HIP HOP QUESTION WHAT IS P.U.N.K.?

Razer here!  (Hell ya boy, it’s  my first post!)  I’d like to start off by saying screw Prophet The Rebel! Razer is the greatest thing to ever grace Midwest Hip Hop.  I’m also the better looking, smarter and once even battled a great white shark with my bare hands…And won!

Now that that is out of the way, I have been asked to tackle the question, What does P.U.N.K. sound like?

Well, it’s not really typical of any genre now, and I think it’s fair to say this is nothing like what you’ve heard before…Cliché, I know.  That doesn’t mean it’s indescribable.  See we love all music…From The Beatles to Lupe Fiasco, from The Offspring to Don Omar, Timbaland to Common, or Kanye to Proof.  Point is, we have a LOT of influences and we had to figure out what was the unifying thread in all this music.

As Prophet said, we have traveled a bit the last few months, met some great friends and artists (We are still hiding who for now), and we had the chance to rap on some tracks with hip hop vets we respect and admire.  During all this…We…without knowing it, were developing our sound as a group by screwing around in those studios and tour buses.

Now that we have officially decided to jump in this hip hop game as a duo,  we  knew that we had to dissect what it is that makes P.U.N.K. what it is.  So we sat down and listed to our freestyle track and all the artists that inspire us and narrowed down what we liked about each of them.  We asked ourselves: What is it about an artist and his/her music that we specifically connected to?  What we came up with is this list….

1. Meaning:  When the lyrics to a song have a reason…whether that be to give a message, convey a memory, be funny or tell a story.

2. Hooks: You know, those lines that hook in your mind and refuse to let go.  The greatest rock, punk rock, hip hop, etc. had lines, bridges or hooks that just flowed with the beat until the voice singing them became another instrument.

Now here is what we noticed, it’s seldom in the hip hop world to have  both #1 (meaning) and #2 (hooks) combine in the same song. The most catchy songs that are played on the radio rarely mean something more then shake your ass, and our favorite conscious hip hop tracks rarely have a killer hook that mainstream can get into.  So we decided to make songs that can move you to riot just as much as it can get you bobbing your head or even get you out on a dance floor. We want to create songs that you want to sing or rap along with, but also, if you bothered to take a second and listen closely to what we’re saying on that track, you would realize there’s more to our songs than just a good sound. We have something to say as well.

Now we are very aware of the repercussions that we might face.  In the end, we are risking our fans in the streets who are saying to us: Screw you guys. This sounds too good, too radio friendly. While on the other hand, the pop charts are firing from the other side telling us: Dammit, I hear what you’re saying, but write something about girls shaking their ass, or drinking Patron.  Why do you guys keep writing stuff about stuff?

The point is…When we write, we let the music dictate the flow.  And who said a good song has to be meaningless? Who said conscious hip hop can’t hit the mainstream?  We will bridge that gap.  The industry and people want us to compare our music to what’s out there to get some idea of the sound, well here you go…

What does P.U.N.K. sound like?

Imagine, if you will, that Timbaland and the Neptune’s had a baby.  Okay that’s impossible so imagine that some laboratory genetically spliced these guys and created a new entity with all the musical sensibility that allows them to make those killer catchy songs.  Okay, now imagine said mutant child was shot with a healthy dose of testosterone and grew up listening to 90’s rock like Nirvana, The Offspring Bad Religion and Green Day so that the music has this edge to it, songs about life and the problems that come with it instead of the typical club track.  Imagine that mutant child loved Sugarhill Gang, Run DMC and the Beastie Boys, and the goal was to bring that old school house party hip hop back.

As one person described us, we sound a bit like the Linkin Park of Hip Hop only with a little more fire and edge.

What we are aiming for is half the tracks to have a real organic east coast vibe tempered with another half of somewhat electronic sounds.  What you never have to worry about is us sounding like Flo Rida or T-Pain ever, EEEVERRRRR!!!!!!!!  One thing I may want to mention, as you will soon come to know in upcoming videos, Prophet and I are rather stupid, silly, joke around way too much, the class clowns if you will so you may have a track that represents our crazyness.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you, lol!

