May 30, 2014

With a drone’s blood and a dropped needle, New York’s Prem Rocks the black and white video for “Let Me See Your Tongue.” It’s simple as a subway map, complex as finding a cab in the rain, fit to be the soundtrack to acupuncture consultations across America.

The hirsute and hoodied rapper casts himself in a very short but very worthy lineage. The list of rhymers artfully influenced by Aesop Rock are few. The one-time Def Jukie turned SF transplant is the ultimate model for “Don’t Try This At Home.” There are hundreds of Tumblr rap twats who think they can rap because they think slapping words together is like making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s easy to imitate Drake or Atmosphere, much less someone like Ian Bavitz, whose rhymes are byzantine enough to cover up any trail. There is no list of ingredients you can purchase.

Along with Zilla Rocca, Prem is one of the few that figured out how to make a new style grow out of the apple seeds. It helps when you get a beat from Blockhead, whose beat here channels “None Shall Pass,” at it’s most ominous opium den dance party. I’ve never been to any of those but I’m sure they’re a good time when you can transcend the claustrophobia and silken kimonos. The crates and 808s drums are invoked, as is Aldous Huxley. It’s a stretch to say that this is a whole new world, but it’s certainly bravery well rewarded.

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