Reviewed by Felix Mpunga

Rei: A Place To Stand

Reviewed by Felix Mpunga

Rei: A Place To Stand

Callum McDougall is the Auckland rapper, producer and singer/songwriter who goes by the stage name of Rei

His sophomore album ‘A Place To Stand’ screams longevity and legacy. The album artwork by Hana Botha shows a portrait of Rei in a museum as a piece of art within a gold frame – a clear and accurate reference to the music itself being a well-crafted piece of art.

Mixed and mastered by Chris Chetland the album stands out as sonically impeccable. For two years Rei put his blood, sweat and tears into ‘A Place To Stand’ and as a result the album quickly peaked at number 1 on the iTunes Hip Hop chart.

Rei enlists Amber Maya on These Hands a song that debunks subservient attitudes with lines such as, ‘these hands weren’t made for wiping tables’. Rapper Lij drops in for a cameo on Up2, a track about people who jump on the bandwagon of success but never showed support from the beginning.

‘A Place To Stand’ shows Rei’s versatility and diversity through rapping, production, to playing acoustic guitar and singing. The album is a carefully balanced audio palette of high energy tracks like Hāti, Deep or The Chief’s Speech, and on the other spectrum songs like Out Dancing, See Bro – Interlude and Mix slowing things down and lyrically introspective.

Mix is raw, honest, driven by an acoustic guitar, Rei’s bright voice singing in conviction and self-belief.

The album’s subject matter is conflict with societal norms – a story that rings true to young people trying to find their place in the world. The message is simple, go against the grain despite all odds. Rei touches on cultural heritage, lust, love, money, career paths and ultimately he lands at a place where he no longer needs approval – ‘A Place To Stand’.

Spanning hip hop, trap, electronica through to acoustic, garage and dance music, this immaculate conceptual sophomore album impressively remains cohesive from start to finish. Keep your eyes on Rei, the chief is here!

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