Personnel: DJ Premier (scratches).
Audio Mixers: DJ Premier; Parks Valley.
Recording information: DPA Studios, Oak Park, MI; Headqcourterz Studios, New York, NY.
Photographer: Amanda Demme.
This self-titled nine-song album comes charging out of the gate as the first release from PRhyme, a collaborative duo of exceptional East coast hip-hop producer DJ Premier and Eminem protégé Royce da 5'9". Premier's beats supplied a multi-colored backdrop for some of the best tracks made by Notorious B.I.G., Nas, and other huge names in their prime throughout the '90s and early 2000s, not to mention his own masterful group Gang Starr. Across the board, Premier is in top form on PRhyme, supplying moody beats sliced and reconstructed from instrumental recordings made exclusively for the album by multi-instrumentalist Adrian Younge. The effect is pure hip-hop gold, hard beats and throwback organ samples on "Courtesy" sounding like a RZA production from the first few early-'90s Wu-Tang-related albums and the streamlined psychedelic funk of "Wishin'" changing gears to a disorienting half-tempo just in time for a guest verse from Common -- just one of a star-studded list of guest contributions on the album, with Detroit-based rhyme spitter Dwele showing up on the cinematic "You Should Know," Slaughterhouse guesting on "Microphone Preemo," and big names like Killer Mike, ScHoolboy Q, Mac Miller, Jay Electronica, and others joining in as Royce delivers an endless stream of technically precise rhymes. The formula for PRhyme is a simple one of inventively constructed beats and passionate rhyming from all involved. Sounding both effortless and intricately composed at once, PRhyme is an instant classic, and one that sounds better and better as repeated listenings reveal more of the details hiding behind the album's deceptively straightforward approach. ~ Fred Thomas