Perseph One. Photo: Uncredited/Courtesy of Artist/Facebook
The underground of hip hop is a crazy place, where artists who have plenty of snap dwell in a world of having no website, just a Soundcloud link. The underground, as far as Houston’s hip hop scene, has been growing like crazy for the past decade, and even more so over the past three years. There’s a good chance that you might not know Houston’s Perseph One, but for a good while now, she’s been dropping impressive live sets full of deep and heavy handed jams. On her long awaited new EP Machine Mammal, released in December, the rapper spits rhymes with intensity while backed by tracks produced by the likes of B L A C K I E, Stephen Farris, and Josiah Gabriel, offering up a sound that’s more future than present.
Opening with the deep electronica infused sounds of “Hundred Fast,” the beat and electronics employed should interest anyone who lends an ear to the track. However it’s Perseph’s insane mic skills that stick in your head, causing you to almost immediately remember it after one listen. You can say almost the exact same thing on the following track, “Center Block.” More focused than when I first saw her perform it live, she’s definitely channelling something otherworldly when she hits the mic with an intensity you don’t hear from most rappers today. Coupling a speedy mic flow and at times an almost talk-like style, Perseph One sets herself apart from most of Houston’s underground with her mic skills alone. While the third track, “Hittin The Wall,” goes hard, it’s the following track, “Motor Mouth (feat. UBI of Ces Cru),” that you can’t shake. The backing of almost witch house synths and a slow beat are met with Perseph hitting the mic like her life depends on getting the lyrics out. The bass kicks and emanates while UBI adds rhymes that couple with hers perfectly.
The space infused sounds of “Rainbows All Over” are quickly sliced with synths and a beat that cuts through opening of the track, while following song “Still Trippin Onslaught” comes in like a fever dream. The footwork speed of the beat alone is so forward sounding with Perseph spitting on point from start to finish. While most rappers couldn’t hold a candle to the speed she utilizes, it’s almost like Perseph One has been waiting for this type of speed to showcase her hefty mic skills. The crazed intensity behind the seventh song, “Savy,” starts with B L A C K I E written all over the track he produced before Perseph comes in and makes you forget about everything except for her dark vocals and dystopian lyrics. The arpeggiated opening to the closing track “Sip” pulls you in before the mic gets hit with the mastery that Perseph employs on the bulk of the release. While there are varying sounds flowing in the background, like most of them, it’s Perseph One’s mic prowess that sticks in your head, making you long for more once the album finishes.
I don’t expect everyone to get what’s happening on this EP, but if you open your mind then you should realize that Perseph One deserves attention following this release. While she has no scheduled shows posted, the EP definitely showcases one of the city’s best rappers in the underground, while lifting up those who produced the tracks with her. You can check out what Perseph One is up to here, or purchase the album from Fake Four Inc, here.