- Mon, 2010-12-13 12:03
Prose have been on the collective radar for six or seven years now, building a very strong reputation for themselves with a pair of EPs and a couple of mixtapes, but only now have they seen fit to release a debut album proper; Force Of Habit.
It’s been worth the wait. Clocking in at 18 tracks and almost 80 minutes, Force Of Habit is expertly constructed old-school boom bap hip hop from start to finish. Steady is in charge of the beats, and he has a genuine talent at pulling samples together to create productions that are simultaneously classic-sounding and completely fresh. His is a smoothly minimal sound that feeds on snatches of piano, strings, guitar and spoken or sung vocals, breathing new life into the briefest of musical moments and expertly drawing them out to last several minutes. The crackle of vinyl permeates the album as a whole, and next to the crisp snare and occasional forays into scratching it creates an air of undeniable authenticity.
Emcee Efeks is equally adept on the mic. On Raw Deal he refers to himself as a blue-collar scholar, a title that fits him perfectly; his lyrics are at their finest when he is exploring the ills of society, which he does from both a personal and an objective viewpoint and without ever sounding clichéd or politically naïve. When he isn’t passing comment on such lofty things he is either paying homage to the art of hip hop in general or sharing stories from his past, always furnishing his rhymes with a bevy of original and imaginative metaphors. Guest verses come from both sides of the Atlantic - the highlight being Reef The Lost Cauze’s turn on Broke – but are kept to a minimum, and rightly so; Efeks is more than capable of retaining our attention without the need for outside help.
With Force Of Habit, Prose are offering us a unique thing; a UK hip hop album that captures the spirit and sound of the boom bap era at its peak, but that at the same time manages to comes across as modern, relevant and forward-thinking.