Sunday, April 5, 2020

PRIME a.k.a Mellow-E

Better late than never... it's time to highlight this dope emcee named Prime who released the excellent track "No Matter" on the Lyricist Lounge Vol.1 compilation in 1998... which is definitely one of the best track of the comp ! ... sorry but can't upload the track due to copyright content, so check the link...

I've been looking for Prime for a long time ... It was hard but I 've found him at last and had the opportunity to ask him a few questions to know more about his story... finally hard work pays off !
For those who aren't familiar with Prime, you need to know that his real name is Eugene Louis and he is from Brooklyn. In the early 90s he was known under the name of Mellow-E and his first official appearance was with Baby Face Kaos on the track "Da Ignorant No It All" from Da Bush Babees's "Ambush" album released in 1994. The track was produced by J. Prins. 

He also released after that the classic "Pins & Needles" on the Underground Airplay Vol III Mixtape. The tape was released in 1994 and produced by Ant Marshall and Danny Castro who founded the Lyricist Lounge in 1991... No doubt real Hip-Hop Headz will remember this dope indie joint produced by D. Trotman who was also the producer of the song "No Matter". 

Tape - 1994 - Echo Unltd

unikone : "Where are you from exactly ?"

Prime : "I am from the East New York side of Brooklyn aka The Planet. They call Brooklyn the Planet because there is no other place like it. I learned many lessons and took many losses. I love it so much for that."

unikone : "How did everything start for you ?"

Prime : "I was a B-Boy from an early age. I loved the Juice Crew, KRS-ONE, Audio Two, MC Lyte and everyone that was on priority records with them, also a lot of MCees around the way like K-Rock. I grew up with a single mom with older brother and sister. Mom was born in Jamaica. Pops was born in Haiti. They both came to U.S. for a better opportunity. I listened and recited rhymes word for word from artists I admired. I lived in Boulevard Housing Tenements on the first floor. As a kid, I had a friend Rasheen who had a cousin who wrote for Sandy (Peppa) from Salt N Peppa. We used to make tapes at his house and gave them to his cousin to get Sandy to hear so we could get put on but that didn't work. He stop rhyming behind that but I still kept on. He used to take me to different people in the neighborhood to battle and I would roast them. I was good for a 9, 10 year old at that time. I was so good I was sent to battle this 18 to 20 year old guy named K-Rock. The battle was to take place in P.S. 273 park one afternoon. Well to make a long story short, he torched me. His word play, metaphors, cadence was supreme. I was leaving to go home and he pulled me a side. He told me how good I was and gave me so many pointers I used there on out that helped me to this day. He was one of the best MCees I ever heard. I went back to the lab that afternoon and turned on Ralph McDaniel's Video Music Box. I wasn't in a great mood but then I saw Big Daddy Kane's Aint No Half Stepping Video. Bro, that video changed my life. Not only was that song one of the greatest rap songs ever, the way the video was done was amazing to me. I turned off the T.V and said I have to right a rhyme. I wrote that rhyme and memorized it and rehearsed it with K-Rock pointers. I said it at the lunch table went I went to school. I said it with my head down. When I was finished I raised my head and half of the lunch room was around my table and they kept asking me to say it again. The rush I got was like no other. I am really a laid back guy and never felt comfortable speaking but when I rhymed you would never know. I had to have new rhymes for the lunch room so that's what really got my writing to evolve."

unikone : How did the connection happen with the members of Da Bush Babees in 1993 ?

Prime : "Fast Forward now. There were some underground circuits, where you can go show case your talents. People I ran into from battling on the street put me on. Schools and parks are one thing but in a club setting on a stage in front of people all over The Apple is another. I had to see what's up. I got on that stage being an unknown to this element I had to come correct. When I finished my verse, everyone took notice. One of the people that took notice was the Kaos from Da Bush Babees group. We politicked that night. He lived in Brooklyn also so we both had to take the #2 train. I don't know if you want to call it a battle but we went back and forth on the train for hours on the train ride. Its safe to say I was inspiring to him the same way he was to me. That's how we met."

unikone : "How did you meet Anthony Marshall and Danny Castro ?"

Prime : "I met Anthony and Danny through the underground events they hosted, The Lyricist's Lounge. I was an MC that frequented the event and they always expressed their admiration for my lyrics."

Danny Castro & Ant Marshall - Photo courtesy of Ant Marshall

unikone : "Why did you change your name ?"

Prime : "I was part of a group Bermuda Triangle when I did the feature on Da Bush Babees album. I talked it over with the crew about doing the feature. They was cool about it but when I did it, its like the crew just wasn't my crew anymore. When I left the group, I was looking for new beginnings. And when there were plenty of people with the name mello I just changed my name : M-E-L-L-O E = Making Efforts to Love Luxuries like Others Everyday. P-R-I-M-E = Premeditated Rhymes Infused with Musical Entities. "

unikone : "Why is there no 12" or album released after your feature on the underground airplay mixtape ?"

Prime : " I did some features on DJ Enuff's mix tapes, one of them were The Planet BK. I received a lot of feedback where Enuff wanted me to do other features. A Tape Kings approached Enuff and I about making a 12 inch if that is successful we can move toward an album deal. Enuff had a young producer working with him by the name of Jiv Pos and he was to work with me to make two songs for this 12 inch. Beats that was for our project they sold to Notorious B.I.G. and other artist. I understood people trying to get that money but communicate with me and let me know. Long story short, I went to Manhattan to check some peoples at a studio session and heard a beat that was suppose to be for my single. When I checked things out, it was Masta Ace and Paula Perry had a session and Jiv sold the beat to one of the singles to Paula Perry. I approached Jiv on it. He didn't see anything wrong with what happened. I spoke to Enuff and he didn't want no parts and said Jiv Pos was handling my situation. If your word is not Bond over a handshake then it wont be with paperwork so I walked away from that opportunity. That kind of destroyed some love I had for what I was trying to do."

Tape - 1995 - Tape Kingz

unikone : "Could you give me more info about D. Trotman ?"

Prime : "D. Trotman is that dude. I submitted the whole demo we did to Anthony and Danny. They ultimately chose "NO Matter" out of all of them. We met on my first summer job. We started talking music and then he mentioned he produced. I mentioned I MC and we met up at his crib one day. The Rest was history. We been good people ever since."

Massive Props to Prime, thanks for the interview. 

1 comment:

  1. Digital StimulationApril 9, 2020 at 6:12 PM

    Ha, this was mad interesting. It was just a couple years ago that I figured out that Da Ignorant No It All was Mellow-E from the Underground Airplay joint and it blew my damn mind. Pins & Needles is one of my all time jams, and I was always kinda disappointed that Mellow-E never really dropped anything else, as far as I was aware. I did however, have no idea that he was Prime from not only the Lyricist Lounge joint, but from that DJ Enuff freestyle, which I remember less from the tape and more from the Enuff freestyle compilation record that came out in '95 and got crazy spins on my turntable back then. I've always loved that beat, which was a Pete Rock interlude on The Main Ingredient, but Prime ripped it and turned it into one of my favorite freestyles from that time period. Props to Unikone for this piece and to Prime for the dope music he put out. "You could be treated like a midget at a urinal/your boys'll prop you up but you'll still see your funeral/your days are numbered and I called your bluff/you should quit rappin'/you're better off tryin' to swim with handcuffs" Maaaaaaan, that shit still kills me to this very day.