If you say, you can’t make hip hop that’s both catchy and meaningful…I say, Watch us!

We are taking the conscious battle to the front lines, to the people that most need a message and substance.  I just hope the underground conscious scene takes the time to listen to what we say. I hope the underground hip hop scene just doesn’t tune us out because of how we say it.

Recently one of our good friends listened to a pre-demo track and thought we sounded like sell outs because he couldn’t get passed how, in his words, “good” it sounded.  He said, “I don’t know. It’s good, it’s something I would expect to hear on the radio, but I’m not into that whole scene.”  Then we let him read the lyrics.  That’s all it took for him to understand and say, “Hell yeah! Hip Hop needs this. Hip Hop needs P.U.N.K.”

P.U.N.K. has arrived!

P.U.N.K. has arrived!

AND THEN THERE WERE TWO

Hip Hop make way, because Prophet & Razer have entered the ring.  Go figure, from the Alumni Elites to the point I’m at now, the two people who can’t afford to fail  the most have decided to risk their entire savings and current lifestyle on one crazy ass dream…To become hip hop stars. Worse yet, we are going after this dream at a time when artists are hating labels, labels are battling consumers, and the whole industry seems to be imploding.

Oh well, we always loved a challenge.

Yet, between Razer’s former days in Detroit’s underground hip hop and my history living in the Cleveland hip hop scene, we are starting off with a pretty decent-sized following of people who are anxious to see how this whole music project will pan out.  This is good and bad–It’s good because we have the support of many, but it’s bad because those people already have an idea of what we should sound like.

Thing is, Razer doesn’t sound like his old pissed off Detroit self (well it’s still kind of there, but much more controlled now), and I know that I can do more then mid-90s classic hip hop.   Times change and people need to adapt and evolve which is clearly what has happened to Razer’s hip hop style.  I popped in one of his older CDs last night for the hell of it, and I really don’t know what to say…Except he is, without a doubt, at an entirely higher level now.  And although I love his new stuff, (it definitely isn’t standard angry or ghetto fab Detroit Rap), it will be interesting to see how his old fans will react.

I guess I would describe his style as some twisted fusion of Detroit anger, toned down with a Reggaeton-like rhythm that rides the beat, and finished off with an intense delivery that is second to none.  I’ll tell you one thing…Since we’ve been working together, he has been challenging me to write and spit in ways I never thought I could.  What’s coming out is, well, uhhh, not your typical hip hop.  I thought all I had in me was that Common/real hip hop flow, but I am quickly learning how dynamic I can be.  Razer keeps pushing me to ride the beat, change things up and incorporate more musical elements.

He’ll say “Let the music move you and tell you how to spit on it.”

Listening to some of the preliminary work we’ve done just messing around on the mic sounds like nothing on the radio or in the underground hip hop scene, which makes me wonder a bit–Which side will love or hate us more, the mainstream or the underground?  This thing we have going is fresh, and takes the best of the underground and mainstream and then blends them all into one new hip hop chapter.

I swear, no one’s ever heard this kind of thing before. They’re gonna be blow away.  Imagine for a sec an artist that could make music that sounds good, and if you take the time to listen to the words, it actually says something.  I’m talking about a union of popular good music and conscious hip hop–Beats that make you wanna bob your head, combined with lyrics that make you wanna nod  your head.

And with that, I’m off to the radio to announce this to the world. Peace.

Oh how rude of me, I neglected the biggest announcment of the day, our name.

Prophet and Razer will now be known as…

P.U.N.K.

New site, info, myspace, videos etc are under construction as we speak.

TUNE IN NOW!

Hip Hop ain’t seen nothing like this!  2009 is the year of P.U.N.K.

P.U.N.K.

P.U.N.K.

Midwest Hip Hop History – Prophet & Razer

Ya know what the Midwest is? Young and restless.

