It might have taken the highly underrated South Bronx MC two decades to release his solo debut; but when Percee P connected with Madlib to drop Perseverance on Stones Throw in 2007, anyone with an ear for lyricism immediately forgave the long wait. Since getting into Hip Hop at age ten, the legendary rhymer tirelessly dedicated his time to the craft; gaining recognition for battling Lord Finesse in ’89, featuring on his sophomore LP Return Of The Funky Man, freestyling his ass off on the Stretch and Bobbito show, and hustlin’ his mixtapes outside renowned NY diggin’ spot Fat Beats. It was here that P met Stones Throw’s Egon and Peanut Butter Wolf, leading to an album deal, and this classic collab with the Beat Konducta.
P’s reputation preceded him; his previous features with Kool Keith, Jedi Mind Tricks, Jaylib, J5 & Big Daddy Kane were all quick-witted no-holds-barred displays of skilful lyricism that left mics smoking and hardcore fans clambering over themselves to hear more; on Perseverance he didn’t disappoint. From the moment Madlib cut ‘Percee P, your whole crew verses me’ on the intro, the album soars; a peak representation of the quintessential Hip Hop sound that boasts nineteen inventive instrumentals adorned by flows so heavy every word puts your mind in a vice grip. If you can get past the 2 and a half minute mark on this video without shaking your head side to side and making the stink face you’re missing out.
There’s a coherence you get from one MC and one producer. After Gang Starr, G Rap & Polo, Eric B & Rakim and BDP perfected the format early on, there was a distinct lack of small crews as everyone and their grandmother was biting the Wu. Perseverance took the format back to the initial dynamic duo; paving the way for releases like Pinata and taking you on a breakneck dash through every facet of the culture while they were at it. The sample selections range from obscure to popular, as Madlib switches between old school funk breaks and modern, bass-heavy electronics, and his ability to remain creative while reigning-in his often eccentric flair for composition found him almost forming beats with standard song structure; allowing P to unleash lyrical tornadoes with a devastating force, sounding meaner than ever as he finally realized his full potential on wax.