By SUNEZ [ #SkillastratorLO #PowerWrite ]
Word is bond. I chose the right time. Scripts of legends past into my posterity, handbooks of plus lessons to summate the maneuvers that mandate my illness. I made some weaponry cause I shoot guns only few could fill with projectiles. A penman with sheathed knives in ink with letters settled in bound sheets wilding myriad forms understood rarely in these rotted pleasantries. Always on my score, I fight a devil’s musculature that went for 60 reps of a hundred years. I war in this seventieth rep, their failure, my supremacy.
Now you! Nigga of the same gene, germed up. I throw up the peace to love and loyalty. Identify this yellowish brown shade wielding the Blackest pedagogy and take me out of the solitary of rarities into solidarity of camaraderie. Together to redirect when the ones they select are the ones we’re forced to elect, the degenerate or the derelict, the orange revolting rewind or the blond fail forward.
From the beloved butterfly knives to these blessed keys of ink,
I work all the tools that spill understanding.
Wrap these fluctuations into the uniform–woe be my LO life.
Wealth stays a letter unseen but swings on and on the universal flagged chain.
Warn The Man! I’m an Anomaly with the Power to Rule.
The comeback’s success is defined by the aura. Is this abstract requirement fulfilled? Are these songs a blend of that ole smooth liveness without being dated? In a world where Boom Bap is a formula injected by bloodsucking addicts and the aging real, a compromise to the gentrification of the Art, that keeps leaving only similar sounds of little soul assimilating simpleton riddling. The Anomaly can be misheard this same way as at least 50 other LPs this year. Quickly scan selected 5 second spurts and you may assume. Yet The Anomaly captures the aura of Boom Bap, it’s aura, it’s highest dreams, expectations and it’s expected guarantee of qualitative realness. It is an LP of supreme execution that amazingly shows so much more potential out of Prince Powerule after 20 plus years since his pioneering debut, as the first Boricua with a solo LP.
SUNEZ: “The Line” is where I first heard you again.
PRINCE POWERULE: That’s how it started. Someone heard that and said, “Yo, dude, what the fuck happened to you?!” It was the love of fans that brought me back in. On Facebook a brother, Puerto Rican from Sweden, Jules Le Boudon (Deejay Chulo) hits me up and says he’ll send me some beats. Maybe I’ll just try but I don’t want to do it alone. Let me call Kurious, Dave Dar and my boy Mike Miller and let’s see. When we all got in the room and we started to do it I realized I could finally rhyme like a man now. I don’t have to rhyme for an industry. Now all of that is gone, I’ve grown up. I’m not influenced by anyone. I influence myself. Now what would I really say?!
With a calculated tempo, eased pacing and a clean rasp in the vocal tone, a calm bedrock of temperament is produced through the entire record. Prince never rushes, always completes the phrasing, never chases extra words fitting all the vowel and consonant combinations he shoots for. All effortless where the result is the showcase of smoothness..again. Through the neat chops of the title track, he phrases, “not your average nigga on the blocks/type of Nigga the feds gotta watch…gone for a minute but I’m on again/new version of me, Ray Donovan…” with syllable matching that lets the listener find the headnod pace of the strike snares. “Grace” builds the tone with a piano bass keys and “Hands up, Don’t shoot chants” and then the the guitar plucks sound in a thick booming drum and hand clap snare that amplifies the protest. Powerule rhymes with anthemic precision with incredible poetics,
“Blueprint schematics/we’re still conscious with mathematics/fortified with the fire/that street legends aspire/higher powers motivate me/and made me/I am the image of greatness, copy and paste me/follow me digital/follow me literal/follow the science of verses/that verge on biblical/times are critical/rallies and public cries/while the city closes their eyes/as another brother dies/revolution, we ready and reloaded/climate is catastrophic/Gotham has imploded/the beast want more then we coming through the door/and we coming with them things that’ll level City Hall/notice has been given we’re tired of being stricken of every ounce of our dignity/typical act of tyranny/We’ll take the streets, Black Panthers and Young Lords, not for the violence, just for just cause,”
that retains the sincerity of our elders with a passionate reignition of our young generation today. “Glorify and Praise” builds on his personal evolution with an energetically increased pace that is less than a millisecond faster but equates to a few hours in ground covered. Large Professor’s bass drum depth and double maraca’d high hats thicken the track filling the air letting Powerule’s intensity.
SUNEZ: So after you make “Grace” what happens?
PRINCE POWERULE: Large Professor, Psycho Les and Lord Finesse heard that record. I was coming home from work and DJ Ax calls me up to meet him by the studio. There’s a famous picture now with me in a suit with all them. I was a property manager and wasn’t even thinking about getting back into it. I just was doing that record for those kids’ mixtapes. I see all of them, Les, Finesse and Large Pro in the studio and I say, “what the fuck is this? A Hip Hop summit?! Why am I here?” They play my record “Grace” and then say we’re doing an album for you. They just started throwing out beats and let me pick whatever I wanted. I’m dreaming right now. I can’t believe what just went down. Now months later, it’s done. With that verse you mentioned it was the catalyst to become the writer I wanted to be. But I had a block, a bunch of other bullshit going on in life to let me be free. Now I’m free. Now I write like me. No more restraints or catering to what’s going on right now. Like me coming out on some trap beat. I’d slap myself silly. It’s Hip Hop forever. You see the Rolling Stones, U2, the Who. Those guys don’t change what they’re doing. We used to have a joke that if you’re over 30 you’re washed up. Everyday that shit changes. You think Nas is going to stop making records. These guys aren’t going to stop. Listen to the music. Stop looking at the face. Vanity will kill you.