That’s exactly how I explained the vibe at the B-Side Liquor Lounge last night. It was a venue filled with hungry emcees and poets, beat makers and musicians, newbies and vets…All of them battling an innate restlessness inside and using their voices to release it all in words and music.  That building was filled with a talent like none other last Tuesday…A talent which I’m sure the world will soon come to know.

I started off the night by forwarding a few hundred emails to Razer’s email box (BTW, thanks to all of you for helping me accomplish my Hip Hop Plan B,) with a message telling him that I would be at B-Sides for open mic night. With that, I headed down to Coventry.

My boy, The Katalyst was already there when I arrived at the club. Apparently, Razer told him about the place and he came down to see what all the hype was about.  About 20 minutes later, in came Razer aka The RZR with his wife, Nikki.

As soon as he walked in, he smiled at me and said, “What you did could technically be considered spam, ya know. You’re lucky we’re friends. We need to talk.”

But before I had a chance to respond, Razer introduced me to a couple of his friends, a wonderful Cleveland actress, poet and singer named Cathy Houston and some of her friends.

We all looked for a place to sit in the crowded venue, and I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that tonight, I’d be making hip hop history…But at the moment, I just didn’t know how historic it would be.

I noticed Razer strategically ducked into a corner…probably trying to lye low for a bit.  Too bad for him, I had something special up my sleeve because the very first thing I did when I got on stage was give a shout out to “My boy, Razer, in the corner over there, all the way from the D. ” With Nikki’s help (who was sitting next  Razer and pointing out where exactly he was sitting), I had officially blown his cover.

I proceeded to perform a poem I entitled “Freedom – Part 2,” a sequel to my performance from two weeks ago.  This time when I came up I had a proper introduction and all, Prophet The Rebel was now a known MC.  Man, if last week was hot, this week was a pure inferno.  I couldn’t even finish the poem without being interrupted with applause but don’t take my word for it, check out the Freedom – Part 2 video!

I stepped off stage and noticed someone talking into Razer’s ear.

“That was great, man! Amazing!  But we got to head upstairs soon, there’s someone who wants to meet you.”  Razer said.

“Who?”

“You’ll see,” he smiled.

We watched a few more performances, one of which was Cleveland’s own, Undagroundkween. Then, we spoke to a guy from the local group, Keyel, about collaborating on some stuff in the near future.

After that we quickly headed on up to the Grog Shop.  Of all people, there was Mooch…Just waiting.  We headed on back and soon enough, I figured out exactly who we were here to meet.  The night was a blur; filled with shots of liquor, Mooch dancing like a mad man, watching some killer performances (BTW never in my wildest dreams did I think that much energy could come out of such a little body! The night’s headliner was a VERY petite gal.), freestyling with Razer and laughing our asses off when the person we were there to meet (the headliner) inadvertently sprayed Razer in the eyes with vodka in a crazy rockstar-esque moment. We all had a blast!

Then the inevitable happened, the question was once again asked of Razer “So why ain’t you guys come out wit a CD already?” insert cute lil English accent.

Razer froze, looked at Nikki for a second and then back at us.

“You gotta understand I have a life now.  I have a wife, puppies, a fish we are trying not to kill, and I technically promised my mom I would give up this crazy hip hop dream,” he said.

“So fuckin what! You guys are good!” was spouted out before I could even respond.

“My thoughts exactly,” were the first words that escaped my lips.

“I’m finished with hip hop.  I got bills like none other, and what you’re asking of me is to put the little I have left all into a 1-in-a-million chance.  Right as my wife and I are considering having our first baby and me barely making ends meet as is, you want me to risk a stable 8-5 job to chase some hip hop dream? I could lose it all in this crazy project.” Razer shot back.

Then he paused. “But you’re right…My day job isn’t me, and I’m living a lie. ”   He sighed and asked me,  “Are you serious about this?”

“Hell yes I am!” I quickly responded.

He paused, looked at Nikki, and then I noticed her smile back at him for one quick second.

