It took me years to get into hip hop. I, like many stupid people, believed it was all the same ‘crap’ and that there was no soul in it. Dear lord was I wrong. Today it’s my favorite genre and the musician ProleteR is a perfect test case of why.
Who is ProleteR?
ProleteR’s a French producer and beat maker who just released his fourth EP, Life Playing Tricks, on May 19th. His past projects have produced songs I’ve come to love including the piece May Flowers.
It’s impossible for me to hear this song and not bob my head along with the beat. It’s just so incredibly fun and unique, traits of many ProleteR songs. So without further adieu, let’s see if he keeps the magic going in ‘Life Playing Tricks’.
The EP starts with Destiny, which was released as a single about a year before the EP itself. It retains the classic ProleteR feel fans have come to love. Well balanced sound levels, unique chord progressions, and above all unique vocal samples.
One thing to note when listening to ProleteR, and a lot of artists in this type of hip-hop, is to not always treat vocals as something separate from the music. Don’t try to understand what they’re saying, instead view vocal tracks as another type of instrument in the orchestra he’s put together.
The song is another upbeat head-bobbing classic that will put a smile on the lips of any hip hop fan.
Alone After All
Alone After All, as the name would suggest, begins much slower than Destiny but quickly picks up its predecessor’s energy. This piece is a showcase for ProleteR’s ability to “toss the ball around the room”. It transitions from focusing on piano samples to vocals, to horns, without ever missing a beat.
When all these finally give way to percussion it only serves as another step in the song’s development, scratches, and flutes carrying it forward.
When you replace an ‘s’ with a ‘z’, your listeners are going to be expecting a lot. Badass Girlz does not disappoint. There is a beautiful blend of different sounds, and the piece brings the era of funk back to life with a ProleteR twist.
Instead of leaving it here, ProleteR takes it one step further. Halfway through the piece, the song slows down, allowing ProleteR to build it back up once more. There is a switch of focus from classic funk to more modern guitar for a few moments, but the steady background instruments hold the song together, creating yet another smooth transition.
Circus starts off reminding me of “The Misfit Song” from his Curses of Past Times EP. Once the beat itself enters though it’s easy to see why the song is called Circus. “Circus themed music is catchy” isn’t something I’ve ever planned on writing, but he’s certainly found a way to make it true.
He is also able to keep it just balanced enough so that the circus vibe isn’t overwhelming. After the seemingly perfect number of bars, he switches the focus to a French (I’m guessing) Singer so listener’s don’t grow bored with the tune. While not my favorite piece from the EP, it’s still a lot of fun to listen to and keeps a varied tone on the album.
If someone were to ask me what a quintessential ProleteR piece is, I think this is the song from the album I’d point to. It has a fun foot tapping beat, it has these unique vocal samples, and it has instrumentals that make me smile. Perhaps more importantly for me, I can’t predict how the piece will progress.
The song remains varied within itself, never sticking with one theme too long. Despite this, he ensures that it feels like it’s one whole piece, not a number of smaller songs stapled together.
The Missing Piece
To close out the album, ProleteR slows it down. It really does feel like it has been the Missing Piece in the EP. A song for quiet reflection over the album as a whole. I will say the song does feel a bit heavy on the left ear at times, making it come across in some bars as a bit unbalanced.
Despite this, I still feel love for the song, and for the entire EP as a whole.
Out of all of the bands and musicians I listen to, ProleteR has always been king of bringing a smile to my lips with his songs. The Life Playing Tricks EP continues this tradition in strong fashion. From the dancing Moonlight Jive to the bobbing and stamping of Badass Girlz, ProleteR’s love comes through in each song.
Whether you’re a hip-hop head or someone just starting out in the genre, Life Playing Tricks is a great way to see what this music can really do.