The mastery is all in the tempos built by calculated syllable structuring, a melodic sensibility Queens MCs are so blessed with from Mic Geronimo and Nas to Undeniable and Starvin B all evident with Powerule here. It creates a melodic cadence that attaches to sounds that merge with the drum patterning. Boom Bap failures often happen not in the use of the 1,2 drum pattern, the classical DJ Premier supremacy; rather, it’s in the overuse of it, something Premo, Large Professor or Beatnuts aren’t doing when they’re at their best. Now when Prince Powerule achieves these very subtle melodic flows that attach to the rhythms unifying the sound it’s because he chooses the right tracks once he earned these legendary producers. On “Gotta Get Away,” the drum patterns skip and hop with chaotic cymbal high hats while the break re-ups. The horns also have a looping re up and Prince flowing lines as, “Summertime, corner store fresh like it’s 84 order the first 48 pitch by the black gate, ditch in the brown bag/ new whip, no tag/new kicks, slow drag…” makes his vocals the primary unifying instrument. The technique is backed multiple lyric loops of noun and descriptor (i.e. “new whip, no tag”) that gives the mind visual keys to paint the scenery complete. Still, it’s that the aesthetic essence of the sound is as important as the technique displayed—that is, there is Soul in the flow that goes beyond the robotic delivery of double time rhyming or chop phrased bars. It’s the difference between appropriation and the original article. The difference between a large waft of today’s Boom Bap that is played and rhymed correct but has little grit, expected challenges–no Soul or just not enough.
PRINCE POWERULE: When I was at Interscope I could never say anything of substance. It was all “I’m hanging out.” Bullshit. Now that I’m a grown man I find myself writing with a topic of discussion. Like in the song, “Grace,” I call it 20 Zen because now I’m at a Zen mentality where I look at things differently and make my decisions without rush. I said, “Fell asleep in 20 Zen, woke up, it’s ’89 again/race wars, brutality, crooked cops and fallacies/exile my people from another location/claim it’s good for the hood/fuck their gentrification/right hand to the Trinity/they ain’t seen the enemy/til they seen the enemy in every inch of my sensory.” I can write about that now when I see injustice. I can write about the goals that a stripper had with a fucked up lifestyle. It’s not always the father’s fault because it could be the mom’s fault. There’s fucked up moms out there too. I wrote a whole song and Large Professor produced it called “American Horror Story.” It’s about a girl who came up watching all of the things her mom did. Started out good but fell into the vicious cycle, winds up getting killed. The father come out of jail, goes to the strip club and kills everyone she worked with and then kills the mother at the end. Then goes back to prison. The topics, “Glorified Praise” on how I used to hustle. I’m sitting there going through my mind, looking outside and saying, “Holy shit! I think the cops are outside and what am I gonna do?” Thinking am I going to flush it, put it under the ceramic walking around in a panic. If I manage to handle this unscathed I’m going to go down on my knees and glorify and praise. That’s what that song’s about.
The Anomaly’s natural Soul is immediately heard in beats that have breaks that cleanly pronounce themselves as the drum sequence of a crunched Boom-Bap-stop-double up and restart of “American Horror Story.” As the tale unfolds, the piano lacing broods into an engulfing tragedy. The old school breaks of “Coke Adds Life,” the power drums of “Employees of the Year” or the sparse drums of the title track let Prince be the stylist he always was. Yet this new lyric freedom he has forums to indulge in got him battling (“Springfield Boulevard,” “718,” “Employees of the Year”), building (“Grace”), dropping tales (“American Horror Story”) and making rap Plena of the struggle (“Glorify And Praise,” “Hanging On Barely”). The success is a hardcore Boom Bap LP that is complete edutainment that thrives in pure showcasing with layers to uncover as a traveling listening music.
PRINCE POWERULE: I have the fun songs and we get down (“718”). I have those days but now I have a lot of days where I actually want to write about something. So when I say The Anomaly—No one as waiting to buy a Powerule album. I’m a glitch in the Matrix. I’m coming out of nowhere and I’ma change shit. This is going to be a difference maker and these young kids will be “where is this coming from?!” That’s the anomaly.
Prince Powerule works in the deck like he never stopped being part of the concrete score the last near quarter century. The story of an MC we were just supposed to miss, never tragic because he succeeded as a builder in all the said ciphers off the stage. But the music got worse and he never did. And so, truly an anomaly, Powerule. I’m blessed to PowerWrite in praise.
POWERULE TO THE PEOPLE: An exclusive feature interview with Prince Power of Powerule on his origins, pioneering solo 1991 LP and his powerful return to music.
POWERULE & POWERWRITE: An #ArtOnArt review and presentation of DJ Toshi’s Classic Storm Radio Episode 202 featuring Prince Power of Powerule, hosted by Sunez.