“And there are no limits?  We do whatever, say whatever, and tackle whatever we feel like?  You’re ready to say screw the radio, screw the underground, screw it all and make the best music we can, refuse to conform to the norm, ready to hear critics say, ‘Your music is too trendy’ or ‘Your music ain’t trendy enough’? If you’re ready to just do what we do best…Make hip hop that can move a club and says something, then, then…ahh man…..then fine, I’m in! Let’s punk this industry, let’s do this and never look back. “

And with that we all took a shot and toasted to Midwest Hip Hop history!

Detroit and Cleveland unite. Razer and Prophet have officially become……………to be continued.

Can you guess the artist that helped finally push Razer over the edge? Hint, she is short, like 5-feet tall short.  She is from the U.K., and she is a white rapper.  NO CHEATING! You cannot google who was in Cleveland this week.  You must guess based on the above hints.

Proph’s Midwest Hip Hop Super Group

As you know, I have have been working my ass off to form a Midwest hip hop super group.  Originally this group was going to be Dwayne, Chemist, Mooch and myself, Prophet The Rebel.  Then I had this brilliant idea when I met a hip hop emcee from Detroit by the name of Razer The RZR that I would add him to my super group…An idea I hope will still come true.  Well, let’s take a second to look back on how this whole process has gone so far and what lessons I have learned.  (If you are reading this and are an aspiring artist, I recommend you read the whole post, you can learn from our mistakes, trust me!)

My first idea, Alumni Elites,  flopped on its ass.  Too many ideas, too many opinions and none of them in the same direction.  One person wanted pop rap, another conscious rap, another gangsta rap and no one would listen to each other.  This VERY short lived group fell apart and dissolved into a solo hip hop album for me, Prophet The Rebel, half produced by Chemist & half by Dwayne.  This new hip hop super group idea (of Chemist, Dwayne and me) was just gonna release a short EP.  Together, we figured that the super group would be a launching platform for me and other artists, and Mooch was even down to help manage the whole process.  Then Razer The RZR stepped in to help, and he started giving us pointers on how to make things legit.  Ironically, that’s when things fell apart. And to be honest…I am glad!

See…When we started going full force with the business aspects of becoming hip hop artists (lawyers, contracts, radio shows, promotions, etc.), Dwayne started getting scared shitless.  That’s when we found out how full of shit he really was…Turns out all of “his” beats weren’t really his at all. He actually stole them from someone else, and all the work I had done to write on those tracks went straight into the can.

Razer kept me focused and on we went…Traveling to different cities, meeting with hip hop’s finest, all of whom started to push Razer and I to become an official group instead of just featuring him on a track or two.  One guy went so far as to say he expects to hear this duo of Prophet and Razer by the end of the year or else!  (I’ll give you a hint, he is part of a hip hop super group that rhymes with Who-Bang!)

All this is especially important because I have realized something lately, the industry is hard.  Gotta be honest here when I say that balancing life, acting and music is  difficult, and that’s why I want to form a hip hop super group.  See when you have a job, when you go to school, when you act and have lines to memorize, when you have to walk everywhere because you have no ride,  when you’ve got a new girl, and when you have family issues to attend to at night; time in a day is not on your side.  So a hip hop super group became my focus for two reasons:

1.) We could learn from each other as a hip hop collective and push each other to greater heights

2.) I realized that  I do not have enough hours in a day to do all the above and sit down to write a full album on my own….Well at least not one that is at my level of perfection. (I’m a premadonna, and rewrite until every word is perfect, which may make for the best hip hop the Midwest has ever heard, but also takes a long ass time.)

    Now with Dwayne out of the picture and a loose hip hop partnership compiled of Chemist, Mooch, Razer and myself, I was able to come to a large realization about being in a group and working with others.  This big lesson I learned, and a lesson anyone trying to make it in the music industry should know going into the game, is that saying you want to make music and doing it are two entirely different things.  Chemist, although I love the guy, just isn’t producing.  He is stuck in his world of playing video games and computers so much that his beats seem to always be in the “in the works” stage. And he may love freestyling with the crew, but when we mention stage performance, the man turns white as a ghost, which is a pretty amazing feat, considering he is black.  So in all honesty, the Prophet’s hip hop super group may be losing another artist if Chemist keep refusing to step up.  I’m not hating…I’m just being real.

