"NO GIMMICKS," Prolyphic says, "just me rapping my ass off."
Cranston native and Strange Famous Records rhyme rep Prolyphic digs even deeper into his personal journals on his new album Working Man, the long-awaited follow-up to his 2008 SFR debut The Ugly Truth. Add SFR in-house beat conductor Buddy Peace into the mix and the result is a booming platter of introspective anthems for us blue-collar brethren. To celebrate, some major players from the Strange Famous stable will be corralled under one roof next Saturday (the 25th) when Pro will be joined by Metermaids, B. Dolan (with new live band in tow!), "surprise special guests," and, of course, SFR bossman Sage Francis. Visit strangefamousrecords.com and scoop Working Man on disc or download ($9.99) right now or snag a copy at Fête.
"This album is not so much political, but personal," Prolyphic noted when I caught up with him earlier this week following a show in Duluth, Minnesota. The subject matter delivered by the Cranston West High grad hits home on many levels as he peels back the scabs of numerous life-altering moments across Working Man, including our state's (ongoing) recession, the nightmarish flood of 2010, and his mother's battle with leukemia.
"I didn't set out to make a blue-collar concept album, but that's eventually what it turned into," Pro acknowledged.
"My wife and I both experienced job losses during the recession — my wife was laid off twice in one year by two different companies," he said. "It was fucking crazy.
"We couldn't find full-time work and we were both college grads, so the feelings of failure, anger, and hopelessness started to set in for me and began to shape the overall theme of the album," he continued. "All of these socio-economic issues started to make their way into my writing — how could it not?
"I couldn't write happy songs when all of this shit was going on."
A few days following the hometown show at Fête, Prolyphic and his wife will officially relocate to Washington, DC, where he landed a full-time video production job at Georgetown University.
"In a lot of ways this new album is a dedication to Rhode Island, and now I'm leaving — it's crazy," Prolyphic said.
"This show is going to be an emotional one for me," he noted. "It's like my going away party."
Prolyphic has been in the public eye for nearly a decade. His demo hustle eventually landed him a deal with SFR in 2005.
"Prolyphic and his friends would visit my radio show at 90.3 WRIU back in the day," Sage Francis recalled. "They were just kids at the time, 14 or 15 years old, and they wanted to freestyle on the radio.
"He was so shy and unassuming so I didn't take note right away, but when I heard his demo tape I was pleasantly surprised by his skill and wit," he continued. "It was interesting to discover he had so much going on in his big ol' alien head."
Francis also noted Pro's continual development in "shaping songs. He is speaking about a lot of difficult things that he's been dealing with, but he does it in a way that includes the listener rather than it just being all about him.