Craig is retired Performing Musician and Actor. He contributes various musings for Circus Bazaar.
[dropcap size=big]Y[/dropcap]ear of the Rayza is as diverse lyrically as it is musically. Laden with rich samples, rhythmical vocals and a lot to discuss over 17 tracks, Prophet Rayza presents the Australian Hip-Hop community with a benchmark for 2014.
Following a fitting opening dialogue from the intro ‘Birth of a Star’, ‘Fire’ provides a starting point from which the rest of the album follows, exemplary lyrics, vocal mastery and sample heavy, high quality production. There is a keyboard solo that works well in it’s own right, as well as over the lyrics.
‘I Give You Something’ is a beat that pumps direct to your cerebral cortex, scholarly lyrics that provide an example of PRs ability to manipulate the English language. This is followed by ‘My Pen (follow the leader)’ These tracks are lyrically reminiscent of the beat nicks writing on reams of continuous paper. Superbly crafted pros hung above a sample heavy head rocking beat with strategic cuts and turntables exactly where they need to be.
There is an interesting use of a harpsichord sampled in the ‘The Rhyme Writer of Rapland’ which just works nicely and contributes to the diverse range of sounds and samples. There is a quirky fictitious story told here, pay attention. ‘Trust That’ is a reminder that life is not always sweet and we can if we let ourselves become complicit to the expectations of a meaningless life instilled upon us by a capitalist approach to democracy.
‘The Life I Live’ is a reminder and self-fulfilling prophecy stating the intent and purpose of why and what PR sets out to achieve in this industry and life itself. Lyrically it is laced with some metaphorical questions. This track will remind those self-loathing individuals that there are positive outcomes if you apply yourself in life. It is clear that for PR ‘writing is generative’ process. ‘Side by Side’ is a subtle smooth trip that reminiscent of ‘Assata’s Song’ from Sleeping with the Enemy by Paris. PRs raps are complemented in a most soulful fashion with vocals provided by Shoshana Bean.
The drum rolls that have been written into the main sequence of ‘On These Beats’ provides a refreshing approach when considering how to change things up from a standard hip-hop beat. Revitalising lyrics wrap themselves around each second of this track. ‘Super Raze’ maintains the consistence lyrically and musically while providing additional diversity to the LP.
Preceded by the skit ‘The Waiting Room’, it is ‘Critical Condition that highlights a widely accepted state of affairs in the Hip-Hop community – Hip-Hop may well be in a critical condition. This track and entire LP is a reminder that in the hands of artists like PR hip-hop will survive the onslaught of meaningless commercialism. PRs vocals are tight, rhythmical and well timed.
As the tile suggests ‘I Be About’ outlines PRs personal ideologies, frameworks and the influences from which he forms the foundation for his approach to life. For a younger impressionable mind there is much to reflect on. This track is particularly refreshing to hear, an MC outlining the foundations and asking us all to reflect on ourselves on the influences in our lives.
‘Listen’ presents an interesting conversational style of rapping starting with PR followed by his sons response. This is a thoughtful concept and highlights an artist who is not only aware and mindful of his own place in life but can see other peoples point of view, and I am sure Is ready to challenge some points of view. Another scholarly rap ‘High Science’ highlights the links between maths, music, melody, neuroscience, and plays on words with the mastery of a student who has earned a PhD in English. ‘Wait On You’ takes the LP to it’s conclusion. With a pleasing minor inspired soulful tune PR resonates on the Mic and tells it like it is. There is a narrative here that is worth paying attention to.
Prophet Rayza presents an incomparable example of Australian Hip-Hop – high quality production, lyrics and vocals with beats that are diverse and true to form.
France’s vocals are intent, holistic and purposeful. The lyrics are as they need to be, at times urgent, also reflective, on time or in the moment. The writing is mature and scripted and leaves openings for improvisation. The old school...