Rising out of the late 90s underground rap scene in Michigan, Prozak cut his teeth during one of the most brutal times to be an emcee. Detroit and its neighboring areas are infamous for legendary rap battles, but are also known as the breeding grounds for independent acts like Insane Clown Posse, Twiztid, R.O.C., and King Gordy. With competition at every corner, emcees were left to their own devices to stand out from the pack and prove that they were more than just horrocore knock offs. It was here that Prozak found his inspiration.
“I feel very lucky though to have grown up with that type of music as an influence and I’m happy about where I’m from because when you grown up in an area that is as fucked up as my area is, it makes you want to change things, and I still keep true to that in my music and voice my opinions and the stuff to me that matters.”
So, how did an individual who came up in the rugged environment of Michigan and its horrorcore roots manage to deliver an album as wide and varied as Paranormal? The truth is, Prozak has always been an anomaly of sorts. Dating back to his first Strange Music release with Project Deadman, Prozak has given listeners a deeper understanding of lyricism and poetic delivery.
Yes, Self Inflicted was a horror movie soundtrack at heart, but Prozak’s vivid storytelling shaped an album that took fans on a ride through life, death, regret, and even the most twisted of human tendencies. It also gave fans a first glimpse of how much of a chameleon Prozak really was. Mixed in to the hip hop and horror sounds of Self Inflicted were grungy rock guitars, unorthodox arrangements and even slight hints of industrial influence.
When Prozak returned with Tales From The Sick, he did so with the mindset of a true and seasoned emcee. His flow had undergone a complete overhaul and his ability to adapt to every track was unlike anything he had showcased before. While PDM found Prozak in a comfortable place, Tales From The Sick forced the Saginaw native to push boundaries a little more. “Good Enough” challenged longtime fans of Prozak to take in a new sound from him and accept that the emcee known for the wicked sh*t in fact had a mature approach to his music. Meanwhile, “Why???” featuring Tech N9ne and Twista convinced even the harshest of critics that Prozak had bars – serious bars.
Now, four years after his last release – an eternity in the rap game, Prozak has stepped back in for Paranormal. The artist who considers himself paranormal to the industry once again looks to reinvent himself and give the world a different perspective on music and life.
“I see people thinking Paranormal is the album about ghosts…no. I chose the title because I am paranormal to the industry and that’s the standard industry that most artists are. Other artists trying to make singles for the radio, all their videos are supposed to be played on MTV and catered towards things like that – I don’t care about those things. I care about the genre and by that I mean I don’t care about genres period. I don’t represent one thing and one thing only, hitting the one box and one box only. I’m going to attract something I’m going to do regardless of what people think.”
The result is an album that shows the most growth from Prozak yet. There’s no room for cliché horror tactics and blood spatter here. Instead it’s real life situations that are thrust into the spotlight, which is perhaps the scariest of all. Twisted love tales, loyalty, suicide, and self-doubt are just some of the themes running throughout Prozak’s latest offering. With next to no guest features (by today’s standards anyway) Prozak put the pressure on himself to produce a full length album and carry it on the hopes that he would capture the attention of listeners long enough to bury his message deep within their thoughts.
The same old Prozak that underground fans grew up with is still there, just check out “Wake Up You’re Dead” for a reminder of how psychotic this guy can sound. On the other end of the spectrum, “Until Then” is the most vulnerable moment on the album and instead of giving the fans a look into Prozak’s life, it offers an unapologetic look at Steve Shippy. Most of Paranormal relies on reality, opting to leave the theatrics behind and while Prozak took a risk of alienating his underground fans, it certainly paid off.
Paranormal is not a hip hop album. It’s not a rock album and it’s most certainly not a horrorcore album. What it is though, is life. That’s what Prozak has created on record. Just like every moment is different from the last, so is every song on Paranormal.
Prozak may have absolutely no interest in breaking through to the industry, but ironically enough, Paranormal is the album that could very well do it.
“This record is something that I had lots of time to craft, to hone in, to do exactly what I wanted to do. This album isn’t full of features. This album is not about collabs–this is a Prozak album. This is what I believe will define me as what I am. It’s exactly that. I believe that this is the best record I’ve ever done.”
-Victor Sandoval, Assistant Editor Strange Music
Follow Victor on Twitter:@VicMSandoval