Watch Reef the Lost Cauze play 'IZ Alive' — LIVE! - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

One thing that can be a drag about writing best-of-your-music-scene rundowns like the one we published earlier this week? Records we love invariably and unwittingly get left off. Here at The Key, our first “oh NO, we forgot…” moment in the Best Of Philly wake came when we saw these live home studio videos circulating from veteran Philly rapper Reef the Lost Cauze.

So allow me to state for the record that lists are always subjective, never definitive; that Reef the Lost Cauze IZ ALIVE! is totally one of 2021’s best from the Philly scene; and that if you need further convincing, these videos should do the trick.

Backed as always by DJ Caliph-NOW and performed in the style of Reef’s incredible Livestreams from 2020 — guys, please bring back the Festivus hang, that was so much fun last year and I’m dying to see what Lobsterdamus is up to — the two videos that have been shared to Reef’s YouTube so far are furious and fun.

“OK Corral” finds him strutting to a spaghetti western beat and making references to Archbishop Carroll and The Naked Gun, while the incredible “Batman Returns” is built around a grooving Chromatics sample while Reef pauses on the buildup to reflect on IZ ALIVE as an answer album to his 2011 outing Reef the Lost Cauze Is Dead.

“When we did that record, we let it flow,” he says. “We had a mission, but we wanted to make dope music, and when you have that combination it always comes out fire.”

And so it goes on the new album. Watch the live videos below, keep an eye out for more on Reef’s YouTube, pick up IZ ALIVEon Bandcamp, and read Josh Leidy’s conversation with Reef here.

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