i don't belong here - Pryde
(Genre: Hip Hop/Rap/R&B)
Pryde, formerly D-Pryde, is a Canadian rapper who had a early career start on YouTube. His popularity rose quickly due to his witty style while being in only his early teens as D-Pryde, but I still saw him very much in his formative process as he emulated popular acts of the time such as Lil' Wayne (along with the Young Money crew) & bits of Eminem. Even though he delivered clever punchlines and told stories of young teen trying to fit in and blow up, he still felt much like carbon copy of whatever was popular. It was until his road to the album, Plan A, and eventual slight moniker change within the past year and a half that I felt he finally carved out his own identity. Following Plan A's story of growth and determination after his hiatus, came the fun summer album, Richvale Summer, full of party tunes that further rebuilt his fan base. Finally, we come to what he dubs "the album before the album", i don't belong here, that proceeds the long awaited Russell project.
Pryde still maintains a very current sound reminiscent of Drake & Childish Gambino by mixing catchy melodies with wordplay over very mood driven beats. Therefore, he has a very accessible sound to those into mainstream rap nowadays and wins over girls with his decent singing ability. The songs range from his intimate stories about the loss of his mother and division from his older brother to punchline-laden turn up tunes. In between those, you can receive songs dealing with his struggles with breaking into the music industry independently and how that affects his relationships with those in his city. Also, there are songs that display Pryde's unstable balance between loving being the "friend with benefits" and longing to be the actual love interest. These songs all tend to transition pretty smoothly between them with some similar song topics being grouped together.
I'm going to actually get my personal favorites out the way now. When it comes to the hype tracks, I really get out of tracks like "Aggressive" & "U2". Plus, the single "Nuff Said" is one energetic songs that flow wise just makes me giddy, especially with the Missy Elliott and Ludacris references. The moments of his innermost thoughts delivered in "Roses Intro", dedicated to his mother, and "I Don't Belong" are both interesting and head nodding material. On the love related tracks, hearing the Plan A song "Girl Back Home" re-purposed for the "Lost and Found Interlude" was a clever continuation of the girl's story. Then, "Feeliam Shakespeare" featuring Sara B was a very sweeping duet-like tale of taking a chance on love after both being hurt in the past. The only song the tracklist I cannot get into that I've seen people on YouTube rave on is "Healer". Something about how it's presented bothers me, and the theme of it is so misguided and as pretentious as the "Magic Mike XL" sample at the end that inspired this song.
In today's music climate, I can only see this project adding to Pryde's rise. It's my type of guilty pleasure music, because he brings a sound that I could easily get from a Drake or Bryson Tiller; who I view as average artists. Yet, being able to relate to some of his story and following it for so long (about 7 or 8 years) keeps me engaged. Pryde is the type of artist who can put on and enjoy the vibe he brings and occasionally tune in for actually clever lyrics & interesting experiences. Anybody who can dig that kind of sound shouldn't hesitate to give this project a listen, since I believe that you can find at least a good handful of songs that you enjoy! I'm not afraid to take Pryde in that recommendation.
My Abridged Guide to Pryde (I honestly could add more):
MC Showcase 2011 (Punchline track from the D-Pryde era)
Moment 4 Life Cover/Remix (Storytelling track from the D-Pryde era)
Cameron Diaz (During the Road to Plan A a.k.a. my favorite Pryde song)
Low Key (First Plan A single)
West End East End (A Richvale Summer video)
Nuff Said (i don't belong here single)
Group Chat Interview/Podcast (Long interview chronicling Pryde's career)