Pete Philly & Perquisite :: Mind.State :: Unexpected/Epitaph Records
as reviewed by Rowald Pruyn

Have you been feeling under the weather lately? Did your girlfriend just show you her new hot lingerie set? Or have you missed two rent payments, and is your landlord threatening to throw you out of your apartment? One single human being goes through a plethora of emotions every single day. The Dutch MC/producer duo Pete Philly & Perquisite decided to motivate themselves, and spend sleepless nights with respect for each other to drop an eager debut album, hoping the public will like it. At least, these are some of the emotions they encountered when making: "Mind.State."

Pete Philly & Perquisite are not the two most well-known names in the hip-hop game. I mean, what are the odds? First off: They're from the Netherlands, a country that isn't exactly famous for its international hip-hop roots. That doesn't mean these roots are non-existent, on the contrary, but they just don't go a long way connecting overseas. Second: This is PP & P's debut album (indulge me for using this abbreviation) and although Pete Philly is a moderately famous name in the Dutch scene, Perquisite hasn't had time to build up a steady reputation for himself.

To start off this review: It is a good thing Perquisite decided to be a hip-hop producer. As a youngster,he started out playing the cello when he was eight, and got to know his way around several classical jazz instruments along the way. Combined with his love for dusty breaks and bass beats, Perquisite is possibly one of the most surprising hip-hop producers of the last couple of years.

If you're making an album about mind states, you have to be able to capture those emotions both lyrically and musically. Because Perquisite has mastered multiple instruments, he has an array of sounds at his disposal to create the right kind of vibe for a song. Right from the start, "Relieved" proves that the experiment of capturing emotions in stereo is a successful one. Combining the piano with a trumpet sample and an exciting uptempo drum beat implements the feeling of cheerful expectation. The next song "Insomnia" sounds muffled, laid back, almost absent-minded. Who wouldn't be after a couple of nights of sleeplessness?

That doesn't mean every single production is as successful as the previous examples. Some tracks are to bit too sugarcoated to my liking and except for "Paranoid" I missed out on PP & P's darker side of the soul. Not only are emotions like hate, anger or fear more extreme, but they can also generate exciting music. Organised Konfusion proved that wholeheartedly when they made "Equinox." Perhaps it isn't fair to compare PP & P to two of the most legendary underground MC's of the last decades. Without making that particular comparison, Pete Philly is not the very best MC I have ever heard, but he goes together with his partner in crime Perquisite like peanut butter and jelly. His rapid, irregular flow is unusual enough to set him apart from most MC's and his straight-to-the-point lyrics possess a charm of their own. The song "Lazy" showcases Pete Philly's qualities best when he describes a typical lazy summer afternoon:

"I remain lazydaisy, hazy, crazy
Staying in the bed until an hour or three
Got some appointments but got them all cancelled
Now I got the situation handled
Man I will get up and hurry shit up
But not until I roll over bout three times
Get out of bed and take my caffeine, protein
Then I slide through the double A scene
Like sunshine pretty women won't decline
When invited for a glass of wine
The time is about sixish
Ready for a hot dish
Barbecue potstue or hot dish"

PP & P first project, the Mindstate EP, which was a taste of the following album, has been quite successful in Japan. That isn't exactly a graduated scale for definite success, as a European passer-by with a baseball cap that read "I am a legend in Japan" proves in a hilarious way. But the Japanese have an insatiable hunger for new talent, and a lot of 'Japan Only' releases have turned out to be desirable objects in the rest of the world.

Apparently, not just the Japanese were pleasantly surprised by the Dutch two-some. After some consideration, underground veteran Talib Kweli decided to hit a London studio together with PP & P during his European our to make the elegant composition "Hope." After recording, Kweli called his temporary colleagues "musically light-years ahead of the game." Even with Kweli's compliments, it's possible Pete Philly & Perquisite will stay "Legends in Japan" until hell freezes over, but I do believe they deserve more than that. The combination of live instruments and intricate wordplay has the potential to go a long way indeed.

Music Vibes: 9 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8.5 of 10

Originally posted: April 4, 2006