A debut album twenty years in the making

Iconic old-school rapper, Percee P, started rapping almost three decades ago.

Megan Kadrmas

Percee P may go down on the record as being the MC who waited the longest between gaining attention on the national scene and putting out his debut album.

Percee has been rapping since 1979, the same year a hip-hop track broke into the Top 40 for the first time. He is one of the only old school rappers still touring and, more significantly, still creating new material.

The P, as Percee is sometimes called, has worked with the likes of Jurassic 5, Big Daddy Kane, Kool Keith, Jaylib and Jedi Mind Tricks. Indeed, on “Perseverance,” his debut album, Percee gets support from Aesop Rock, Guilty Simpson, Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 and Vinnie Paz of Jedi Mind Tricks. On top of the impressive guest list, “Perseverance” was crafted by one of underground’s greatest producers, Madlib.

So maybe it pays to put in your dues before putting out your debut.

“Perseverance,” after almost 30 years of practice and a

full 19 years since the release of his first single, embodies just that, Percee’s commitment to the game.

The battle-rap, coming-at-you lyrical style that garnered Percee fame carries the album, vocally speaking. P doesn’t like to change it up, preferring to verbally bitch slap the listener on every track, and maybe proving you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Like on “Throwback Rap Attack,” where Percee attacks a rather bare beat with all the ferocity of an NFL linebacker and about all the charisma as well. The lyrics dribble together quickly, since Percee’s monotone voice and lack of enthusiasm create a low mark on an otherwise impressive album.

Although he doesn’t switch up the “rockin’ the mic” swagger throughout the album, that confidence and impressive ability to string daunting words and mis-mashed ideas together makes Percee fun to watch and listen to.

It’s those “play it back” moments where “Perseverance” really shines. Like on “Mastered Craftsman,” where Percee demonstrates his mastery at crafting rhymes. His style of half-mumbling fast rap causes parts like, “I hurt a fake, when I step to the plate, no one regurgitates/every word I state rips through bones and vertebrae/increasing the murder rate,” to demand a second listen, just to figure out what the hell he’s saying. It’s in that second listen where Percee’s skillful crafting of words pays off.

Madlib does a solid job supporting Percee’s vocals without stealing the show. “Perseverance” is one of Madlib’s most wide-ranging production jobs, from stoner rock to southern crunk and everywhere in between.

Although “Perseverance” is an impressive debut album, it isn’t 19-years-in-the-making impressive. Let’s hope that Percee doesn’t choose to wait two more decades before releasing his follow-up album because, by my calculation, he would be well into his fifties, which makes it difficult to identify with the audience, most of whom would be young enough to be his children.