Pro Era – PEEP: The aPROcalypse

Pro Era – PEEP: The aPROcalypse

peep-the-aprocalypsePro Era – PEEP: The aPROcalypse
Self-released: 2012

The relative success of Roc Marciano’s two albums, 2010’s Marcberg and last November’s Reloaded, has been offered as proof that the boom-bap sound that dominated much of ‘90s New York rap is still somehow alive 12 years after that decade ended. To place intent, however, on his creative process, however, would be misleading: much of Marciano’s talent comes from his own comfort with the sound he has chosen to create.

Listening to a song like 2010’s “Snow”, for example, it is remarkably apparent that while the “Funky Drummer” style drum sample and Marciano’s Wu-reminiscent flow harken back to an era when those elements were par for the course in hip-hop, the song is a manifestation of Roc’s specific vision, rather than an attempt to form his music to the template of a sub-genre. Roc Marciano, in other words, makes the music he likes and that music just happens to be boom-bap.

The passing of Pro Era’s Capital Steez this past Christmas Eve was not only a shocking and tragic example of teen suicide, it was the loss of Pro Era’s most visionary member in a similarly visionary regard. Steez’s own mixtape, recently reissued as AmeriKKKan Korruption Reloaded was an enthusiastic showing of Pro Era’s true potential, exhibiting quietly envelope-pushing sounds and the crews most potent rapping.

While it would be easy to see Peep: The aPROcalypse as Capital Steez’s swan song, as the rap community has done with the final contributions of many of its late artists, his influence on the tape actually seems relatively small. No, it’s sounds like Joey Bada$$ is at the helm here, dealing out straight ‘90s throwbacks just like he did on his debut mixtape 1999. Unlike Roc Marciano and Capital Steez, Joey raps and picks beats with nostalgia in mind. The tape is a pastiche of golden age flavor with little backbone. All of the Illmatic and “Top Billin” samples in the world can’t give substance to rappers who show as little direction as these guys.

While there are definitely exceptions (Dyemond Lewis’ verse of “Last Cypher” comes to mind) most of the tape consists of a number of very similar rappers reducing Wu-Tang and Nas flows to their inessential elements, taking the easy going attitude and internal rhyme structures and removing all of the interesting and charged subject matter. In fact, it’s replaced with an equally outdated superiority complex. “F A Rap Critic” repeats the line “you talk about it while I live it”. While they are probably right, it’s not exactly a very good argument for music that puts up little other than the aura of “classic” and a big ego as evidence of its own quality.

3 out of 5
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BV6RSn9RnIg?rel=0]


  1. Rupinder S
    Mar 20, 2013 @ 20:42:00

    Do you ever rate any of the actual good mixtapes above 3.5? Everyone has their opinions, but this is getting to be ridiculous.

  2. JD
    Jan 14, 2013 @ 10:02:00

    Eff a rap critic / He talk about it while I live it!

  3. Capital Snooze
    Jan 13, 2013 @ 22:22:00

    This was one of the most boring tapes I’ve ever heard. Completely derivative and it still manages to have zero flavor or anything worth listening to. Weaksauce. 0/5

  4. Dana Justin
    Jan 10, 2013 @ 09:57:00

    I admire the 3 star review. This tape was pretty boring overall. There’s some great beats but I find myself skipping songs halfway through because of too many subpar verses from fringe posse members. If they would have trimmed this tape by a 1/3, I think it would be a little better. Good background music…

  5. Nope
    Jan 09, 2013 @ 07:32:00

    Bad review, this isn’t objective at all. I would have given it at least 4/5. Some beats are really dope and you could have talked more about the other promising members in Pro Era such as Nyck Caution, CJ Fly, Kirk Knight…instead of bashing Joey Bada$$. Every group needs a leader and though I agree Joey isn’t the best member in Pro Era, he’s definitely a promising rapper and producer. I expected more from you guys, if some of you are anti-Joey someone else (unbiased) should have written this review.

  6. WWW
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 15:15:00

    Yup…exactly my thoughts. Many other albums have 3.5 and have no direction AT ALL. Look at ASAP’s ALBUM, it’s just a huge mess, a little for everybody, trendy guest rappers and in the end it doesn’t create any atmosphere at all. This is not the case with Pro Era and their tape, the whole thing flows perfectly well and has a CLEAR vision behind it. I aboslutely LOVE the potholes crew but sometimes they are really out ot touch….this and praising the mediocre Heems mixtapes are some of the examples 🙂

  7. Mosa Eugene Nkuna
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 13:56:00

    Only went through this tape once so I can’t (really) say the review is bad or anything but it sure seems biased. Sounds like you guys have no love for Joey.

  8. King Kazma
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 13:19:00

    Try again potholes. This project was awesome…

  9. Justafa
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 11:17:00

    Been listening to this album for more than a week now and was kind of happy to stumble uppon this review until I’ve read it. Poor stuff, really. This is an album with great beats, flows and mood. Not saying its golden age hip hop, but these kids have that feeling around them. ATCQ, Wu.. They remind me of them.

    If it werent a free album – Id happily paid my money for it.


  10. gaylord
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 10:41:00

    when my gaylord mixtapes drops and I send it to you guys, i hope you review it with an unbiased opinion

  11. Andrew Martin
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 10:32:00

    Don’t get it twisted. Some of us here enjoy Pro Era and Joey. Some don’t.

  12. Crooklyn
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 10:13:00

    “All of the Illmatic and “Top Billin” samples in the world can’t give substance to rappers who show as little direction as these guys.”??? That is utter BS! IT’S A MIXTAPE!!!! and it works and sounds better than 99.9% of anything else out there today. I normally love this blog but this review is horribe and has “little direction”.

  13. gaylord
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 09:56:00

    seems like this site goes out of its way to be very anti-joey badass

  14. WWW
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 07:03:00

    I usually like your reviews but this is definitely a “no no”. I’m not a Pro Era dick rider and I don’t like their previous tape nor Joye’s so over-hyped tape, but PEEP: The aPROcalypse is pure dopeness. I actually find their “outdated” concept way more original and brave than all these SWAG rappers, copying each other. The album is just fun and honest and even tho the lyrics are not mindblowing, they perfectly fit the mood and the beats….Also Roc Mariano’s album was incredibly boring….

  15. cmonson
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 03:45:00

    incredibly shitty write up.

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