“Praverb speaks on reality every time he is in presence of a microphone.” These are the words I read in the media package that contained the album by Praverb, Center of Attention. His pride in speaking about what is right in front of our eyes but not seen by everyone is apparent throughout the subject matter on the album. Unlike most emcees these days, there is something extraordinarily special about Praverb and that is his ability to sound very well spoken, educated, intellectual and legit. Even though this is only his second release, the religious-based lyricist out of Virginia brings an interesting flavor to the hip hop game.
A great thing about this album is that it is just over a half-hour, there is no filler. Speaking of filler, Praverb The Wyse, does not curse: “I’ll be the first rapper played without a radio edit”, so expect nothing but straight rhymes from beginning to end. Because it is a short album, there is very little room for error and there is very little of it on a song by song basis. “Represent” has a beautiful piano loop courtesy of Frelarmi and it is not your typical ‘represent’ type of track that is a 3 minute long shout out to wherever the act is from. Pra speaks about what he is about and what he represents and he genuinely makes you believe it with a very strong second verse: “The Lord said: “let there be light” so when I write I use the sunlight’s illumination / sunrays provide inspiration/ so when I grip the pen I sniff the wind/ Yo, I vibe of the ventilation”.
Although Pra mentions the name of the Christian savior throughout most of the album, he doesn’t do it a point where it comes across as preachy. “Time is Ticking” has a haunting beat provided by The Agonist and has Pra spitting about the short life we all have while including a gem of a line: “You won’t see this Rev. Run like Murda Mase.” More or less, he uses the Divine Power to strengthen his lyricism.
However, the flaws of this emcee come out to the clear after a full listen through. Each song seemed to provide the same message, the same subject matter and content. Because it is such a short album it isn’t slapped in the face, however even when trying to incorporate a different listening experience, the listens remained much too similar. “Tatiana” and “Trading Places (remix)” are both story-based joints with the former being a story we’ve heard before just with a different name in the title, and the latter tries to be too much of a revelation joint of racial content when it is rather simplistic.
The production is an interesting section of this album because although the beats themselves are not that strong, each fulfills the content and concept of the album. Teddy Roxpin seems to deliver the strongest performance production wise with his extremely strong and soulful strings to help either create a mysterious moment on “Tatiana”, an uplifting mood on “Freedom to Prevail” and a work day mood on “I Grind, You Grind”.
A song like “Rain” probably best exemplifies the strengths and weaknesses of Praverb. A very good flow, a great ear for beats to complete a theme and great lyrically, but is very hateful towards the rap game in its current state and not sounding angry. It’s a very subtle anger he has, but it’s very repetitive throughout the entire album and kind of gets annoying. Pra, I share your pain, but you are a very good emcee and should expand beyond the frustration. In the words of Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Overall Rating: 73/100
I Grind, You Grind
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