    This leaves Mooch, Razer and me.  But to be honest, Mooch, like Razer, was just going to jump in here and there, not really be a full member.  He has acting gigs and a radio show of his own and honestly, his expertise is really best as a manager and business man.  Let’s be real, you got to play to your strengths, and that is his.  Mooch’s role is to be the group member behind the scenes.

    But this leaves me back at square one…Alone behind the mic.  So like I alluded to earlier, the main advice I encourage all of you reading this to take is that, whether it is music or some other dream, it’s easy for people to say they want something. And it seems like it’s even easier to duck out when the real work starts.  I don’t think any of these guys are trying to hurt me…I’m just saying, I don’t  think they have that drive, that calling to succeed like I do.  Well, I’m also convinced that I can’t let their inability to step up stop me from pursuing my hip hop dreams. I’m gonna keep pushing forward…And I’m never gonna give up.

    So when all is said and done, it looks like Mooch and Razer are the only ones standing at the end of the day, and I am grateful for that, even if they’re not behind the mic where I am.  And mark my words, this is the beginning of something great.

    So where do I go now?  Simple, it’s time to get Razer the RZR back behind the mic with me.  Everyone is right.  When we are just screwing around in the studio, the track is ten times better then the competition.  It’s unique, different and a cut above the rest, and that’s just being real.  I’ll keep Mooch behind the scenes, but the real hip hop super group has got to be a duo–Prophet and Razer. It’s time to enact plan B.  It’s time to show Razer that people flooded the email box requesting his return, and it’s time to drag his ass on a stage.

    Cleveland Hip Hop prepare.  B-Sides, next week on Tuesday May 12th.  Be there!

    Midwest Hip Hop Unite

    Prophet The Rebel here with an update on the best in the Midwest hip hop scene.  First off, I have a question: Who is killing it these days behind the boards and making killer beats?  With Dilla gone, and Kanye not returning my nor Razer’s calls, and Dwayne being a blatant, lying S.O.B., it seemed as though we had our backs against the wall this weekend when Razer and I met up to discuss some things.  It all changed when Razer’s HDTV had issues.  What does Razer’s HDTV have to do with hip hop, you ask?

    Here’s the story.  Razer was talking to this guy he sees everyday at his day job.  Usually they talk about xbox 360 or something else meaningless, but this HDTV issue caused their conversation to change direction a bit.

    Razer: Ya well it sucks.  I won’t be seeing you on xbox live for awhile.  But on the bright side, at least I can focus on my hip hop now.

    New Guy: Uhhh hip hop?  What you mean?

    Razer:  Oh I recently got dragged out of retirement and have decided to help out this guy, Prophet The Rebel, put together the best Midwest Hip Hop CD the world has ever seen.  Now that my HDTV’s dead, I can really focus on making this Cleveland hip hop CD. There’s just one problem…Now that I’m ready to devote all of my extra time into this hip hop project, we’ve had to scrap all of the work we’ve done so far because as luck would have it, we don’t have any beats. I got to start from scratch, and now I’ve got all the free time in the world!

    New Guy: Wait…What do you mean you are out of retirement? What’s your name?

    Razer: Well, I was once known as a lil underground Detroit rapper by the name of Razer.

    New Guy: No! You’re  him?  Wait a minute…If you guys need beats, I make beats, man, and I’d love to help you guys out.

    Cue the sound of angels from upon high complete with their cliché white spotlight.

    Razer: You what!? We need to talk son!

    And that is how we met The Katalyst!  Note: He’s a  great up-and-coming Cleveland producer.

    Just when life could not get any better I get a surprise ring on my cell.

    It was my boy Mooch: Remember the radio show in January?

    Proph: Yes, sir.

    Mooch:  Well The Kameleon wants to help and produce music for you.

    I’ll tell you…Life has a funny way of making things happen right when you need them, huh? Right after that, I made plans to go off to church and Razer headed off to synagogue because we both had some major thanking to do.

