The Prophet Posse is back! While this might not mean much to most rap fans, those of us who grew up on the dark, buck, and crunk flavors that emanated out of Memphis, Tennessee in the 90s it is music to our ears. Before they were popping their collars or staying fly, Juicy J and DJ Paul were carrying an entire city’s rap dreams on their backs with their Prophet Entertainment. At some point or another their label probably boasted almost every major Memphis rapper and all this star power never got better than when they released their Prophet Posse album. The days of Memphis rappers all riding together has long past, but it seems that today you can roughly divide the city into two groups, those down with Paul and J and those not. The new Prophet Posse consists of those who probably recorded a Three-6-Mafia diss track during their career, though luckily “The Return” doesn’t focus on those problems. Instead, rappers like K-Rock, T-Rock, Playa Fly, Kingpin Skinny Pimp, Indo G, and Gangsta Boo look to get back on the scene while ex-Prophet Posse business partner Nick Scarfo looks to get back into the business.
The first question that comes to mind with this release is whether the members of the Prophet Posse can still succeed without Paul and J. The main question mark lies in the production since even those who hate Three 6 have to admit the beats are banging. The answer to this question is both yes and no. The beats are by no means bad and very much reflect the dark/buck music the original Prophet Posse was associated with, but at the same time one can’t ignore the evolution of Paul and J as producers. So while the beats will do, they come nowhere near what Paul and J could provide for the group. The biggest and best producers featured on the album are Slice Tee and DJ Squeeky, both of which are long time Memphis vets.
The rappers themselves are a mix of styles and skill levels that add up to an overall average mix. K-Rock and Raw Dawg are decent on “Crush Domes” where they put together a raw fight anthem. Raw Dawg’s quick tongue is close to classic Prophet Posse while K-Rock commands attention with his gruff voice. Playa Fly is probably one of the best rappers to come out of the Prophet Posse and his appearance on “Hard Job” is in line with his talent. The song itself is the kind of southern track to catch on with it’s screwed up hook and Playa Fly comes correct with his flow that resembles a stream of consciousness style. Kingpin Skinny Pimp and Gangsta Blac also represent for the Posse on “Do It Big” but unfortunately a dope beat is wasted on a recycled concept. The piano keys and creeping strings are signature Memphis music but the hook sounds like a cheap knock off of the Roy Jones Jr. track. Other longtime Prophet members also represent well as Koopsta Knicca is still up to his thousand voices routine on this album and T-Rock maintains his cult following. The crew also manages to capture some of their old glory on tracks like “My Posse” and “The Airport” where they throw 5 rappers on a track for dope crew cuts. Not all is good though as outside of rappers that already established themselves outside of the Prophet Posse, there isn’t much talent on the album. The rappers that make up the most of the album, like Kelo, Scarfo, and Raw Dawg, aren’t all that good. Even original member Gangsta Boo comes weak on this album with wack metaphors and punch lines, though to be honest I never thought she was a good rapper.
In the end the reunion of the Prophet Posse isn’t what it should have or could have been. Despite sporting a skull on the cover of the album, there isn’t much of the original dark lyrics associated with the group. The original members, like Fly, Skinny Pimp, and Koopsta, are just guests on the album rather than showing up on all the tracks. Overall, the CD is more of a showcase of new talent on Nick Scarfo’s label that happens to feature members of the Prophet Posse. With that said, there are plenty of tracks that will appeal to fans, the pounding production holds the album together, and with a bonus screwed and chopped CD thrown in, there’s also plenty of bang for your buck to be had.