Lil Rekk is here to prove his place in the rap game once and for all.
Hailing from Philadelphia, the rising star prides himself on creating the realist music possible, spitting nothing but the real in all his lyrics. Raised in a household as the only boy among 10 sisters, Rekk felt the weight of his family on his shoulders… thankfully, music would be his saving grace.
At the young age of 12, Rekk got the word “loyalty” tattooed on his chest — speaking volumes to his character and morals. Exploding onto the scene with his standout single “Manhattan Vibes,” which recently hit 2 million views on Youtube and counting, Rekk showcased his unique voice and sound to the world, as fans couldn’t help but gravitate to the record.
Fast forward to today, Rekk unleashed his critically-acclaimed mixtape titled 1ONE, a 12-track project that chronicles his journey as a rapper, from the trenches to signing to A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s Highbridge The Label. 1ONE also hails an all-star feature from 42 Dugg, as lead singles “Time,” “Ooters,” “So Bipolar,” and “Confetti” continue to make their rounds.
Beyond the music, Rekk is a proud girl dad and has his own weed strain called Rekking Runtz. You can also catch him performing at The Smokers Club Festival in April.
AllHipHop: What was a young Lil Rekk like growing up in Philly?
Lil Rekk: Not gonna lie, I was crazy. I was bad. That’s why I didn’t get to grow up in Philly like the rest of my friends and family for real. I was so bad when I was younger, my mom’s a single mom. It came to a point of time she couldn’t handle me anymore, so she sent me to my dad in Virginia. From there, it just got worse. My mom worked 2 or 3 jobs my whole life, my father too. Nobody kept their eyes on me growing up, I was on the streets all the time.
AllHipHop: And you had 10 sisters?
Lil Rekk: I got 11 sisters on my dad’s side and I got 4 sisters on my dad’s side. My dad outta pocket, he’s crazy. My pops crazy. [laughs]
AllHipHop: How proud are they of you though?
Lil Rekk: My mom’s my best friend forreal, we super close. Me and my father are cool now, but growing up we didn’t have the closest bond. Now, he’s proud of me. I always appreciate him for being hard on me, teaching me everything I know now. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be who I am. He took it overboard though. He’s crazy, he used to do crazy s###. Take my bed away. [laughs] He caught me smoking weed one time and he took my bed away. I took one of his clips and I hid it. When he smokes, he’ll smoke then take scissors to cut the front of it all, but I never knew that. He did it, I smoked it and put it back. He knew somebody was smoking and he took everything out my room. My clothes, my bed, everything.
AllHipHop: What’d you do?
Lil Rekk: I slept on the floor. I was chillin’ though, that was back in the day we were struggling. Now, I bought my pops a bed.
AllHipHop: What were you thinking smoking it, then putting it back?
Lil Rekk: I used to think smoking was cool. I never thought he’d catch me because he’d always be at work. But he did that little thing he did and caught me, it came back around full circle. Ever since then, I’ve been smoking. Since I picked it up and lit it, I’ve been smoking since that day. I was 11 about to turn 12. I had a weedman when I was 12.
AllHipHop: You also tattooed “loyalty” across your chest at 12.
Lil Rekk: Mmhmm, he let me do that, he let me do that. I got it from his tattoo man. [laughs] I didn’t really feel it. I was panicking when I was getting it, ’cause I didn’t know what was going on. But it didn’t hurt, I didn’t really feel it forreal.
AllHipHop: Speaking of Highbridge, how’d you get connected with A Boogie and them?
Lil Rekk: The CEO of Highbridge, QP, he hit me up on Instagram. I was just chillin’ in my hood. He hit me up on the Gram like “yo, we’re tryna holla at you bro. Come pull up on us.” Ever since we were with each other face to face, it’s been locked in. Bro told me “I want to sign you. We believe in you as much as you believe in yourself.” Alright, and I signed to them. Ever since then, it’s been lit. It’s been a movie.
AllHipHop: When did that happen?
