Release Date: Dec 9, 2014
Record label: Universal Music
Genre(s): Rap, Underground Rap, East Coast Rap, Hardcore Rap, Jazz-Rap
This self-titled nine-song album comes charging out of the gate as the first release from PRhyme, a collaborative duo of exceptional East coast hip-hop producer DJ Premier and Eminem protégé Royce da 5'9". Premier's beats supplied a multi-colored backdrop for some of the best tracks made by Notorious B.I.G., Nas, and other huge names in their prime throughout the '90s and early 2000s, not to mention his own masterful group Gang Starr. Across the board, Premier is in top form on PRhyme, supplying moody beats sliced and reconstructed from instrumental recordings made exclusively for the album by multi-instrumentalist Adrian Younge.
This isn't the first time Gang Starr's legendary DJ Premier has produced an entire LP for one MC since Guru died in 2010 (we see you, Bumpy Knuckles), but the fact that longtime collaborators Royce da 5'9" and Premo came up with a group name and a new indie label to brand their project has given PRhyme an extra dose of intrigue and cachet. There's another hook, too: Premo crafts the nine-track album's entire soundbed by exclusively sampling composer Adrian Younge (and, of course, his trademark diced-up rap sound bites). It's a restriction that didn't appeal to Premo at first, but he warmed to the challenge: "His catalogue sounds like the old soul records we used to dig and sample with," says Premo, who was thrilled when Royce recruited Jay Electronica, ScHoolboy Q, Common and Killer Mike for Grade-A cameos.
Royce Da 5’9” and DJ Premier are cut from the same cloth, frequent collaborators from overlapping generations of rap culture, the former inspired heavily by the latter. They are both proof of rap staying power; Premier is practically a symbol and Royce is a savvy veteran who has managed a lengthy career without settling. The two stumbled upon the works of producer and composer Adrian Younge separately — primarily his work with Ghostface Killah on last year’s terrific Twelve Reasons To Die —and upon suggestion from Royce, set out to make a full collaborative project, one that both Royce and fans have been after for quite some time now.
With a collective fifty years of experience in the game, millions of albums sold and countless projects under their belts, 37-year-old Royce Da 5’9” and 48-year-old DJ Premier have seen it all. Their respective careers have seen such massive success that declaring they have hit their prime this late seems a bit far-fetched. But, with honest lyricism from Royce and some of Preemo’s best production in years, the MC-producer duo back the statement with a re-energized and reborn sound on their collab nine-track effort, PRhyme.