Prelude 2 Procrastination, the debut EP by Black Root, is a breath of fresh air. From beatboxing to emceeing, to singing, go-go to blues to hip-hop, the album is replete with hotness. We were blessed to sit down with Black Root and Wendel Patrick, who produced the album, for a conversation about being artists, how this project happened, what stereotypical is, and integrity among artists.
This article is written in 3 parts. The first is simple- an album review. In parts 2 and 3, we will dissect the interview, and some of the issues that came out of it. So, without further procrastination, the album…..
It starts with an introduction that surprises me because I was not expecting so much- so MUCH. Prelude 2 Procrastination is that funny commentary on the project itself. Wendel Patrick’s production, starting with the ridiculous beatbox and harmonies that create the track to the title piece- I won’t even START with the inclusion of a didgeridoo.
Let me back up to…. the album artwork itself. Between Tya Anthony ‘s photography and Stan Robinson’s graphic design, it is clear that Black Root is very concerned with the quality of his presentation- no wonder he procrastinated; sometimes quality takes time, lol! Yeah, I had to make that quick note- now back to the album.
Rock 2 It takes you UP! The intricate lyrics, coupled with a RIDICULOUS track that reminds me of Jimmy Hendrix and Prince shedding with some bad ass musicians in a basement just because they feel like making music. Why? Because Quinton Randall, one of my FAVORITE guitarists EVER (he doesn’t know it though) is SLAYING the riff. The lyrics are distributed to the populous and make you rock 2 it, like he says. Black Root throws in wisdom, like knowing where your money is going, working out, disagreeing peaceably, and recognizing that the sky is the limit. There’s more- being an emcee versus “rapping” and- nah, I’ll let you listen to it to get all of the magic. The boom bap is unmistakably hip hop, but the musicianship and talent is beyond genres.
PG Representative actually reminds me of Substantial, for two reasons- one, the obvious, these emcees truly represent for Prince George’s County (that’s what the PG is, for New Yorkers, and pretty much everybody not from the DMV). Next, the hop skip and jumping that happens over the beat while giving you something to move to and think about. And… let me not forget the list of almost all things PG (Parasuco’s, go-go, and more)! Make sure you listen until the end to hear a virtual who’s who of the arts scene in Baltimore…
And then he sings. My Mom’s Hands, a blues tinged ode to the lessons and methods Black Root’s mom imparted,reveals a surprise- Black Root can sing! His voice is smooth and deep, extremely masculine yet filled with the emotion of a heart filled with adoration and respect. His mom’s hands clearly helped to mold this brother, who identifies as a father, husband, cousin, brother, grandson, nephew, friend, rapper/emcee, teaching artist, musician, and personal trainer. She urged him to police himself, which he does- you can always seek council from him from a man’s perspective and know that the response is well thought out, unbiased, and honest.
The final track of this EP- I Be is a return to the Black Root that I initially heard of- the spoken word artist. He runs through the gammut of non-cliche metaphors that will kill your entire paragraph with his thesis statement. It’s a one-way ticket to a dictionary if you are not well-read, and it might take you a few months to realize how intricate and well-thought out the verses are- his turns a computer keyboard and social media hotspots into nouns, verbs, and direct objects, and gives punctuation lessons in the same rhyme! I do wish the tongue twister led to an entire song- I rocked that much 2 it!
The five-track EP makes you wish he wasn’t procrastinating the full release- but you can play it on repeat until he does. Give thanks to Black Root for making good music!
Make sure to return for parts 2 and 3!