Seasoned, but Always Learning: An Interview with First Klass Regg
The 2002 movie, Brown Sugar, asked one of the greatest questions in film history. “When did you fall in love with hip-hop?” It’s a question that everyone, who loves the genre, can answer. One person who remembers that moment vividly is none other than First Klass Regg. The founder of the digital media platform, First Klass Breakfast, remembers his introduction to hip-hop being different from most people. MC Hammer was one of the biggest forces in music at the time and one of the reasons why the genre crossover to pop. Although it was criticized at the time because of the music not being labeled as “real hip-hop,” it became a formula for rappers to use if they wanted to achieve global success. At that point, multiple artists had found ways to reach massive heights in hip-hop and it was unfolding in front of our eyes including Reggie’s. What started as a Blogspot became First Klass Regg’s digital media conglomerate. First Klass Breakfast grew from being an album review site to being a platform filled with videos, podcasts, writeups, and much more.
As the brand began to grow, he started bringing in more of his talented friends into the fold. People such as Taurian B., FunnyJulius, Robbie Digital, Elie P., and many others helped the brand become what it is today Everybody was eating and getting full from the servings they were given in the morning. Although First Klass Regg has been doing this for a while, he always finds room to grow. He’s never afraid to take a risk and he’s willing to stand by the side of his friends/creative peers to transform the platform into an empire. I talk to First Klass Regg about his introduction to hip-hop, why he created First Klass Breakfast, a moment he had with Swizz Beatz, and much more.
When did your love for Hip-Hop start?
I fell in love with Hip-Hop in 1992. It’s funny because my introduction is very different from a lot of people. My introduction was MC Hammer and he was playing in my house. It was very “safe” hip-hop, but it was fun. He kind of gave me the prelude of what hip-hop can become as far as success. He had these fun records and he had the entrepreneurial side to him too because he had a cartoon, doll, and all this other shit that when you fast forward to 2021, hip-hop is full of entrepreneurs. It had an impact on me because Hammer Don’t Hurt ’Em was one of those albums that I can play in the house without my parents saying, “What is that?” Afterward, my mind got corrupted later and I started listening to real shit, but that was down the line.
Let’s talk about First Klass Breakfast. How did that come about and why do you believe it was important to have at the time?
Back in 2013, I started First Klass Breakfast as a Tumblr, and even before that, I had a Blogspot. So I had First Klass Breakfast on Blogspot with three of my good homies: Phresh, Crybaby, and Swiss. I basically would share the things that we were doing coming around. We would just document shit and I was the one to write everything down. I came up with the name because Breakfast Club was a prominent dance crew in New York. First Klass came from another thing that I had with a friend named Arneece because everyone had crews at the time. Then, I met my three friends down the line and decided to put both names together. Afterward, I started using Blogspot to write about fashion, music, etc and I stopped eventually. Then, in 2013, I wanted to start doing it again because I like writing. So I started writing album reviews on Tumblr and it was picking up traction. People were hitting me up saying that they liked my reviews. So my boy, Matt, hit me up and said, “Yo, you need a website.” He was one of Taurian’s good friends and he helped me set it up.
The site started picking up and it became a lot for me to do. That’s when Taurian stepped in and became a big help. He’s one of my best friends. We met at Levi’s back in 2010. He helped me get a lot of things moving off the ground and he knows so many people. He came into the fold just when I knew what I wanted to do with FKB.and I asked him to help me run it. From there, we branched out and made it its own media hub. So we have all these friends that share these common interests with us and it’s all hip-hop-based. We have all different kinds of content that drop every day of the week such as our daily Poptart videos, Rap and Order podcast, Free Lunch playlists, and Late Breakfast discussions. So it just grew into something more structured because every day has something attached to it.
Is there a defining moment for you when it comes to First Klass Breakfast?
Yes. During the pandemic that we’re still in, we were going stir crazy because we still needed to make content. So we started doing Zooms and we had some of our best content throughout that. People were at home so they were more in tune with what we were doing. We had one episode of Late Breakfast specifically where we were talking about Swizz Beats talking with Busta Rhymes. In his rant, he was talking to Busta about a J. Dilla beat that he had with Drake or something. I don’t remember the exact thing, but I remember him calling Drake a “p–.” So we have an episode about it and one of our friends LA, who is a die-hard Drake fan, said, “Why would he call Drake that?!” Then I said, “Well, we don’t really know these people. What if Drake is p–?” Don’t get me wrong, we like Drake, but it doesn’t mean he can’t be that p– behind the scenes. We don’t know what perspective Swizz Beats is talking from. Since Taurian edits all of our videos, that became the clip that we used.