Lil Rekk: Almost 2 years, it’s about to be going on 2 years.
AllHipHop: Did other labels hit you up before him?
Lil Rekk: A couple other people, but I knew the people. I don’t like doing business with people I know too too much, because I know what type of time people be on. When somebody knows you forreal, knows everything about you, they play with you a different type of way. The things they’re willing to do might be different than somebody that don’t know you, or y’all starting a new relationship, a new everything. I know you for 15 years or you knew my mom or my pops, and now you think… nah. For sure I’m glad I met my boy.
AllHipHop: You said it’s been up. Craziest moment?
Lil Rekk: I couldn’t tell you, not gonna lie. Everyday’s crazy. It’s not even an everyday thing, it’s a life thing ’cause where I come from is crazy. When you’re from Philly, it’s not too many people doing what I’m doing. And I’m super positive about my whole situation. I don’t ever be trying to fit in with the rest of the crowd, I do my own thing. Stay out the way, keep evolving, keep leveling up. That’s my whole thing.
AllHipHop: What did “Manhattan Vibes” do for your career?
Lil Rekk: That song right there did a lot for me. I didn’t have a lot of music out before that, I only had one video out before that. I only had a couple songs out.
AllHipHop: Did you do that on purpose?
Lil Rekk: Not really, but at the time yeah because I was only taking rapping super serious. I was in the studio so much, I recorded all the time. [snaps] That’s all I was doing, just recording. We met each other, then it was locked in from there. I had the “Manhattan Vibes” song when I came and met them. QP told me it’d be better if I put another verse, so I put another verse on there. We shot the video the same day. The video was crazy, I got the party bus, filled it up. Went around Manhattan, shot the video. I didn’t know at the time, you think all the songs you drop gon’ do numbers. I’m thinking nah, this song gon’ do alright. I’m signed with Highbridge. Everyone’s thinking “oh when he drops a song, it won’t be good.”
Lil Rekk: Yeah, mad people were hating because I was signed to Highbridge now. “Why they sign him and not me?” It was like that. Everybody was anticipating on the song: “when the song come out, it better be hot.” I had the song and it went off. I haven’t found a person yet who doesn’t like it. That’s the one right there.
AllHipHop: Do you have a favorite song at the moment?
Lil Rekk: “So Bipolar,” I just dropped that on my tape called 1ONE.
AllHipHop: I was going to ask what that title meant.
Lil Rekk: Where I’m from, in my hood they call me 1ONE, ’cause I’m the only one who made it out the hood from my section. Everybody just calls me 1ONE. That’s really a thing now, I even got it tattooed on me. As soon as I got the name, I went and got it tattooed on me.
AllHipHop: I see you got your daughter tatted, first child?
Lil Rekk: First child, last child. One and done. [laughs] I want to focus on what I got right now. I don’t want to give myself too many problems, too much stuff to deal with. Having a kid comes with a lot, people don’t understand. It’s a lot of people out here who don’t do nothing for their kids, at all. With me, I’m totally different. My dad, my mom been working their whole life. My daughter, she’s cool. She never gotta worry about nothing, but I don’t want to add another one on then I gotta go 10 times harder. Nah, I’m cool right now.
AllHipHop: At the end of the day, that’s what life is all about! Making sure your kids are good.
Lil Rekk: For sure, take care of my family. The whole family, that’s what we do. Take care of families.
AllHipHop: What were you going through recording “So Bipolar”?
Lil Rekk: I was going through something with my daughter’s mom. One of my mans, he’s going through something with his baby mother. With his girl though, they’re still together. I took our problems and put it into one song. When I first did it, I wrote it for my man. I wrote it for bro. I went back, put and changed some things to make it more relatable to a lot of other people too. On the tape, that’s one of the best songs streaming: “So Bipolar” and the 42 Dugg feature.
AllHipHop: A huge part of this show is mental health, what do you do for self-care?
