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Album Review

It took almost 20 years since John Percy Simon, aka Percee P, first started rapping for him to put out his first full-length record. This wasn't, however, for lack of trying: Percee spent much of the '80s and early '90s trying to land a deal, making some guest appearances on the way, but to little success. Still, his resilient self-promotion and impressive flow eventually got him noticed by the Los Angeles-based label Stones Throw, who signed him in 2003. Finally, in 2007, the fruits of his hard labor were released to the world. What results, the aptly titled Perseverance, is unlike most other contemporary hip-hop albums out there, both mainstream and underground. Percee has always been about his lyrics, about showing off his intricate rhyme scheme and highly developed delivery style, about storytelling and boasting and having fun, so even though Madlib lays down a good set of beats (only a few of which sound recycled from one of his numerous other projects), there are few hooks or even empty space (excluding the four brief instrumentals), almost all of the focus given to Percee P's verses. Thematically, the songs here oscillate between the MC protesting about the lack of recognition he's received and extolling his own superiority, ideas which often, unsurprisingly, overlap ("Tracks are raw, still cats ignore/In fact I'm more better than them cats you asking for on racks in stores," he spits in "The Hand That Leads You"). And while on one hand it might be interesting to hear Percee expand his lyrical content, on the other hand it's nice to find an MC who's hasn't tried to change himself to fit the trends. He's been doing hip-hop since it first started, and he's kept the old-school mentality, though he hasn't allowed it to jade him so much that he's unable to adapt with the times, either. He cops verses from artists who have been around for a while (Diamond D, Prince Po) as well as from those who are more recently established, but just as highly respected (Aesop Rock, Vinnie Paz from Jedi Mind Tricks), and allows the ultra-modern, experimental Madlib to produce as he sees fit, trusting his collaborators as much as he expects them to trust him, and ending up, because of that, with a very strong record, and one definitely worth the wait.


Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The second of six children, John Percy Simon was just three when his mother moved his family to the Patterson projects in the South Bronx in the early '70s. It was there that Percy (as he was called) witnessed the birth of hip-hop. By 1979 Percee (he changed the spelling to emulate artists like Kool Moe Dee) was writing and performing his own rhymes and by high school was a respected local force. In 1992 Percee P made a guest appearance on the Lord Finesse (and former rival) song "Yes You May," followed...
Full bio
Perseverance, Percee P
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