What are the implications of residing on this fed up world? Throughout the first few seconds of their collaborative album, Price of Dwelling, rapper Philmore Greene and producer Apollo Brown articulate this query with unequivocal readability.
It is an inquiry that looms on the core of their elegiac and existential soundtrack to trendy inner-city life. How can one escape the systemic traps which have ensnared generations since time immemorial? What does it imply to make the fitting selections? And should you emerge from the chaos to stay a wonderful life, how do you overcome the survivor’s guilt and lingering trauma?
Price of Dwelling is an album stuffed with authenticity that may’t be faked. These are songs that betray the scar tissue. Contemplative hearth. Verité movies of the westside of Chicago. It is this noirish a part of city that nourished Greene and gave him nightmares.
The place the place he noticed his first useless physique in his early teenagers, the place he misplaced his brother to the road violence just a few years later, and the place he turned to the pad, pen and microphone as a refuge and strategy to share his hard-fought knowledge.
The themes are nothing lower than life and dying. A life-style of endemic poverty, alternatives denied and goals deferred. With a roll of the cube you’ll be able to obtain dying, jail, or a path out. Because the scratched vocals of Frequent echo on the hook to “Steep Life:” “rappers and hoopers, we attempt to be like.”
Greene is all too conscious of actuality. Like the previous Frequent Sense earlier than him, he has created a canon of morals and integrity that eschews sanctimony. The testimony of somebody who has seen dope runners and villains, damaged passions and cold-blooded betrayals, the implications that may befall you within the concrete jungle should you’re not cautious (and even in case you are).
Behind the boards, Apollo Brown creates a cinematic backdrop of tense, moody strings and hand-of-god drums. A reminder of why he is already change into a rightful inheritor to the throne of Pete Rock, J Dilla, and DJ Premier. As Pitchfork just lately raved, the Detroit producer’s “constancy for the grime and grit of rap’s second Golden Age goes past merely making an attempt to recreate DJ Premier beats. Prospers throughout his instrumental tasks and over a dozen collaborative albums unearth the eagerness he places into his artwork.”
Philmore Greene is a perfect match for Brown’s luxurious canvasses, an MC who the Chicago Reader has hailed for making “assured, luxuriant boom-bap.” But it surely’s his capacity to convey complicated feelings, empathetic road narratives, and heartbreaking pathos that make him singular.
Think about the sharp element of his phrases on “Welcome to the Ave,” the place he namechecks the cube video games, “all my n**’s grinding in the identical garments as yesterday,” the robberies and larcenies, the road pharmacies, the “query marks the place the fathers be.”
On the Proof-assisted lead single “Paradise,” Greene unspools his present for traditional rap storytelling, evaluating Chicago to Pakistan, noting the intercourse staff, church bells, and fixed paranoia. He cites the hypocrisy of a world the place you may get 40 years for drug trafficking and be out in three for homicide.
The centerpiece may be “That is Me,” the place Greene particulars his personal private struggles and psychological turmoil. The homicide witnessed at age 14 that despatched him to therapists and shrinks, “preventing a battle within my thoughts.” You’ll be able to nearly hear the lurking footsteps inside his cranium, as he worries about being watched and adopted by the killer.
He takes you again to being a youngster, questioning if he’d make it to 25. You flash ahead a decade later, and Greene wakes up on his twenty fifth birthday, crying tears of gratitude for the truth that he is nonetheless respiratory.
The Price Of Dwelling could also be excessive, however Greene and Brown can help you perceive that it isn’t insurmountable. There are too many losses and never sufficient positive aspects, however so long as there stays a perception in one thing deeper and the potential for one thing higher, hope stays alive.
That is soul music within the deepest sense, not as an aesthetic however as a bodily place, the place coronary heart, philosophy, and the spirit reside. That is one thing for the ages, a piece of tragic timelessness. In any case, these points have been right here earlier than us, they usually’ll be right here lengthy after us.
Apollo Brown & Philmore Greene’s Price Of Dwelling is now accessible through Mello Music Group. Take heed to the brand new album right here: