Published on May 7th, 2014 | by Retro19200
Prez P: Prezidential Succession
In 2010, Prez P and managers G-Wag and Gutta (G&G Management) decided to attack the music industry full-fledged. Three years later hard work would reap its benefits, leading Prez P on a remarkable journey in 2013. This year, Prez is conditioning himself to be the man and he is acting accordingly.
Five maybe ten minutes have gone by and Prez P is still content with standing. He is waiting in front of a golden trimmed door. In the backdrop is a tall man who introduces himself as G-Wag, one of Prez P’s managers. The two are the first ones to show up to performance rehearsals, six hours before Prez is scheduled to perform.
We are waiting for a guy by the name of Munch to open the door to the venue. Prez P embodies a calm demeanor. His body language and facial expressions convey his grace and optimism. Prez shows no signs of exhaustion, which is admirable considering the fact that a few days ago the music hopeful was in Austin, Texas for South by Southwest.
A few minutes go by and a few band members show up. Munch eventually pops up out of the crowd and makes his way to the front door. Munch greets us and then invites us into Avenue D – a secret underworld of nostalgia found in the narrow streets of the Miami Jewel District. At first glance, we are immediately transported into the speak easy prohibition and Jazz Age style lounges of the 1920′s. Blown up event posters are plastered onto wood canvas walls. The black and white posters are actual event flyers of performances for Loui Armstrong and Late 50′s and early 60′s musicians Jackie Wilson, Etta James, and James Brown. As we walk further down the corridor and make a left, we stumble across the main stage.
As Munch prepares sound equipment, I ask Prez P and G-Wag about the emergence of Miami artists connecting with one another in the Hip-Hop scene. I speculate whether or not the scene in South Florida could become as effective as the current platform on the West Coast.
“Miami artists were seeing and observing the strengths and connections in the game,” says Prez P. “We’re seeing each other outside of the state [when we perform] and we’re cliquing up. We felt it was time to bring that same love back to the city,” Prez states. “I’ve done stuff outside of Florida…. Atlanta, Texas, Cali.. New York. You ever heard of the Boiler Room in New York?”
Prez fills me in on this contemporary landmark in the New York music scene. What he adds to the conversation is parallel to what we discussed earlier about the West Coast and the Hip-hop landmark in Detroit – The Detroit Shop. Prez begins to share an encounter on his experience at the Boiler Room. He focuses on the audience, how innovative and conscious they are of culture – down to the way they dress, and how receptive they are of the music.
“When we are down here though, we’re about building relations and pioneering sound and culture… for Miami,” says Prez. “That’s what we’re trying to do down here.”
Before sound check Prez P is greeted by J Nics, a staple in the underground scene and it was only fitting for him to arrive after our conversation. Nics’ tall frame is thinned by a black shirt with the numbers “3:05″ in a small red digital font similar to an alarm clock. The two immediately embrace one another and Nics confirms that he will be in attendance for tonight’s show.
After talking to Prez P for a few minutes, Nics departs momentarily. Prez P begins to recline on one of the many black leather couch components connected throughout the entire floor area of the venue. Prez is in a pair of cotton shorts and a black tee – a relaxed fit. His wardrobe set with a pair of concord Jordan 11′s. Munch is almost done placing the finishing touches on set props, lighting, and sound equipment.
G-Wag signals Prez P over and reaches in a book bag to reveal a hardcopy of The Ambiance. Prez grabs the hardcopy from G-Wag and hands it over to me. We discuss digital downloading platforms and where he is headed with the traditional format of having fans pay for a retail copy (digital or physical) of his work.
“You know I was thinking of putting it [The Ambiance] on iTunes,” states Prez P. “But I decided to release it another way. I’m not poor. Even if I was you know I’d do this if I didn’t have money and I’ll do it when I get money. It’s something I love to do.”
Prez P does have ambitions to release a retail album when the time is right. He would like to work under a nice size budget and feels it would be more appropriate to release a retail effort when the canvas, along with its audience, is on a larger scale. Throughout our conversation he consistently uses the title Prezidential to refer to his first potential retail album.
While staring at the stage set up for tonight’s performance, Prez P admits he has affinity for live shows. We come to an agreement that a 15 minute set does not give the audience enough time to interact with the artist and the music. Prez continues to express his anticipation to perform tonight, possibly filled by Munch’s gratitude.
“I’m looking forward to longer sets and touring more.” Prez P says. “I’m excited about tonight though. I’m sharing the stage with Ransooo and Phresh James for Cheers, a freestyle tape made with producer The Pyramids. We made the project in 48 hours. 3 tracks one day and 3 the next.”
Munch signals Prez P over to the stage for rehearsals and a brief sound check. Prez P grabs the mic with care, as if it was a newborn baby. His grip is firm but loose enough to keep his mind off holding a mic. Prez has a keen sense of hearing and listening. He begins to float across the stage, paying great attention to how he sounds and how others will perceive his vocals. His focus on his cadence and delivery comes off naturally and for this reason his voice doesn’t take long to be leveled.
None of Prez P’s magic on beat – through recordings, or off beat – through conversation and aura, are lost during rehearsals. His ambiance resonates during live performances.
Prez P has inherited a way of communicating and a way of being that is kismet. His voice is smooth and filled with conviction. His awe-inspiring humility shines more light toward his art and his causes, rather than to himself. If you look closely, you can see Prez knows he is destined to be the heir to some distinct platform for his generation. At the current moment, the platform he uses is music and he serves the people as if it was his birthright. And as for the people, well they show nothing but gratitude. After sound check, G-Wag tells me it’s time to head to his business partner’s house.
We both sit down and I ask Prez P to define the title of his latest project, The Ambiance. “The Ambiance is all the environments I’ve been in, from my point of view,” says Prez P. “Of course yeah And my aura.. it’s going to try to be wherever I’m at. If I move through a room, I feel like my aura is just a long trail, you know? Everybody I come in contact with is going to be able to take something from my personality. When I leave the room, they’ll still remember me.” Prez focuses on his choice of words. “I know everybody has an aura. Everybody has their vibe. It’s more than their personality.. it’s like the effect of the personality. it’s felt from people.”
Prez P’s title is fitting. Shortly after his first solo effort DreamSucceeDie, Prez P left a lasting impression on two pioneers in the Hip-Hop community. The momentum of Prez P’s debut solo project steamrolled into 2013. By the end of the first quarter, Prez was able to check off the likes of a first solo project, proper syndication of visuals for his single “As I Ride By,” a lasting impression on Pharrell Williams, and living a dream of any young emcee – being on MTV and interviewed by none other than Sway Calloway. He topped his remarkable journey in 2013 by taking a road trip to Texas for South by Southwest.
“Well Pharrell I met him at his book signing for Places & Spaces I’ve Been at Bal Harbor… we thought we were going to be late… We were the last people security let get in,” says Prez P. “Which was cool because I knew with us being last we were going to get a chance to talk to him. I had my old tape at the time, and I was trying to give him that tape, but he was like naw the store is not letting me accept anything musically.” Prez explains as if the encounter is a fresh painting that is still wet and hasn’t had time yet to dry. “I was really just happy to meet him. I love everything Pharrell ever did, like all the collabs he ever did were smart to me and I was just telling him he’s dope. He’s one of the dopest. And he was like naaaa it’s nothing man you’re dope too… you just got to make them see it. And he was just giving me a lot of good little jewels like low key hidden jewels.”
“And we talked for a little bit, took pictures, and before we left I remembered I had a pin on me .. like I didn’t remember and then I was like I should give him the pin. I gave it to him and he was like oh yeah for sure,” Prez says. “And when I gave it to him, I was walking away and he was really putting it on his jacket.”
“And then like a month later. This girl was hitting me up on twitter like ‘Yo did you see this crazy shit?…Go on UpscaleHype.com Pharrell got your pin on in the LAX. He got my pin, still got it on months later?’ I checked the post and saw it on his jacket. Then I saw him again in a picture months later with him Kendrick and T.I. and I was like damn this dope, Pharrell still got this pin on his jacket.”
Prez P was just as shocked, but what was most important to him was the messages left behind.
“Little things like that are cool to me. Of course I would love to work with him. I would love to sit in the studio with him for the whole day and make a whole bunch of stuff,” says Prez. “But he gave me some good pointers and taught me to keep it humble a little bit more. I mean he’s humble. He has everything and he’s still humble. I model myself after him in that regard too, in that asset.”
A couple months later Prez would be featured on MTV’s Rap Fix “Get in The Game” hosted by Sway Calloway. Prez P was interviewed by Sway and the host was accompanied by special guests Raekwon and Ab-Soul. Prez’s single, “As I Drive By” premiered on the show and Prez had the opportunity to interact with Sway and his guests, receiving feedback on his single from each person in the room.
Prez continues to build on his relationship with Sway, meeting the host in person a few times after being a guest on the show. Prez later expressed his gratitude and was conscious of both events occurring in a subsequent fashion.
In a similar manner, Prez’s aura immensely ricochets between artists and the community in South Florida. We talk about Prez’s influence in the community and I express how refreshing it is to hear his message on “I Understand” a featured verse for local rapper The Kid.
“He [The Kid] just came at me with the song and I felt what he was saying and I kind of fed off that… and we were both talking to the community young boys and stuff you know? And it was weird too because when we were shooting the video, some kids just came through, they were just gravitated to what we were doing… and saw we were rapping. These boys were from right around the area. I was like damn, I wondered if they’re really listening to what I’m really saying and what’s going on right now… or they just think it’s cool that rappers on the block. You know what I’m saying? Because that’s kind of who I’m talking to on the song. Young cats that’s like coming up, or like trying to get through the game or coming through the hood. It was kind of weird but kind of cool…. It was in overtown. I’m not from there… but it was cool to connect with real life people from there.”
Prez P’s collaborations, outside of his own body of work, are easily accessible on soundcloud and YouTube. Collaborators who work with Prez P have shot visuals for their work including: The Kid on “I Understand”, YNG on “It’s Up To Her,” Lil Champ and J Nics who accompany Prez P on “Rollin’ Clean”, Phresh James on “Timeless”, and most recently Phresh James and Prez P have collaborated for a record titled “Galaxies.” These are just the collaborations with visuals. Another notable collaboration is a powerhouse record Prez P recorded alongside J Nics, Lil’ Champ, Ransooo Rockchild, Denzel Curry, and Sean Buck titled “Seven.”
Prez P has shown the ability to stay true to himself while adding his own energy, presence, and sound to any canvas. This is refreshing at a time where hip-hop artists have a tendency to cater to another artist’s sound, changing their own appeal for what they perceive to be an accommodation to the record.
“I try to be that guy. I try to model myself as that dude, rather than limit myself to not want to do the song whether its from pride or some shit I won’t let that stop me because only good music can come from it. And then you can learn from anyone or like anybody you meet you can learn something from them. So why not learn more? Even if it could be a negative thing but its still a lesson at the end of the day. I always want to work with people, especially creative people that like making music. I know it’s not just an easy task. Even if it’s a lot of rappers. But It doesn’t matter to me.”
“I still look at it like we are a community of people. This is our contribution to the whole village. We are the musicians we need to be able to call each other for advice or call each other for a song. It shouldn’t be like oh no I don’t want to do that song.” Prez continues “You should want to do that to challenge yourself. That’s what I’m here for.”
Everything is making its rounds today for Prez P and his associates. Prez P’s performance back from South by Southwest is showcased at a spacious venue in the heart of Downtown Miami. The promoter, Munch, brought out all the perks for a great aesthetic performance. 8&9 Clothing delivered a shirt prior to Prez’s performance, although the talented emcee freshened up and went with a black long sleeve and black vest combo with a bow tie fabric laid untied around his neck, a pair of beige pants and concord Jordan 11’s to seal the deal.
We make our way back to Avenue D. G-Wag and I have a conversation about the rapid pace at which they have progressed in the Hip-Hop music scene.
“You know we started this whole plan back in 2010, and not everybody was down,” says G-Wag. “But now [pauses] things are coming around and people are really seeing the movement and our vision.”
We enter Avenue D and Munch directs us to a back room where food is being catered to artists and reps prior to the show. Later that night, Prez P debuts his 8&9 clothing T-Shirt which fuses the UM logo with the Heat logo. Prez and his associates end up at Peach Fuzz where a security guard would shine his light in Prez’s direction to help Prez see as he rolls a blunt in a dark corner of the lounge. Amongst many scenarios in the day, count this one as just another added perk for someone whom the city believes in.