Realm Reality is prepared to dive into the rap game headfirst, all while following his heart. Born Rick Gonzalez, the actor-turned-rapper -- he's starred in films like 'Illegal Tender' -- speaks endearingly of the hip-hop he grew up on. He admits to wanting to bring some of that vibe back with his own music.

“I’m picking records and writing myself,” he tells TheDrop.fm. “Those were my influences, like ‘98, ‘99, were really the years that ignited me and got me to start writing. I’m kinda glad that sound is coming back again because that’s right in my lane. I can do the other s--- too though, don’t get it twisted.”

The Bushwick-born emcee recalls growing up listening to every sub-genre of rap that was available and it shows in his ability to diversify. His street single, ‘What I Want,’ smacks of Native Tongues influence while another, ‘Can’t F--- With Me,’ features Realm tapping into Boot Camp Clik inspirations with fellow Brooklynite Skyzoo. “The ‘Scenario (Remix)’ tape was always in my Walkman,” he shares. “That rang off in my life when I was 12. So when I heard the beat for ‘What I Want’ I was like, ‘Hell yeah. That’s going on the mixtape.’”

“I have so much aggressive content,” he continues. “I needed something palpable that I could play for older people too like my mom. It’s a good record that shows lyrical wordplay, it’s a homage to the music that I love.”

Just this year, the rapper made a splash on Sean Price’s album, ‘Mic Tyson.’ The two artists always had a spirit of friendly competition between them, until, Realm says, “he started seeing me chomp s--- out then he was like, ‘OK...’”

Initially, it wasn’t set in stone that Realm would even  be contributing to the LP, but Price’s wife ultimately had the final say in the matter -- he ended up on the track 'Bully Rap.'

“I forced my way on that track,” he reveals. “The beat was on and Sean was talking to his wife. I went in the booth and laid the hook. When I get out the booth and look at [Sean], he’s talking to his wife still, stops and says to me, ‘Yo, my wife is pretty impressed. She’s feeling that.’ I was like, ‘Cool. Since wifey approves, I have to make the album.’ We knocked it out that day.”

Although Realm is still proving himself to some industry OGs, this isn’t his first time out. A few years ago, he was part of the Brooklyn-based group U-KRIME. The rhymer has already worked with the likes of Tony Touch, Whoo Kid and Clinton Sparks -- he’s clearly set to move on to the next level.

His recent signing to Infamous Records -- the imprint helmed by Mobb Deep's Prodigy -- should help tremendously. In addition to having the right record deal, Realm has all the right ideas about who he should be reaching out to in order to build his brand, having worked with Creative Control, an online content label. “I definitely want to do more with them,” he says excitedly. “I feel like their perspective and tone in their video work is right up my alley. I think nowadays everyone knows how important your content is. I just feel like they’re superior and classy and I’m humbled that they want to work with me.”

Now he’s readying the release of his latest mixtape, ‘In Grind We Trust,’ backed by DJBooth.net. Realm is finally able to take a moment to notice things falling into place. The project will feature guest appearances from Joell Ortiz, the Kid Daytona, Termanology and a few other notable emcees. Realm admits that the entire production of the tape took a lot out of him. “It’s been a tedious process, plenty of tribulation. I guess because nothing good ever comes easy,” he says, sighing. “It’s always a process but I think at the end of the day, it’s finally listening to the music together and hearing the result.

“As an artist, you enjoy the journey more when you hear the product after everything that you went through to put the project together.”

'In Grind We Trust' arrives Feb. 12.

Watch Realm Reality's 'What I Want' Video