Lil Rekk: Forreal forreal, I go to the studio and express myself through my music. I talk to my mom a lot about what I be going through, but I never really want to stress my mom out because she’s stressed out about me enough. I’m really heavy studio type bull, I go to the studio. I got certain type of music that’s for the club, but most of my music is emotional for people to relate to and feel me.
AllHipHop: One thing you want fans to take away from 1ONE?
Lil Rekk: I want everybody to understand my story for real. I’m an emotional type of person, I make my music off my emotions. So my first tape was emotional, this tape is more gritty. I show people a different side of me. I want people to know everything I be doing and saying, I really seen and I did. We really living. Even though where we’re at now, it still be hard to stay away from that stuff because we’re so used to it. I want people to know hard work pays off, because I put mad hard work in. I ain’t gon’ lie, I came from the mud for real for real. I never thought I’d be sitting here with Shirley. [laughs] I want them to know everything I do and say is genuine. A lot of people don’t want to be themselves. I’m a always be myself, no matter who’s in the room. That’s me.
AllHipHop: I hear a lot of artists don’t like their biggest songs.
Lil Rekk: “Manhattan Vibes,” I made that song playing around and I was drunk. It was crazy though ’cause when I made this song, I was joking around with my engineer like “I can make a New York type song.” “You can’t make no New York type song. You think you got all the flows, you can do whatever you want on a mic.” I said “bro, look up an A Boogie type beat.” He looked up an A Boogie and J.I. type beat. He pulled it up, it was the first beat. I clicked on it and we got it, we downloaded it and everything. I hopped on it. The first time, I did it straight through but I was humming it. The second time, I started doing it. I used to record straight through, but now I punch in now. My engineer said when I made the song, “this one of them songs bro, you gotta shoot the video to this.” I had the song for 6 months, then I met Highbridge.
AllHipHop: How was that first A Boogie encounter?
Lil Rekk: When I met Boogie, it was regular for real. The first time I really seen bro, we were going to Atlanta on a private jet. He was in his car, he called me over like “you want to go to Atlanta bro?” My first time meeting him and really being around him, chillin’. I said “yeah,” he’s like “come on, we out.” We went to Atlanta and he shot the SAINt JHN “Monica Lewinsky, Election Year” remix.
I was on the private jet, he went Live. [laughs] I was sleeping in the Live. We only went to Atlanta for 2 hours. We flew there, came right back. Everybody goes home after we land, I went home. I woke up in the morning, my phone going off like “you were with Boogie!”
AllHipHop: How much were y’all smoking?
Lil Rekk: [laughs] We weren’t smoking. When we’re on the set though, we’re smoking all day. He had the trailer so we’re in there smoking crazy, but on the plane we weren’t smoking. It gets bad on the plane when you smoke, they be acting funny.
AllHipHop: Talk about launching your own weed strain, Rekking Runtz. That’s lit!
Lil Rekk: Definitely. It’s crazy, me and my folks came up with that in 30 minutes. After I dropped my tape, he was out here for a couple days. I called him like “yo bro, we need to get my own strand. It’s recreational down there so it’s easier, we might as well do it.” He’s like “I’m a call you right back.” He called me right back 30 minutes later with the bag, the gas, all of that. It’s ready to go so as soon as I get home, it’s ready to go.
Soon as he came back, I pulled up on him. He had the Rekking Runtz, I opened it up like “oh yeah that’s Za.” That’s his best selling weed on his menu. He ran out the second day. As soon as I posted it, he got a thing where you gotta be a family friend type thing. Somebody gotta recommend you, but that even made it crazier that it sold out. He was getting it and people was holding it, selling it to other people.
AllHipHop: I gotta try this!
Lil Rekk: Fasho, the Rekking Runtz is from California! I gotta get you some.
AllHipHop: What are you most excited for?
Lil Rekk: I’m about to drop another tape soon. We’re about to put this tour together: New York, Boston CT. We’re in motion right now, we’re working. We’re trying to make the money come. We ain’t trying to sit around and wait for it, we’re in motion with it right now. That’s my main objective right now, my main focus.