South Carolina native Keem Reed – AKA G Check – takes a different approach with his music and people are noticing.
“The different vibe I’m giving, they’re not getting the normal stuff on urban life, the hood, being derogatory towards females,” Reed says. “People like the lyrical composition and they’re surprised I’m taking a different approach.”
“I look at everything form an abstract point of view,” he says. “The music you hear right now is not the sound you’ll hear from my next album or the album after that. I’m not just giving you what I want you to hear, I’m going to give you what you want to hear, how I want to tell you.”
Reed’s music career has in many ways been shaped by personal tragedies and his fourth full-length album, H.A.R.D., is no exception. The project was released in August, just months after his son was stillborn. That tragic loss spurred Reed to make music with a purpose, and an image of his son appears on the album cover.
“Every studio session I had, his mom was there pregnant with him,” he says. “It was a motivational thing, the process of him coming. That’s when we lost him and it became like my signal to try and do something for him and make sure he’s always remembered because he won’t have that breath of life so I want to make sure he’s in someone else’s breath. There had to be more to life than just doing the music, the music had to have a purpose to it.”
“Fake Friends” and “Flowers” are two standout singles from the album, which offers a message of hope in the midst of heartache. The whole project showcases Reed’s combination of freelancing and traditional pattern rap, and everything has a message behind it.
He learned much of the craft from from his deceased friend Michael Maxwell.
“Without him I wouldn’t be rapping,” Reed says. “I was one of those kids at school that used to watch them during lunch rapping to each other. Max came to me one day in class and said write a rap. He gave me a bunch of words to rhyme with, I rapped it out loud and fell in love with rap right then. That was in high school.”
In college his friend introduced him to the studio, and Reed says the competitive nature between the two pushed him further.
“He was the first person to introduce me to this thing he called pattern rapping,” he says. “I’m still using that formula. He showed me how to put small messages in big ways, the metaphoric side. He gave me the arts and crafts to rapping.”
Reed’s other motivation is his brother, Michael, who has cerebral palsy and wasn’t supposed to live past the age of 11. He’s now 31.
“He’s got pumps in his stomach, can’t eat food, but if you saw him you’d think every day he had is better than the richest man on the planet,” Reed says. “I’ve never seen him complain about his situation. He motivates me in a way to think if he can live in a bed every day and not complain and make the best of his life, how many things can I accomplish if I don’t worry about what I don’t have?”
Reed has previously released March Madness: Vol.1 Pre-Game in 2021 and The Check-Up in 2019, in addition to Music Therapy, Vol. 1. He’s currently working on his next album, tentatively titled M.O.M. (Me on Me), as well as visuals for H.A.R.D.
“I’m a third eye guy,” he says
“My third eye is going to push me through a lot of levels that could hinder some people from being competitive on the grand scale of music.