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.

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!

    My Hip Hop Ship is Sinking

    I cannot believe this! Even more shit is going down right now!

    After the B-side debut, I decided to focus on recording some more, which is something I have been steadily doing behind the scenes for the past few weeks (with Razer’s help of course!).

    We have been working our ass off lately polishing tracks. We’re now 5 songs deep! I went last night to get some paperwork and rights signed off on by Dwayne, and he said we can’t use any of his music.  Apparently, he’s pissed, and I’m not sure why. I think he had hoped it would just be Prophet and Dwayne. Now that Razer’s been helping out a lot on the side, he’s not happy.

    I can’t believe he is doing this! We’ve been so incredibly busy writing material for those beats, and now Dwayne wants to take it all away?!?!  What’s more…He is super pissed that I have decided to ditch the gangsta fab direction that he originally wanted.

    Razer, Chemist and I came up with a plan though. Instead of getting all upset about this, we are going to call him tomorrow and try to bring him more into the hip hop scene.  We figure we can sign him as a solo artist and promise him some studio time.  This way, he doesn’t have to feel left out, and then hopefully, he won’t be so pissy anymore about the situation. You know, we scratch his back and give him some mic time, so then he can scratch our backs by sharing his beats.

    I just hope he agrees to this plan cause he owns 75% of the music for this album…

    Rap Must Have Beef!

    “Proph, we need to talk.”

    It was the first thing I heard when I answered my cell phone tonight. Just because Proph took a step back from the beats for a bit didn’t mean that Dwayne and Chemist did too.

    Apparently, Dwayne and Chemist aren’t seeing eye to eye on my solo Prophet Album. (I’m sure you remember awhile back when the three of us decided to end the Alumni  Elites and focus on my solo hip hop project instead?) Well, now Dwayne isn’t into Chemist’s Midwest beats and style, and Chemist ain’t into the whole ghetto fab gangsta rap music Dwayne wants to make. So now Chemist is holding his beats for a duo Prophet-Chemist project, and Dwayne is threatening to hold all of his  beats exclusively for himself.

    Hello?! Anyone care about my opinion?

    I love all music.  I don’t give a damn about this supposed “sound” Dwayne and Chemist are trying to forge for me. I don’t care what genre it is as long as the music is good.  Why does hip hop always got to be this or that!?  Why can’t each song stand on its own? Why can’t an album be diverse instead of the same old cookie-cutter crap?!  Rock music takes risks sometimes, so why can’t hip hop and rap?  I mean come on…People download on a song by song basis these days now anyways.

    Everyone has an idea of what is or isn’t hip hop.  Apparently, this music game is now more about Prophet The Rebel’s image, as opposed to his rapping and free styling talent.  How will Prophet dress? How will Prophet sound? Prophet The Rebel needs to make this kind of hip hop. No, people don’t want to hear that kind of hip hop, they want to hear this kind of hip hop.  This is what Cleveland rap is supposed to sound like.  This is what’s hot in the Midwest.

    I say: ENOUGH!

    I wanna transcend all genres.  I’m versatile enough to do anything, and I don’t need to be backed into only one corner.  I wanna rebel against it all, (hence the name people)!  I wanna make music that has killer hooks, killer rhymes and killer meaning.  The hell with having to sound like this or that! Screw staying in the tired gangsta rap genre.  Screw hating on radio-friendly music just cause it ain’t underground enough.  I wanna make music…good, meaningful music. Am I the only one who feels like this?! Cause Chemist and Dwayne think I’m crazy.

    Enough about me, drop a comment and tell me how your life is going in 09. Me? I’m a bit tired of mine already.  Plus, comments make me feel like people listen to me. Show me some love!

    Midwest Showdown: A Cleveland Hip Hop Standoff

    Cleveland weather ain’t the only thing that’s unpredictable. I got to be honest, Prophet the Rebel had a crazy week but what else is new, right?  Who said being the best in the Midwest would be easy?! Hell at this point, whoever said doing anything in this hip hop game would be easy?

    We all got together the other night to rap, and lets just say Alumni Elites imploded.  Picture this, a small apartment with Chemist on the PC, Dwayne on the mic and me sitting on the couch with two friends.  We are having a good time when in the middle of Dwayne’s freestyle, Chemist mutters in an undertone something like “Wow gangsta rap again, yeah, you’re real hot shit!”  Dwayne stopped, ripped off the headphones, looked at Chemist and said “What the f@$k is that supposed to mean?”  The room just froze as they stared at each other.  (You could cut the tension in the air with a knife.)