When we put it up, Swizz dm’d us and he was laughing. So I spoke to him a little bit and he was explaining how he and Drake were good. Also, I ended up asking him that day if he wanted to come on Rap and Order to break down DMX’s album Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood since he produced the bulk of the album. He agreed to do it, pulled up, and came in the Zoom meeting blasting the album. On the opposite end of that, when we were talking about it on the chat, our boy Danny told us he had a relationship with Johnathan Mannion. So he thought it would be dope to invite Johnathan because he did the photography for the album. Eventually, he pulled up, gave us extensive knowledge on it, and had all these facts about that day. He was telling us about how he pitched the idea to DMX about getting in the tub with the blood and everything. DMX was filming a movie at the time so he was really tired and Johnathan was telling him about his vision for the album cover to the point where he was willing to give X his pants. So he took off his pants and told X to wear these. Also, he was showing us stills from the cover that never dropped from that day and that Swizz hadn’t seen either. He was in awe just like us. It was good because I feel like both of them learned throughout that interview.
If I’m not mistaken, this was before DMX had passed.
Yeah, this was well before X passed because Swizz told us in the interview how he was meeting him in Miami in a few days to finish up the album. Swizz was proud of where X was in his life.
Is it eerie to watch the interview now knowing that DMX is no longer with us?
It doesn’t feel eerie only because we were celebrating him. I’m just glad we put that out there when we did and Swizz was able to be so candid with us. That’s the second time we reviewed that album. We did it the first time and called the second time “The Retrial” because we had Swizz Beats and Jonathan Mannion. Who else would know but them? You know how sometimes people’s legacies can be looked at a different way when they pass because you want to speak nothing but good things about them. However, fans of hip-hop looked at him in a sincere light because we’ve seen him go through so much. From when he debuted in 1998 to the Verzuz with him and Snoop Dogg. He looked so healthy and happy and we were ecstatic for him. It’s one of those pieces of media I’m glad to be a part of because it’s celebratory.
Where do you see First Klass going not only as a platform but as a brand?
As a platform, we want to continue building on what we have now. We’ve been focused in the last few months. We want to take on like-minded people and welcome that. We want to be a platform for upcoming talent even though we’re still upcoming ourselves. However, we’re kinda seasoned in the sense that we know what we’re doing and what we want to do. So we want to bring people on board that have that mindset. As a brand, we have some merch coming soon and I want to get our name more out there. It’s a cool name that I’ve always loved, but I want to play it up more. I want to do promo, skits, and short video clips with it. I want people to recognize the name and the people in our fold more. We have such funny, smart, and creative ass people. I want to share that with the world and not want us to just be behind the content. I want us to be in front of it too. You sit us in a room and shit just comes out of it organically. I want people to see that.
What are some things that you attribute to the success of your brand?
Consistency is a big thing. Also, biting a bullet because even when you don’t believe in someone else’s idea on the team, execute it just because they do. If they believe in it and they’re able to give a thought behind it that can support it, then roll with it because you never know. Support your team and all their crazy-ass ideas. Don’t shoot any of them down because it’s all just a learning process. You’re always learning no matter how seasoned you are. With that learning curve comes trial and error, so you got to try it out. If you try it and it doesn’t work, then roast if that’s ya man’s and move on. However, when you try it, don’t half-assed it either.
What would you call this chapter of your life?
That’s tough. The first thing that comes to mind is getting it done. That’s what I would call it because I’m in my head a lot. A lot of my ideas live in my head, but it’s all about the execution at the end of the day. To execute, you have to get it done. That’s why I and Taurian work so well together because I’m all about structure and perfection and he’ll throw something at the board until he figures it out. Us having that contrast works because it’s going to be great no matter what comes out of it. That duality works for us. Getting it done is a big chapter of my life right now along with being okay with mistakes and presenting mistakes.