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Praverb Center Of Attention [review]

I put you guys up on the release of Praverb's Center Of Attention album last week; I have since given it a few spins and I am very impressed. While I can't say I vibe to "Christian Hip-Hop" on the regular (although mad MCs like to invoke the Lord's name), P-Viz attacks it from a different angle. Yes, dude follows Christ and has no qualms about letting you know this, but he isn't being preachy or trying to bash your head in with the Bible, which is what counteracts many of the attempts by Holy Hip-Hop acts. Let's bust out a track-by-track of this dope album...

"Perfect Intro"
That title is perfect; if I was to find a beat to start off my album, it would be this - that slower tempo, with an ill melody that sounds like it's played in reverse. Praverb does what he does best: he breaks down his personality in rhyme, letting you know exactly who he is and what he's about to do, while injecting some dope lyrics and ending up just talking to you. Dude is like a rapping motivational speaker.

"Back In The Days"
No, dude isn't necessarily trying to be "old school" over this Middle Eastern-influenced track, he's just trying to get us back to how we used to vibe to Hip-Hop, mentally. P spits about not necessarily needing to make cake off of Rap, he would rather just perform for the people and create dope music. Thoughts like that are desperately needed these days.

"Freedom To Prevail"
Hands down my favorite beat on this LP. Teddy Roxpin, I salute you for that pitched-up string loop that gets slowed down (think hitting the "start" button on a turntable while a track is playing) every 4 bars. P acknowledges that life on Earth is hell, but finds solace on the mic.

"Dead 2 Sin"
Praverb kicking some heavy Christian lyrics, shedding his old self (like an insect does its exoskeleton) when he takes the Lord in his heart. I could see this one rockin' in a smoky club as well as in church the following morning.

Introspective cuts are always welcome, and P spits about still trucking through his early life, even when the pain and struggle rained and poured over him.

"I Grind, You Grind" (ft. Trinidad)
Hypnotic beat, with some chopped up samples that remind me of somethign 9th Wonder or Preemo would do, P and Trinidad expound on the trails of cats who don't rap for a living, and have to deal with living check to check, which many of us know too much about. They're not spitting it negatively, nor are they ready to flip some birds - it's all about staying positive in this sick, sad world.

Praverb gets his Slick Rick on, weaving a tale about a teen girl who gets abused early on in life, and falls into a sticky situation trying to become a model.

"You Know Me"
Praverb pokes out his chest and just goes for broke over a moving beat. I hate the state of Hip-Hop, too, P.

"Time Is Ticking"
I was expecting some kind of Busta Rhymes "THERE'S ONLY FIVE YEARS LEFT!", but Praverb speaks on himself some more, going a bit deeper than he did on "Rain", and gives those some hope, even though we all know our time on Earth is limited.

Another cut where P stands strong and believes in himself, even though life can be mad hectic at times. All about having that gameplan and staying focused.

"Ordinary Day (Remix)"
Gotta love it when a track makes you think it's going to go one way, and then diverts into something completely different. This one goes from P just maxing on any random day, then flips to the trials and tribs of an artist hustling his CDs at the mall he was just going to to pick up a few things. Nice, jazzy samples on this one, too.

"Trading Places (Remix)"
A fine example of the grass not being greener on the other side. P pens a tale where he steps into someone else's life and truly sees that things aren't as easy as we might think they are living in someone else's kicks.

Very solid package here. Praverb executes his messages soundly, not being overly preachy, but also never pulling punches on the points he is making. His flows are slick, and dude can ride a beat like the best of 'em. The only real problem I had was the ending of some of the more-story based cuts. "Tatianna", while a def track and something that many artists don't speak on, seems to kind of just end - all of this pain and madness flows on, and while the ending isn't necessarily a happy one, a lack of retribution is there. The last 2 tracks also seem like they could have been doper with just one more 16 on them, kind of an end-cap. The thing is, that doesn't deter from the overall message, and neither the project nor the tracks themselves ultimately suffer from this. In the end, Praverb is an MC many should look out for, especially if you are tired of the profanity-laced rhymes of so many MCs, or you want some message-driven rhymes that will bang in the whip while still being child-friendly. I'd put this on for my son before throwing in many of the other albums I own. And in 2008, in our sexed-up/bullet-ridden entertainment industry, that speaks volumes.

rock the dub gives Center Of Attention 3.75 stars out of 5. Praverb is a choice MC who feels as though he grew up with you, but instead of lacing a blunt or popping a brew, kept his head in the books and, while he can still catch wreck, is working towards a higher power, all the while still making your neck snap and your hands clap. I feel like it's 1988 all over again.

Burn Deez: "Freedom To Prevail", "I Grind, You Grind", "Rain", "You Know Me"

Center Of Attention is available now from the following spots: iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody and Emusic. Domination Recordings has also provided a free album sampler that you can grab from here. Highly recommended.


Anonymous said...

well deserved...Praverb is a rare gem amongst the clutter of "diamonds" in the game....and Teddy Rux on production is truly a godsend...much respect

dope review


Anonymous said...

Good shit homie. Stay focused. Unpo

neo said...

Just got to reading this review. Praverb is a REAL MC in every true sense of the word.