    Chemist fired back, “I know you think you don’t need us, so why are you here?”  That’s when Dwayne shot me that look like you told him, you bastard.  After that, all hell broke loose.  It all came out how Dwayne wanted to drop the group, how him and I were the only thing good in the group, how Chemist ain’t finishing his end of the beats and the rest of our dirty laundry.  A few times I thought some blows were bout to be traded all in the name of hip hop.

    Needless to say, the Midwest will never hear from Alumni Elites as a group, but you’ll still hear something because we broke off into individual hip hop artists instead.  When the dust settled, Dwayne was not happy about my squashing the rap duo talk, but we did agree to work on a new music partnership.  It’s mainly Chemist and Prophet now working on 3/4 of a solo project.  The two of us are going to get working now.   By the time, I’m done typing this all out, Chemist should have some beats for me to get started. So I’m going to head upstairs and start recording today!

    So really, what used to be a group project is now a Prophet the Rebel solo hip hop album.  Keep in mind though that Dwayne’s still in the picture, and he’s going to let me use half his beats for my solo album, and Chemist will produce the other half. It’s all on my shoulders now to write some original hip hop music.  Cleveland’s style of gangsta rap is just not for me so they best prepare for something fresh and new.  I guess this may mean a bit less writing for the blog, and more writing lyrics. I promise to keep the blog updated though.

    I’m going head first into this rap music to help me get over my ex and make my life better.  I have something to prove to her and myself.  Hell yeah, I can’t believe I’m doing this.  In fact, as long as you aren’t too critical, I’ll post a song on my newly minted Prophet The Rebel MySpace page next week.   It won’t be a song proper. It’ll just be a one time freestyle take over on one of my friend’s beats.  That way you can put a voice with the pretty face.  When it’s up, keeping in mind it’s just a quick take, please email me with your criticism.  I better run, Proph out.

    NUTHIN BUT THE TRUTH: The Road to Hip Hop No Where

    I failed to mention this before, but at school I forged a really great friendship with this guy, Randy aka Mooch.  Aside from my boy, Perry, who is in the Navy, Mooch is the closest thing I have to a brother these days.

    Mooch pulled me aside today for a heart-to-heart with me.  I was kind of shocked and not exactly sure where this was coming from, but what he said needed to be said.

    “Proph, you’ve got serious talent–rapping and acting.  I see a star in you every time you take that stage.  You’re outshining the veterans around here.  And your freestyles, are not just unique, they are absolutely killing anything I’ve heard lately.  Hell, the hip hop freestyling you did on the radio show caused my cell to blow up with calls from people asking about you.  You are probably one of the best emcees in Cleveland, no in the Midwest, and yet you still haven’t done a thing, not even a single song. It’s been just talk.  Your life is stagnant and last semester you were failing classes too.  I could understand if you were working more or if you were in the booth recording more, but you aren’t doing any of that!  What’s your excuse?  Why are you failing school?  Where the hell is this album?  We are all getting older man and if you don’t take advantage of life now, it will pass you by.  I have connections. I can manage you, get you gigs. I can help, but you have to get things rolling.  I don’t want to see you waste your life and talent.  Hip Hop needs someone like you right now.  More importantly, you need you right now, or at least the you that’s ready to step up.”

    He was right…No, he is right!  I walked home last night motivated, but depressed.  I gave up so much to be where I am right now, and here is still nowhere.  My career is dependent on others, who have yet to step up to the plate.  I can see what I want. I just don’t know how to get it.  I’m getting to the age where I don’t have the time to figure this all out. Will I be Isaiah Isaac,the aspiring hip hop artist for the rest of my life? Or will I be the hip hop artist, Prophet The Rebel?  (Is this what they call a quarter life crisis? If it is, this sucks!)

    I walked around town for an extra hour tonight (in the rain) instead of going into my place.  I needed time to think, and I couldn’t take another night of useless freestyles and battles that move us nowhere closer to an album. Let alone, thinking about my recent girl problems. After all that thinking, this is where I stand…I need to find something to light a fire under my boys’ asses.  I need us all moving in the same direction and to strive to be Cleveland’s best hip hop group–to producing the best music the Midwest rap scene has ever scene,to being the very best in this game.  I know it’s in us but I have no idea how to inspire others.  I thought my recent sacrifices would do that, but so far, they haven’t. I can’t force people to make something. My hands are tied.  I need them to succeed. I need a partner who will work as hard as me, and instead I have a bunch of people more interested in playing video games and chilling than making music.  I’m starting to feel a bit screwed. I guess you could say that I’m a Prophet who’s looking for a savior.

    P.S.- I have to admit though, Sarcastica’s faith and comments do go a long way in keeping my head above water, so she deserves a big thank you and shout out.  Now go read Sarcastica’s blog people!  (It’s less chaotic then mine, only slightly, but it’s much more interesting.)

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