    It looks as though my Cleveland Hip hop dreams will be coming true after all. Now with beats in place, it’s time to focus on enacting hip hop plan B!  Razer will join a small super group with Chemist, Mooch and myself! (Insert evil laugh).

    Prophet The Rebel, Razer, Mooch, The Katalyst, Chemist and Kameleon will make hip hop history.  Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit have united.

    Cleveland Hip Hop Love Story: The Sequel

    Proph here interrupting my regular Cleveland Hip Hop updates to drop a post about my personal life…

    I passingly mentioned this earlier but I have met someone.  In school, I have been friends with this beautiful Asian girl, Lucy, for awhile.  We’ve been passing each other in the hallways since freshman year, shot a “hi” back and forth every once in awhile, and for the past year, we’ve talked non-stop on Facebook.  Well, our relationship spilled out from the internet and into real life recently. We began to talk and hang out in the real world.  We found out quickly that we get along in real life just as well as we had on Facebook…For one thing, we really make each other laugh.  And unlike Sara, she is actually supportive of my hip hop dreams.  Lucy’s been behind me 100% in my acting and hip hop careers which is a breath of fresh air these days.

    Well, one night we were chilling at my crib (the fact that she sees where I live and still likes me is special in and of itself), and then in one of those stereo-typical awkward romance movie moments, our friendship became something more.  You know what I’m talking about, right? That silent moment where you stop talking and look in each other’s eyes and get that funny feeling in your pants, errr…stomach.  Before I knew it, we were kissing.  In my head thoughts were racing, but they weren’t really the kind of thoughts you’re average college guy should have…No, Prophet The Rebel has to start thinking:

    What the hell is going on?

    Are we ruining our friendship?

    Could someone actually like me, actually not be using me?

    Do I deserve someone this great?

    This is going to blow up in my face!

    And so on and son on.  I interrupted the moment and had to ask: “Lucy, are you sure you want to do this?  Are you sure this is the right thing for us?”

    “I have never been more sure about something in my life,” she responded.

    The next few days were a little odd, for me at least.  We had those funny, puppy love type conversations: So what are we? Can I see you tonight?  You know…All that crappy love story type stuff.  And I, for the first time in a while began to feel a little joy in my personal life.  But the point of this post isn’t so much to tell you guys I finally have someone. It isn’t to gross you out with my love life; it’s really about me and my messed up view of life.

    See as much as I should be happy that I found someone new, I’m not.  I have been surrounded by what can best be described as poisonous relationships for what seems like more then a lifetime.  Beyond my own messed up love life, my sister, my friends, they all have relationships that involve fighting, cheating or abuse, physical or mental.  I haven’t had a good relationship since I met the love of my life, Anesia, and look how that ended.

    Now I’ll be honest, Razer has quickly become one of my closest friends. Watching him and his wife, Nikki, together has been a breath of fresh air.  To those who know them, you know exactly what I am talking about.  They click as friends, as a couple, as a team.  Sure they have their ups and downs, but they have really given me a new found hope on love and marriage.  If you don’t believe me, check out her Clueless Newlywed Blog, and you’ll see a glimpse of what I’m talking about.

    The point of all this is that being around them makes me want more out of my relationships.  I don’t want to be messing around anymore; I want something solid and lasting.  I want someone I can grow with, someone who makes me a better person.  I want all these games to end and have a fulfilling relationship.  The problem is that as much as Lucy says that what we have is true, and as much fun as I have being around her, I can’t help but hear this voice in the back of my head that says “Proph, don’t get too comfortable.  She will screw you like everyone else.  This will come crashing down like everything else in your life.”

    I know this is wrong.  I know I shouldn’t tell myself that, but I can’t help but think the worst.  I do this about everything, and I can’t seem to break the cycle. Maybe that’s because for me, life has never broke its cycle. When you’ve been shit on as long as I have, it’s tough to believe in yourself.  So as much as I like to believe in “us,” and that my life in general will be get better, a large part of me can’t shake this feeling that failure and pain is right around the corner.

    Any advice will be more than welcome at this point.