The cover consists of a wall outdoors with a hole looking at a street corner. Is it the perspective of someone looking from “the other side of the tracks”, and is the hole looking at the optimism of what’s beyond the walls, or a look at the street corner? Whatever it may or may not mean, it is a way to help move your mind and wonder “what lurks inside?”
The inside in question is a self-titled album by rapper PremRock and producer Willie Green, and outside of this being a showcase of their talents, what I’m finding on this album is that they explore various eras of hip-hop in their flows and production styles but without it being a retrospective project. These are new tracks and when you hear them, you may question why so many aren’t doing it this way. “Had To Be Me” features C-Rayz Walz and Soul Khan and DJ Addikt doing some scratches. Together they create something that would be perfect on an M.O.P album circa 1999 or 2001.
PremRock isn’t afraid to speak eloquently and more importantly, it doesn’t sound forced or as if he’s trying to cater. Within that eloquence are lyrics that are very personal, but he’s also someone willing to attack other MC’s for the sake of suPREMacy. When he’s laid back, he can put you in that laid back mood with a relaxing flow, but what compliments the flow are the lyrics that have nothing to do with brand names, fashion accessories, or an Amazon wish list.
If you check the archives of this very website, you know that I’m a Willie Green fan. His work on this album is of someone who truly loves his work, but with that love comes someone who truly listens for more than just break and sample potential. In “Move” there’s a loop that consists of nothing but “in room” dialogue, while “Kill Your Idols” has a few familiar sounds that could’ve been produced sometime in 1988. However, that hypnotizing boom in the background hits perfectly along with a ritual rhythm where you’re thinking “does this refer to Africa or Alabama?” (if you know your samples, you’ll know exactly what I’m referring to when hearing the song.)
One of the many standout lines on this album is “the sooner you kill your idols, the quicker you grow”, and that’s exactly what PremRock and Willie Green are doing here. It’s not forgetting the past, but both are saying you can’t rely on the past forever, nor should you. When you create music for yourself, and thus the future, you by default are taking what came before on your current musical journey, so that the “tribe vibe” that the Jungle Brothers once spoke about will be vibrant and not become a “dead genre”. PremRock and Willie Green are simply making music and together they create a very nice formula that I hope will continue for more projects, but it will also allow them to both do their own thing as they continue on their incredible musical and lyrical paths. In other words: a damn good album made by two people who use their intelligence to create music for those who truly love good hip-hop.