfields called Both. Started off doing weak ass shows and great shows and J Dilla tributes.
Scky Rei and INFNTLP collaborate together to create a weird group from the cornfields called Both.
My childhood was pretty average for a Northside kid. Gangs and shit. I was a Crip. I still got plenty of hood friends. Nothing’s changed, I’m just not on that, I’m on something bigger and better. If you saw Nate, you would think he was the hood dude, and if you saw me, you’d think I went to Westside or some shit (laughs). Nah.
I grew up with my mom. My dad has an influence in my life. He was there but he wasn’t, because you know my parents weren’t together so it was like every so often I’d see my pop. I remember when I was five I saw him go into the studio. At the time I didn’t know what the hell we were doing. I didn’t put two and two together until recently, but I’ve been in the studio since I was about five. I had that relationship with my dad where I just saw him work, and I think that influenced me to what I’m doing now.
My mom was a single mother and we stayed with my grandmother for a long time, until I was about 13 and we moved to this place called Cherry Hills. I met a lot of cool ass drug dealers and crackheads, and this was on 108th and Military. I thought we were movin’ on up, but we were just movin’ on up to a different type of project. I grew up off 30th and Ames. I heard a lot of gunshots. I thought they were firecrackers. That’s a typical Northside kid story. You either grew up around it or grew in it.
I met a lot of cool ass drug dealers and crackheads, and this was on 108th and Military. I thought we were movin’ on up, but we were just movin’ on up to a different type of project.
Say Hey There: What’s interesting to me is your interest in the Golden Age of hip hop and throwbacks to a classic time in hip hop history. You guys are fairly young, what got you into exploring those sounds?
Reed: I was blessed with my cousin who pushed me to be a hip hop artist right before he left when I was 13. Like I said, my dad wasn’t always there, so I had plenty of mentors. I was a YMCA troubled youth kid, on house arrest, probation and shit. But the main factor was that he bestowed a lot of stuff on me, I would ride around with him and we would just freestyle. He would teach me life lessons without letting me know it was life lessons, when I thought we were just hanging out. He’s the reason why I’m a better artist. Before I used to rap about shit I’d see, which I still do, but I was talking about it as if I was doing it, like going to go kill some people and using an AK-47. Granted these were resources that I could touch, but it’s not something I was doing at fucking 13 years old.
Without him I wouldn’t have researched people like OutKast, A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip, Public Enemy. It made me go listen to Rakim and so much cool ass old school hip hop that influenced me to incorporate what they had going on with my stuff and they also helped me find my sound.
It made me go listen to Rakim and so much cool ass old school hip hop that influenced me to incorporate what they had going on with my stuff and they also helped me find my sound.
Reed: We hooked up through my brother from another, Brandon Taylor, who went to Benson High. Nate is his cousin. When he introduced us he said, “Ya’ll are both weird, you both like the same shit, you both like J Dilla, ya’ll both this, this, and this.” At the time I already had my own name and my own little niche as Scky Rei. I did the J Dilla tribute and gained some fans through that, and I had my name in a publication — not a picture, but name was in The Reader or something. And I was like yo, I’m doing it by my damn self. And then I heard Nate’s beats and I was like yo this cat is crazy.
The thing about me and Nate, is that Nate produces what I’m hearing in my mind. And what I say is what he wants to say with his mouth. We are synced mentally somehow.
The thing about me and Nate, is that Nate produces what I’m hearing in my mind. And what I say is what he wants to say with his mouth.
Say Hey There: Do you have any projects you’re working on? You dropped an album back in April, are you working on any new music?
Reed: We’ve been recording and working on an EP and an album. The EP is called Both Sucks for obvious reasons, just because we fucking suck. The album is Off-centered. In Nate’s words, Both Sucks is an appetizer to the album. The album’s concept has to deal with everyday life shit. Me and Nate psychologically are kind of off in the head from the way that we grew up. I’m a weird mother fucker in general, and Nate’s just as weird as me and had his own ways of growing up. Going to North (High), not too many people were kind to my brother. He has a great group of friends, but in general people weren’t always kind. There are just things you can relate to in the album. Everything that we make is “feeling” music; previous experiences that the majority of people can relate to or understand what we’re talking about.
Everything that we make is “feeling” music; previous experiences that the majority of people can relate to or understand what we’re talking about.
Say Hey There: Why do you love hip hop?
Reed: I love hip hop because it teaches me life lessons. Hip hop is a culture, it’s a lifestyle. It’s the guidelines of living: it gives you a sense of purpose and identity and family. I love hip hop because it teaches me how to love in different ways and appreciate different things in different ways. Loving hip hop has catapulted me into great things I didn’t even know existed. I love hip hop because it feels right to love it. It’s molded me into this person that I’m happy to be. Hip hop is such a universal thing and connects so many people that you don’t even see color. I love hip hop because it brings people together.
Loving hip hop has catapulted me into great things I didn’t even know existed. I love hip hop because it feels right to love it. It’s molded me into this person that I’m happy to be.
There you have it, fam. Check out everything Scky Rei below, including free downloads.