Talk about your latest release Mark’s Wild Years.
I’d say Mark’s Wild Years was a big-time passion project, not that all projects aren’t essentially passion ones, this one was a special undertaking in it’s being a “tribute” (to Tom Waits) record. Tributes are hard to find in hip-hop and especially ones that are well-done. A lot of shit is done in a flavor of the month vein and end up coming out hastily. I wanted to take my time with it and also he’s a living artist and I think more tributes to the living should be made… So.. you.. know they can possibly hear it. It started as a good idea and morphed into my obsession as I spent countless hours tweaking it. But in the end I was happy.
What’s your favorite Tom Waits album?
My favorite Waits record definitely changes based on mood, but I gravitate toward Frank’s Wild Years and Rain Dogs the most. Also, Mule Variations is incredible as a later work as well. He’s got some great early work, but like most artists he really reached his pinnacle of creativity a bit later in the process. I think once he broke down a certain wall he was unstoppable. Interestingly enough… this happened when he got sober.
You just dropped a video for MWY via POW like last week, fresh.
“Singapore”… I had a total blast with that video. Too much fun and really dug how it came out. I love working with Crosby and all the extras really helped make it unique. And Elijah “Lil Bear” Timlin stole the show as the no-nonsense bouncer.
How’d you meet up with Willie Green?
Green and I met about 4 years ago at the popular open mic Bondfire (Shouts to Conscious and Tasty Keish) through the indelibly great Warren S. Britt. I needed an engineer for my first project and I got a good vibe from him. After a first few sessions we really hit our stride and began to work extremely well together. The friendship formed and now were stuck together ha. Funny caveat, I met YOU at your birthday party on Avenue C (where I live now) through Green as he told me to roll through that night. Small world eh?
Give us a tour story with Willie Green.
Mannnn we’ve met an extremely interesting cast of characters and been in some incredible situations. Whether it was me leaving him with the tab in a strange Czech bar at 8AM (Sorry bro) or a goat showing up to our Tours, France after party, or perhaps sleeping at a flat in Paris with no running water or electricity (why did dude even offer?), hostels in Prague, roaming Budapest streets taking shots of Palinka… We’ve definitely got a few. That’s my ace right there… and we all need an ace.
Can we put a spotlight on this track?
Yeah absolutely.. That track is pretty crazy, I wanted to go toe-to-toe with some of the better aggressively skilled MCs in the game and these two came right to mind and they were down so we all just went in. I had to bring the A game as the kids say and I hope, think I did.
Shouts to DJ Addikt tho.
Oh snappppp Dood Addikt is the man. His contributions to that record can’t really be said enough. I hate how much the DJ is overlooked these days. Jon is a technician and the sole reason I rooted for the Ravens in the Super Bowl.
So, freestyling, how do you do it?
I’m not going to give you long-winded bullshit explanation about it being an extension of our sub-conscious or a mythical moment in time.. It’s none of that. It’s something that I’ve always done, it’s how I learned to rap. It doesn’t define an artist but it’s certainly a telling part of their personality. The spontaneity of it is part of how certain minds work, I’m not going to say some bullshit likes “U aint NO MC if u cant sun!” that’s simply not true, it’s all a matter of the way you think. Some people essentially freestyle song concepts and then write a verse, that’s a freestyle in a way. But the traditional sense of the word is an on the spot, unrehearsed, unpremeditated rhyme. For the record if aliens asked me to pick 3 freestylers to battle for the fate of Earth it would be: Nocando, C Rayz Walz & iLLSpokinn.
Remember that Def Jux/mtvU contest?
YOOOO. The Def Jux/mtvU competition was a trip. Lots of talented people on there including you Miguel! That’s where I first heard of Has-Lo too. I was so geeked about that contest, which basically didn’t turn out to bear much fruit but it was still fun. I thought you guys were too weird at the time I remember, Sorry Marris! But it was a lot of fun to get that mtvU co-signature for a little while and someone told me they heard our song in a cafeteria at some school which was more than anything I’ve ever been exposed too then so I have nothing but fond memories of that time. Those were the days with my crew Central Intelligence, those were innocent times of wide-eyed wonder… and I think people did actually get record deals back then I can’t really remember.
What’s your favorite part about being remixed?
Being remixed is great. It’s kind of like the highest honor, and to hear another artist’s interpretation is forever one of the more intriguing aspects of doing this sort of thing. Also it exposes you to different crowd altogether usually, it’s a pretty neat deal!
*High fives air because this interview is not being done in person
Top 5 NYC venues by PremRock:
5 NYC Venues eh?? Well I’m not an OG out here so I can’t attest to some of the more classic venues but I’ll throw a few out there… Southpaw is up there I mean it really was indie friendly and gave you a professional and great venue RIP, Bowery Poetry Club meant a lot to me and many, many DIY acts over the years I miss getting completely trashed off PBRs and stumbling home from there 🙁 I think Nuyorican is a definite gem of a spot, just saw my first show at Little Field I fools with that set up, I’ve done some dope shows at Cameo Gallery but those fools are acting silly about hip-hop all of sudden so if that’s how it’s gonna be I say fuck off, and I’m really digging Spike Hill right now, I think I’ll do the next few ones there. Peace to them. Honorable shouts to Public Assembly, Trash Bar and Glass Lands.
So dope that you have a Live at Southpaw release.
All credit due to Jesse Abraham for the Live at Southpaw execution and idea. Most of our shows we throw probably have a live recording available if you just request it. Jesse recognized the potential in that and also the fact that the great Southpaw closed made it that much more dope. It was a great show and a very nice piece to add to the catalog. Plus there’s a dinosaur freestyle on there, which is not something you just FIND.
Why the switch from Premonition to PremRock?
The name switch kind of came organically but was ushered due to my frustration with no one being able to google search me with ease. Premonition is a word, was a movie etc. People couldn’t find me and in forming a career that is quite difficult. Also I chose the name in high school and I really am not that kid anymore. I began a rhyme w. “Prem, rock the…” And C Rayz was there and began calling me PremRock. It extended to the recording with Jesse Abraham and Spills on Alphabutter as I referred to myself as “PremRock” a few times during that record. After finally getting the balls to make the switch it became permanent. Although some people thought it was “PremeRock” and a tribute to Premier and Pete Rock, that’s not the case at all those are legends and the name distinction has nothing to do with them.
So what’s in store for the future?
Ahhh the future.. Well I am currently feverishly working on my next album. It doesn’t have a title but it’s beginning to take shape and direction. I won’t spill any beans yet but I have an INCREDIBLE production team lined up and can’t wait to put all of this into proper motion. I’ll spend the next 3+ months on this and then whenever it’s finished I’ll shop it around and if I don’t like any situations I’ll do it myself again. THEN I’ll plan the most back-breaking tour yet and hopefully gain a fan or two. I’m swinging hard on this one… I want it to be my signature release. I’ll be on a few guest spots coming out soon and continue to do regional shows and pop up now and again but this record is the highest..neigh the only priority right now.
How’d you get so fresh?
I acquired my freshness from a Laotian drunk in Thailand. He was drinking the foulest rice wine I ever laid eyes on and was screaming at me. The people I was with told me whatever I did not to drink his wine. But… I was told to never turn down a drink or I would be considered rude… or worse.. I could be without a drink. So I took it… And here we are.