On January 20 of last year, Rocks Off first discovered an unsigned Houston artist by the name of Preemo. When we stumbled upon him on MySpace, he was an unknown.
Amazing what a year will do.
For all intents and purposes, Houston's Preemo had seen his better years as a rapper, briefly signing to the Los Angeles label that in 2001 made R&B singer Amanda Perez an MTV sensation for about as long as it takes for you to snap your fingers.
But Preemo was sitting on a haymaker, Concrete Dreams, nothing short of a remarkable album that our own Shea Serrano ranked second on Rocks Off's Top 10 Houston Rap Albums of 2010. More remarkably, it beat out every relevant Houston rapper you can possibly name, except Trae, whose music just got on a Nike commercial, for the love of God.
He's caught the eye of Paul Wall; future collaboration pending. And Wall's road manager Gu of SLFEMP Management has recently become Preemo's manager, opening doors for him in the industry.
No longer an unknown right? Wrong.
After all that's happened for Preemo in the last year, outside the tuned-in tight circle of hip-hop heads in the city, Preemo remains largely unnoticed among fans of the rapper-drenched Houston independent scene despite being widely acknowledged as among the three or four best unsigned rappers in the city.
His mixtape trilogy, The Magic Bullet, hopes to change all that.
The Magic Bullet stands up to the best projects released in Houston this year and we predict it will endure. It's as enjoyable and refreshing as the current local mixtape to beat, Delo's Hood Politics Vol. 2.
The Magic Bullet aims to take after the bizarre but impressive path the original magic rifle bullet took from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository through 15 layers of clothing, seven layers of skin, approximately 15 inches of tissue, a necktie knot, four inches of rib, and a radius bone on November 22, 1963.
Preemo's Magic Bullet is nothing that sinister, just terrific beats that possess anything from odd Gotham-like melodies to jazzy piano keys to angelic, heartstring-jerking samples fire off his signature silky-smooth vocals that deliver sharp-tongued, chin-up, always intelligent, witty and insightful, heart on sleeve lyrics. Like the Magic Bullet theory, this mixtape zig-zags between biography, hip-hop politics and musical metaphors.
In truth, this mixtape of original beats makes a very worthy attempt at replicating the magic of Concrete Dreams, but time tells the tale. The Magic Bullet took 11 days to create; Concrete Dreams three years. And that's really all you need to know. Flight 713 and Strange Brew fall in accordingly, in that order.
Forensic ballistics on The Magic Bullet reveal: