Ralek has been training Jiu Jitsu since he popped out of the womb. Love him or hate him, he's pretty amazing at Jiu Jitsu, and not all that bad at MMA. Now, Ralek (HAA-LEK) has come under quite a bit of scrutiny since the surprise release of his debut hip hop album in 2011. It left a lot "WTFs" and head shaking. So, what's the deal with this? Is it just another case of someone using their popularity or power to sell something? Well, grapplers, lets take a closer look (as soon as I finish my Gracie smoothie.)
For those of you that are Hip Hip fans (true hip hop fans, not those that think Drake is the best rapper alive) you'll be familiar with the Dialated Peoples. The trio has pretty much stayed underground since there debut in 1992. Despite that, they have garnered a large worldwide fan base, hit the Billboard top 200 several times, and have been featured on several video game soundtracks. The groups MC, Rakaa Iriscience, has been training at the Gracie Academy for almost a decade and has a close relationship with the Gracies and Ralek himself.
Ah, now there's the connection. Despite those facts, some of you may still think all of this is kinda weird or could just be a ploy to sell some Ralek albums...
Check this out - the brothers Gracie rocking out on a rooftop with the Dialated Peoples in their 2006 video "Back Again." You can also check out this Okayplayer interview of Raaka training with Ralek from 2008, and our post from just over a year ago when we broke the news of Ralek jumping on stage at a concert and spittin some rhymes. As you can see, this is pretty legit and not as out-of-the-blue as it first seemed. I wouldn't go as far as saying Ralek is an amazing rapper or artist, but I give him credit for following a passion and fulfilling it. He's really not all that bad and clearly has some great mentors to learn from. I'm sure everyone reading this can just as easily turn on the radio and hear mainstream hip hop that's far worse than anything Ralek could put out. He probably isn't quitting his day job for hip hop, but just like most of us, he has hobbies and passions in addition to martial arts - so, who are we to knock that?
And before we get to our exclusive, here is another amazing musical tidbit that shows 6 Degrees of Jiu Jitsu Separation. Take a look at this Eddie Bravo music video featuring his band, Rakaa Iriscience, Arianni Celeste and Coach Alder on the turntables. I know, I know, mindbottling isn't it?
So anyway, our buddy, Adisa Banjoko, otherwise know as the Sheik of the Iron Hook and Founder of the Hip Hop Chess Federation, has a candid interview with cross-over rapper Ralek Gracie. This interview is definitely insightful and you get to learn a lot about Ralek's passion for music and hip hop. I was thrown off a bit with Ralek's blue belt and A6 kimono, but, despite the distractions, Adisa delivers a great two-part interview that Jiu Jitsu heads can appreciate just as much as Hip Hop fanatics.