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"Working Man" gets 9/10 rating in Scratched Vinyl
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"Working Man" gets 9/10 rating in Scratched Vinyl  Reply with quote
Written by Chi Chi on May 07, 2013

Title: Prolyphic & Buddy Peace - Working Man
Label: Strange Famous Records
Year: 2013
Rating: 9/10

Prolyphic has been part of the Strange Famous family for quite a while. The Providence emcee made his debut for the label in 2005, and followed that up with another album in 2008, both with production partner Reanimator. Since that time, though, we haven't heard much from him. Well, now he’s back, and this time he’s paired up with London producer Buddy Peace. If you wonder what’s happened over the last five years, all you have to do is listen to Working Man, and the answer is abundantly clear - life happened.

There’s a lot of painful honesty to Working Man, but Prolyphic frames things in a way that will hopefully start some productive conversations. If I was going to point to one thing that makes this album special, it’s the way that Prolyphic is able to move between telling extremely personal and emotional stories and the way he's then able to step back and discuss analytically the big picture problem. Nothing illustrates this better than “Drug Dealer,” he indictment of the pharmaceutical industry. He’s able to weave back and forth from relating the facts of the industry to relating the extremely personal experience of how his mom was treated after she was diagnosed with cancer, and her ultimate decision not to continue with the prescription treatment. The result is one of the most powerful songs released this year.

“Six Feet High” is similarly effective, as Prolyphic relates how his father’s business was destroyed by a flood and lack of proper insurance. It’s extremely effective, as Prolyphic explains how a small business that’s been in the community for over fifty years can go under in the blink of an eye, and poignantly mentions how the government comes to the rescue of big business and residential areas, but not small businesses that have been cornerstones of the community. Lest you think this album is one big bummer, I should also point out that Prolyphic has a wonderfully dark and sarcastic sense of humor, and the amazingly diverse and sharp production of Buddy Peace helps guide the listener from dark and introspective moments to funky barn burners.

One of my personal favorite tracks is “Bad Influence,” a song in which Prolyphic dives head first into making sense of how a white kid can grow up relating to black music. As a white kid who grew up in the suburbs who spent most of my time in high school delving further and further into the blues, and whose parents spent a lot of time playing Motown, Stax, and Bay Area funk for me, it’s something I can definitely relate to. And if you're looking for a great posse track, look no further than "Death of the Boombox," which features Sage Francis and Metermaids.

Working Man is a dense album that requires several listens before you can even get a sense of everything that’s happening. Prolyphic had a lot of real life issues pop up since the last time he recorded an album, and it’s had a profound effect on him. Fortunately, he’s talented enough to take these experiences and make some music that will hopefully inspire people to think at length about some really important issues. Buddy Peace provides the perfect compliment to Prolyphic as producer, understanding exactly when to lay back and when to push the record forward. This is definitely one of the special albums of 2013.
Post Sat May 11, 2013 3:07 pm
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