PremRock & Willie Green :: PremRock & Willie Green
Planet PremRock/Isolated Wax Records
Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon
Having first met at an NYC open mic cypher back in 2009, rapper
PremRock and producer Willie Green realized they had a common vibe,
then decided to explore that vibe by collaborating together on music.
It's an old story for hip-hop, but sometimes the old stories are the best
ones you've ever heard. It's not hard to imagine any of these famous
hip-hop duos met the same way: Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Show & A.G., Guru &
Premier, et cetera. It's expected that dope producers and emcees
meet up through common friends or hip-hop events, but what's rare is
when those chance meetings lead to long-term partnerships that
produce memorable results destined to reach the masses globally.
At the outset I admit ignorance of both artists before a few of the
singles from their self-titled "PremRock & Willie Green" started
to leak out - songs like "Had to Be Me" featuring C-Rayz Walz and Soul Khan. Those tracks were
type nice to be sure, but with so many voices on the track it was hard
to get a real grip on whether PremRock was type nice on his own.
Thankfully "Diary of a Dreamer" paints a much clearer picture as Prem
gets the time to shine on his own. (The cover art shown above is for the
single, which you can also download by clicking on it.) Willie Green's
backdrop is light and whimsical, but Prem's seriously lyrical:
"I in-herited this, we all inherit the trouble
Although we share in the struggle I live in marital bliss
My, character traits have made their share of mistakes
But I sharecrop with my folk to keep a share on our plates
I in-terrogate fate like, 'Sir - I don't approve'
I keep it cyclical, if you were un-aware of the shape
My thoughts outside the box get each corner erased
If you're not from within my circle stay from outside of my space!
I can take whatever's dished; trust me on this
Life's only a bitch if you can't study her hips
So I developed a penmanship, based on bein a gentleman
and jot down the notes on where she likes to be kissed"
Well done Prem. There are multiple aspects of his flow that are
appealing, not the least of which is the obvious amount of thought
he put into crafting a well written verse that reads like poetry but
raps like hip-hop. He's also got a natural sense of timing on the mic
that only develops over years of hard work and practice, knowing
which syllables to pause on for emphasis, realizing just when and
where to change his vocal tone to keep your attention focused.
The word play also heightens your awareness of his verbals, as
the rap becomes akin to geometry and math, without taking on
the sometimes boring scholarly qualities either one can have. It's
both intellectual and interesting, a difficult task for any rapper to
master, which instantly puts Prem in an upper echelon of emcees.
The conundrum as I listen to their self-titled album is that it's
arguably too early in his career to compare a newcomer like Prem
to veteran skilled lyricists like Talib Kweli, Common or Nas but
it's just as hard to ignore the talents he displays. A lot of rappers
this good can get lost in the shuffle without a producer their equal,
but Willie Green proves himself every bit up to the task. "Kill
Your Idols" is a war chant backdrop that makes the most out of
the smallest elements, layering them up in a way that's simultaneously
tribal and modern, as Prem advocates crossing off rappers that
you once looked up to as you realize they're not dope any more.
The funky horns and synths of "You Can't Go Home Again" seem
to melt together and become indistinguishable as P rides the beat.
"Move" is aptly named as the echoing drums make you want to
tap your foot, snap your fingers, or just do SOMETHING.
"Jogger" is so mellow you might miss the rap by soaking it in,
but that would be a mistake.
"You look like a social worker
Not that social workers got a look, but
It looks like you care, about things bigger
... than wardrobe and hair
Like other people's welfare, well-being, health care
Is that sexy? To me, hell yeah!
... Sorry if I seem a bit neurotic
You know how it is, with these artistic kids
You're like a +Bonita Apple-Obama+
You probably think I'm just a charmer
Well - kinda, sorta, kinda"
Now that's some real macking skills, the kind you won't get from a
man who sees a beautiful woman and addresses her "HEY BITCH!"
or "Whassup baby?" I'm not saying those types of responses aren't
warranted under certain types of circumstances, but Prem's way of
getting the attention of this jogger is to be flattering without being
a cliche, while simultaneously making himself more interesting to her
by being a little mysterious. No reality show on VH1 ever taught
would-be Romeos how to do it this well, and I'm guessing Prem
doesn't have much trouble getting a date on Friday nights when he
wants to go out to the club.
If there's one drawback to PremRock & Willie Green, and it's the
only major one I can come up with, it's that "PremRock & Willie Green"
just doesn't do much to sell them as a title. There's not anything wrong
with being self-titled, it's just that as relatively new artists trying to
make their name, it couldn't have hurt to have come up with a concept
for the album as a whole. It's not like Prem lacks for concepts anyway -
the brother has concepts for days. Five more minutes to think of one
for the album couldn't hurt, but you'll still want to check this one out.
Music Vibes: 8 of 10
Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10
TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10
Originally posted: September 27th, 2011