The music of Prefuse 73 has received a lot of attention in the last few years, gaining critical raves from across the board, and leaving others to wonder if he’s worth the hype? Put down the hype for a moment, and just listen to the music.
It’s business as usual for Scott Herren, who embraces his Prefuse 73 persona and takes the listener on another wild journey through the eccentric side of hip hop.
Surrounded by Silence may not be as dark as One Word Extinguisher, in fact there is a sense of fun and escape that dominates this particular album, maybe due to the expansion of his MC roster that includes The GZA, Masta Killa, Ghostface, Camu, and El-P. In fact, the track that unites Ghostface and El-P, “Hide Ya Face”, shows how well Prefuse 73’s music can be transformed and reformed through the voices of two very different rappers. But with styles that share a common love of the old school, their raps along with Prefuse 73’s pensive beats help set the pace for a great album.
The album itself doesn’t stay comfortable for too long, as Herren likes to jump around from style to style. It’s not a pure hip-hop album (rarely is a project by Scott Herren ever pure of one element), and yet it still has the essence of beats, rhymes, and life, with the occasional admiration for twisted electronics, distorted guitars, and altered vocals. Reaching out to other artists definitely gives Prefuse 73 his own distinct (musical) voice, where what you see may not be exactly what you hear. Consider him a fine chef who knows the recipe, but has an exotic spice rack that is liberally used throughout the mix. Surrounded by Silence is a sit-down-and-absorb album, not an on-the-go recording.