Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Album review – Percee P – ‘Perseverance’

Indie rap imprint Stones Throw deserves credit for coaxing a debut album out of freestyling Bronx MC Percee P after three decades on the scene. The virtues of pairing him across a whole disc with tasteful beatmaker Madlib are more debatable: mister Lib takes inspiration on ‘Perseverance’ from the theme tunes of sitcoms that aired when Percee was starting out – all cheesy soul, Randy Newman piano licks and what sounds to these ears like a sample of Lindsay Buckingham’s ‘Holiday Road’, as featured on the soundtrack to National Lampoon’s European Vacation. The guest list shows more discretion and style – none of Diamond D, Prince Po, Chali 2na, Vinnie Paz, Guilty Simpson and Aesop Rock sounds out of place.

Percee P wisely ignores the halting, chopped-soul backing beats, delivering head-scrambling polysyllabic rhyme schemes as if he was still working with the fast drums, rumbling basslines and strangled jazz that featured on his early 12” releases. He’s understandably reluctant to narrow his range, covering as many bases as possible – nostalgic, aggressive, cerebral, spiritual, and so on. Occasionally this comes across as shapeless or stale – narrative songs imagining hip hop as a mistreated woman aren’t anything new, and nor are self-regarding trips down memory lane. More often, though – and especially when Madlib can muster some aggression – P’s verbal dexterity, self-belief and composure are enough to carry this welcome, if oddly balanced album. (B+)

More fun:

Unkut’s great T-Ray interview included some rare Percee P tracks.

Buy Perseverance

Stones Throw records

Two videos from Perseverance: ‘Put It On The Line’ has the best visuals:

‘Throwback Rap Attack’ is the better song:

Percee’s classic street battle with Lord Finesse – looks like they spent all day rhyming at each other. Rotten quality, thrilling scenes.

Part 1

Part 2

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