Looks can be deceiving, especially when it comes to 18 year old hip-hop artist Prymo. Hip hop are actually two of the last two words you would even think to associate with the Philippines native. I didn’t know what to expect the first time I saw him live at a show in Jackson, Mississippi. He walked up to front of the room, grabbed the mic that was taller than him, and while fixing his glasses introduced himself just as articulate as a college professor. The lights dimmed, the music started, the beat dropped, and then he opened his mouth and for a second I questioned was he the same person. I love those type of artists, the ones that come with a shock factor. His performance was dope; I heard lyricism and word-play mixed with a little poetry. He put me in the mindset of Eminem who is ironically one of his musical influences as well as artists like Royce, Slaughterhouse, ASM, J Dilla, Yeezy, and many others. We connected after his last show for a quick interview to get to know him better and to discuss his recently released project The broly EP.
Check out my interview with Prymo and Broly below.
Ashley E: How long have you been performing and when did you decide to seriously pursue music as an artist?
P: Well, if we’re discussing semantics, first verse I wrote was when I was in the 4th grade, and started battling when I was about 12 or 13. My first real performance was when I was 13, at an inter-city rap contest back in my home country (Philippines). We came in third. I’ve been clawing my way to self-sufficiency in terms of music and the business behind it ever since.”
Ashley E: What do you feel distinguishes your music from other artists?
P: My point-of-view and my overall being, really. Growing up in a third-world country where morality is more flexible than my underwear’s elastic will do that. A lot of folks think that I belong in a rich-ass country club somewhere, but I literally grew up in the urban slums without the faintest notion that I would ever set foot in America and be able to go to college, and that background really influences how I create. Plus the fact that I don’t really conform to the conventional “rapper” image. I’m into comic books, video games, I don’t do drugs, I try to inject an element of stand-up to my performances, and just an overall atmosphere of awkward wackiness really, cuz that’s who I am in real life.
Ashley E: Do you find it challenging to be taken serious as a rap artist because of your age, being in the south, your background etc…?
P: Absolutely. When I first came here, people absolutely REFUSED to believe I even LISTENED to hiphop, let alone make hiphop music. I literally heard the words “Why you listen to hiphop? You ain’t black” from a friend of mine (who was black). People I personally knew said I suck for the sole reason that I didn’t curse as much as other rappers (I actually do that a lot) and don’t talk about the stuff they do. My reasoning behind that was I talk about what I know. And yes, I’m VERY far from saintly, but I DO know that the wrongs that I DID make aren’t in the least bit brag-worthy (not in scale, but in nature).
P: On another note, my age is a double-edged sword, since a lot of people cut me slack for being so young and going to tackle everything alone which is kind of bad for me since I want to be taken seriously (to an extent), but at the same time, my own ego starts spazzing since SO MANY other artists are getting their slice of the pie way earlier than I am. But the upside to everything is the look on people’s faces when I speak English eloquently and I give them a sixteen instead of speaking in a Chinese accent with broken ‘Engrish’ and doing a crane kick. Shit’s priceless.”
Ashley E: How did you and broly. link up to produce this project, and what was the process like of working together?
P: We met in high school (Shout out to the Mustang Debate Team), and when I found out he produced shit, I wanted to collaborate. See, the thing I love most about this project was how organic and personal it felt. I wanted to work with him since you can feel what he’s trying to say through the beat. It’s spirited. He gave me some beats that I picked from to do songs on, and I wrote and recorded to it, working independently from each other. But that didn’t make it any less collaborative, we just had our own personal freedom within the confines of the project itself, and it just meshed together. We’re actually working on an extended cut of it which we’ll release soon.”
b.: Working with Prymo was easy. All he wanted was something different and that’s what I gave him. He needed some inspiration.”
Ashley E: The EP is comprised of three songs; Thr33, Mug O’ Joe, and Busted. Can you tell me a little bit about the inspiration and meaning behind each track?
P: Thr33’s lyrics are actually a love song dedicated to @geiszl_star (my partner and the EP’s cover artist). Hidden in the song’s folds of fat is an apology/love note/way of dealing with “what if she leaves me?” syndrome. The first verse is my internal dialogue dealing with attachment/dependency on her, and nearly all of the lyrics are based on independent fights we’ve had in the past that we’ve since resolved.
‘Mug O’ Joe’ has this element of me role playing as this exaggerated version of broly.’s outward demeanor when he’s ‘not himself’, dealing with his frustrations the way I would. Sort of like a Saiyan fusion. The words’ concept stemmed from my perspective on social circles around here, since a lot of emotion and decorum is considered when dealing with issues, versus when I was growing up where if you guys can’t agree on something and you felt wronged, you either had a rap battle grudge match or you beat the snot out of their noses, but either way, you depart the battlefield as friends.
‘Busted’ is a lot like my other song ‘Nightingale’ in the sense that it’s a narrative-based song (I wracked my brain trying to think of a Taylor Swift-narrative joke, couldn’t swing it). It’s about infidelity and empty sex that I grew up thinking was the measure of a man. ‘You gotta sleep with a lot of bitches’ and all of that nonsense. It’s from the perspective of a guy who’s very happy with his significant other, but is still seeking sexual relations with other women from fear of ‘being whipped’.
b.: I was at a weird time in my life when I did the music for Thr33, but in Mug O’ Joe, I was determined to make something different than anything else I’ve done.”
Ashley E: How far do you want to take your career?
P: “At its pinnacle, I want everyone to consider me a close personal friend, even though they only know me through my music. For everyone to be able to relate with me at least on one level, and have a community sprout from my ideas, and in turn fuel new ones from different people. Also, it would be nice if I had enough dough to personally fund research to help punch Alzheimer’s Disease in the face. I grew up with my grandma calling me by my aunt’s nickname because of that shit. So until I’m either dead, unknown and penniless, or dead, famous, and have my head right next to Walt Disney’s in the deep freezer, waiting till science catches up and resurrects us. Either way, I’m doing this for life.”
Comprised of only 3 tracks, The broly EP is 6 minutes and 22 seconds of intergalactic beats, wit, lyricism and wordplay. Tr33 is my favorite track on the album because I’m a sucker for love stories and I liked that I didn’t realize it was a love song until towards the end of the track. It’s a snippet of what’s to come; Prymo and broly. have an extended cut in the works.
Check out The broly EP here.
The broly EP cover