Denver’s Ray Reed is Ready to Jump from Local Artist to Hip-Hop Star

Photo of Ray Reed by Alden Bonecutter.

When you listen to Ray Reed’s music, you can’t help but notice the honesty. His words feel authentic when he’s rapping and the lyrical content is filled with stories of the streets. While he may rap about real life dilemmas like drugs and robberies, it’s not in a glamorizing fashion and Reed makes sure to tell both sides of the story. Fresh off the release of his newest project, Pac-Man, released June 1, we had the chance to sit down with Reed for a chat about the themes behind his latest mixtape, some of his favorite movies and what we can expect from Reed in the future.

Reed has been a rapping for about six years, but only really started taking it seriously around four or five years back. Within that timespan, Reed has come a long way in his hip-hop craft and has managed to put out some high-quality projects. From earlier projects like “Suicide” or last year’s “Uberman,” to his latest project, it’s clear Reed’s sound is on an ascending level of growth. The level of honesty throughout Reed’s career is one of the things helping him amass a solid following of fans and a ton of buzz in the local Denver hip-hop scene. While his sound is definitely trap influenced, there’s a ton of lyrical content and wordplay in there as well. Speaking on his writing style and the use of wordplay and lyricism, Reed definitely has a good head on his shoulders and a valid perspective, “Right now I’m just coasting. I’m making sure I stay relevant and still keeping it honest. Realistically, I want to make real hip-hop music, but I also want to blow up too. I figure if I rap over these beats and the production they want to hear, and still keep it honest, it’s the best of both worlds,” said Reed.  

“I called it Pac-Man because we’re put on this earth to eat. It’s eat or get eaten. And as your eating, you have people who don’t want you to survive. In the arcade game, Pac-Man is running around eating and as soon as he eats enough, he has people following him trying to kill him.” — Reed

As a whole piece of work, Pac-Man is a great listen from start to finish. The production stays banging throughout tracks like “Pac-Man,” “Petty” and “R.O.T.” Reed also displays some great storytelling on “Part 1” and even squeezes in a slower song for the ladies on “Wassup.” One time of listening to Pac-Man is all it takes to clearly see that the years of hard work have finally leveled Reed up to the next part of the game. I can hear the hunger and determination in Reed’s voice — his biggest inspiration being his family. He’s clearly working hard to make a brighter future for all of his loved ones.

We asked Reed about some of his own favorite movies, to which he gladly named Blow and Paid in Full. One of our favorite lines from the track “Weight” in which he says, “We trapping like Boston George/ Or Dereck Foreal.” The line is a reference to the 2001 movie, Blow, starring Johnny Depp. In addition to classic hit films, the project is also chalk full of clever sports references the everyday man can clearly relate to. Reed says sports were a huge aspect of his life and it really was, “Either sports or rapping, I knew I was going to be a star regardless.” 

As the year moves forward Reed is loaded up with some heat and is actually already sitting on some brand new material. He has plans for future collaborations with YFN Lucci and Kodak Black, two talented names in the hip-hop industry who currently have quite a buzz. With talks of releasing a full visual album for an upcoming project that is already finished, and already hard at work on the follow-up to Pac-Man, Denver and the world can expect to see a lot more of the name Reed. “We’re already looking at releasing Pac-Man 2 by the end of this year,” he mentioned. We also got word on Reeds first big headlining show at the Bluebird Theater which will take place on August 17, featuring a special guest performance by AP with DJ KTone, DJ Topshelf and DJ Squizzy Taylor. You can purchase tickets here. At this point, Reed has cashed in all of the quarters of hard work and the high score is finally in reach for the game of hip-hop. Don’t sleep on the talent of Reed and be prepared for a big summer for the emcee. Take a listen to his latest offering below.

All Photography by Alden Bonecutter

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