PremRock – Mark’s Wild Years (2012)
Album: Mark’s Wild Years
Certain artists just push the thresholds as to what hip hop can do and speak about. PremRock expounds upon many topics with his album, Mark’s Wild Years. And it’s not just what he’s talking about, it’s how he’s talking about it. The wordplay throughout this album is exceptional and the somber tones in PremRock’s voice offer up his thoughts with that much more potency.
But it even does deeper than that, Mark’s Wild Years is a re-rendering of Tom Waits music. If you are wondering who Tom Waits is, you are not alone. I too have my head buried in hip hop and not dabbled in many more genres. In researching this project for my review I found that this Tom Waits character is a pretty eclectic musician whose gravelly voice saunters over rock/blues/jazz rhythms with a variety of different topics.
In discovering this was a hip hop rendering of Waits’ works it made it even more special because the creativity to conjure this album became more evident. Tango Till You’re Sore is a song where PremRock tells the listener ‘to leave your cares’ outside of the headphones and enjoy this music. The horns and piano keys coupled with the drums make this track both compelling and entertaining.
On the single Temptation, producer Zilla Rocca takes you into a black and white movie with his production. PremRock and Billy Woods drop clever bars with intricate word play. I was especially impressed with Woods’ part of the verse where he integrates Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens football references. Jeanette Berry is the lovely and sultry voice behind the chorus that seems to reference yesteryear. When you hear this song, you can’t help but reference smoke filled jazz clubs.
A Soldier’s Things is a very short track but so very worth mentioning and talking about. PremRock’s best wordplay can be heard in this song that goes just over a minute and a half. He drops quick thoughts about what might be going on in a soldier’s head. Those thoughts range being in the moment and in the field to the hopes and expectations when he gets home. You can not spend a minute and a half anymore productively than by listening to this cut. Check a quick stanza or two:
…This one’s for the bravery / This one is for me / Everything will cost a dollar, but the violence is free / Now this old knife is rusted and my old life is distant / Even cold nights I’m taught how to hold tight position / Knitted the inscription on the fabric I’ve enlisted / This madness I have shifted to a walking contradiction…
The last song that I will touch on is perhaps my favorite, Dirt In The Ground. What an appropriate way to end the album. We all, eventually will be returning to dirt in the ground. I love how the production incorporates the voice of Waits’ in the background giving this joint even more deserving soul. Once again check some of PremRock’s wordplay:
Take a quill from the buzzard / Write me down a word / Yes or no will death occur / We all know the answer is yes / The unavoidable departure from flesh / And now Cain slew Able, did him in with the stone / Am I my brother’s keeper or should I leave him alone? / A tale as old as the scroll it’s printed on / We’re all on a plot when we’re finished and gone
You can add this track to the playlist I want at my Wake. (That was perhaps too morbid. Oh well.)
When you combine the artistic merit of using material attributed to the music of Tom Waits and lyrical abilities of PremRock, you reach no other conclusion than outstanding. Mark’s Wild Years is a project that separates itself from the pack of other releases in 2012 because either no one is attempting music like this, or no one is capable. You can take your pick, but PremRock continues to push his creativity to new heights.