Battle born


Rapper REE SET ONE (Jesse Gudino), with his friend and  collaborator Mariano Quinonez (Scarz of Marz) at Rancho San Rafael Park.

Rapper REE SET ONE (Jesse Gudino), with his friend and collaborator Mariano Quinonez (Scarz of Marz) at Rancho San Rafael Park.

Photo By amy beck

The CD release party for REE SET ONE’s On the Daily Vol. 1 is at Meyer’s Tattoo Parlour, 275 E. Fourth St., on Friday, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. For more information, visit

Summer school 2003. A kid with Latino features and green eyes was waiting at the bus stop close to his high school while scribbling random phrases in his notebook. Thoughts came to his mind: his life as a student, graffiti, and the endless waits for those who use Reno’s public transportation system. He was listening to a hip-hop mixtape, which he was using as a base for his first rap experiments, practicing his rhymes by replacing the original lyrics with lines that expressed his own life experiences. His name is Jesse Gudino, born and raised in Reno by Latin-American parents.

Earlier that same summer, his friend Gigs, who was already doing rap battles, shared one of his songs with him while they were tagging. Guidino liked it, and they started rap battling during the school lonches, at parties, and also in the streets.

“Gigs motivated me to write, read and rap in Spanish,” says Gudino.

His first performance was during a party. Someone provoked Gudino, doling out harsh criticisms about his art.

“He told me that I didn’t know how to rap, that he didn’t believe me, that my lines were just bullshit,” Gudino recites the story as though he was reading a screenplay. He immediately reacted by saying, “You don’t believe me? Let’s battle right now!”

According to Gudino, it was a good performance. “Everything just flowed out from deep inside of me, and the people liked it.” At the end of the party, he made peace with his opponent, launching the direction of his future musical career.

Eight years later, Gudino’s name changed to REE SET ONE. With a divorce behind him, various worthless jobs, and friends who won’t speak to him anymore, he still defends music as his greatest passion.

“My mom always tells me that I can do more than rap, and I tell her that I can’t, and I’m not going to quit,” he says.

He already has two solo discs and various collaborations with other local artists. He and his old friend Gigs and Scarz of Marz, among others, recorded a few online Made-in-Reno videos to accompany their prolific musical collaborations.

“What you use in your music is your real life as a Latino, some with illegal relatives who work hard just to support us,” he says.

From REE SET ONE’s perspective, the people that listen to his music are young and consider his message a positive one, even though that isn’t always the case.

“Sometimes my life makes the message less positive,” he says. “The important thing is that the message is connected to me.”

A lot of hip-hop is about collaboration. Some artists, like Gudino, write lyrics. Others compose beats, the musical bases, which create a shared dynamic—sometimes the MC looks for the DJ and sometimes the other way around.

That’s how it happened with the producer of REE SET ONE’s new disc. Devwar, a DJ from the United Kingdom, heard his work online and immediately sent him a beat. Gudino liked it, recorded on top of the track, and they agreed to work together.

A year and a half has passed since this partnership began, and the result is On the Daily Vol. 1, an intimate album recorded in Scarz of Marz’s bedroom studio. The final product can already be found on the website