It is so satisfying seeing artists who have been making music for years and decades, release their most complete, eclectic and cohesive projects to date. This is the case with PremRock’s new album Load Bearing Crow’s Feet. Listening to it for the first time, I was truly immersed in his sound and intricate wordplay, eclectic and intense lyricism. The New York-based artist has really exceeded all expectations on this album, with colourful, dense and drum-heavy production, as well as politically and socially charged lyrics, with the wit and intellect of Backwoodz Studio’s very own billy woods, and a sound as eclectic and immersive as ELUCID’s. Released on Backwoodz Studios, the project is mixed and mastered by Willie Green (everything he is involved in is top, top quality), while production is handled by Denmark Vessey, Small Professor, BrainOrchestra, Messiah Musik, Fresh Kils, Zilla Rocca, and Prem himself. As mentioned, its such an immersive listen, and one I’m excited to speak about.
Kicking things off is the atmospheric “Reductive” featuring Zilla Rocca and Curly Castro. Both Curly Castro and PremRock kill it with their dynamic, free-flowing and intricate verses that, if I’m honest, I still need loads more time to fully digest. Tracks like “Next Left” and “Exchange Rate” bring dynamic, raw and almost tribal rhythms that pulsate throughout the dense and heavy drumming that allow for PremRock to just flow and talk his shit. Themes throughout the album vary from more political and socially conscious commentary to more abstract, often philosophical raps that make for an intriguing listen. On “REMORSE” featuring ELUCID on the hook is this rumbling, bass-heavy track that sees PremRock talk on issues of a crumbling economy, the detriment of capitalism and the politics of power, which ties into the the title of the record and the hook “Remorse is just a stones throw away”. “Apollo Kids Meal” has these disorienting horn melodies that are complemented by this groovy, bass-driven beat, and incredible vivid verses from PremRock, who shares this incredible second verse, that if I can describe it is any way, is about this guy who shares his fears, both rational and irrational, on society around him. His thoughts just flow on the page of this melodic and colourful instrumental. He lets his train of thought guide you through his conscious thinking, and he articulates his thoughts effortlessly. “Joel Osteen” is one of my favourite tracks on the album. Featuring Aj Suede and Curly Castro (with whom he forms the duo ShrapKnel), the track has this bouncy, colourful beat that sees all three emcees bring their A-game. Joel Osteen, for those who don’t know, is a American pastor and televangelist who is also known for locking his church doors from people affected by Hurricane Harvey back in 2017. He was referenced more explicitly by PremRock in his verse, who ties him in with the wider themes of political corruption, social imbalances and inequalities, among other things. Joel Osteen, like other politicians and other leaders, closed his door to folks in need, and this greed and selfishness is why a lot of people are suffering. Curly Castro’s verse was a complete highlight for me, he always brings the heat to any feature or track in general. Going back to PremRock though, his world is always fascinating to me, and there are moments, quoteables that are just so great. On “Prairie Burn”, he states “I asked her please describe my weakness in a sentence / she said ‘that’s easy you’re an idealist, I repent it'”. For some reason that bar hit me, because I was thinking damn, in this age of the internet and constant willingness to measure success or merit by quantifiable metrics, we tend to lose focus on reality as it exists, rather wanting to see things for what we want them to and constantly pushing towards external goals that don’t actually give us any real fulfillment or value. And we’re taken advantage of. It’s quite a lot to take on board, and “If on a Winter’s Night” captures all this perfectly. FIELDED’s haunting vocal feature is stunning, and the mystic instrumental captured by the eerie key melody makes for such a mesmeric listen. Thumping drums provide the groove, and PremRock’s introspective and reflective lyrics about staying up on a long winter’s night, contemplating the meaning of life, the world around him. He’s quite philosophical at heart, so his ability to articulate his thoughts with clarity is so admirable. It’s quite a fitting way to close out the album.
I know I haven’t talked about quite a large part of the album, there’s a lot to digest, but each track is a gem, and together, the album flows with incredible fluidity. Load Bearing Crow’s Feet is a dense, intricate body of work that is instrumentally lavish and varied, with beats that sound equally as ethereal and lavish as they do heavy and disorienting. It’s one of the most fascinating albums I’ve listened to this year, and one I will definitely study more this year. And hey, I may come back and write a more detailed, in-depth review in the future, maybe? Go support this incredible new project!