[Review] Sha Prince – “Latex & Perfume”

The last time we had a solo project from Sha Prince was Visible Concepts back in 2009; since then Sha Prince and Flex – The Antiheroes; have collaborated on two full length albums This Is FreeDUMB and Modern Day Riot. This time around Sha Prince, with undoubtedly the album title of the year – Latex & Perfume, gets more in-depth speaking on some relationships he has encountered and been through over the years. When Sha Prince and Flex get together and give you such prodigious bodies of work as they have; the way their flows craft together to create great records like “Circus Clown”, you really get a glimpse of why that is when taking in Latex & Perfume. future noted when Flex’s solo project comes out in the early new year. Thanks to Sha Prince and Smashmouth Entertainment we at The Come Up Show had the opportunity to listen to an advance copy over the past two weeks. Read the track by track review and make sure to visit our site 8pm ET tomorrow for our live video interview on The Come Up Show TV.  Update: Check out the video interview in full and make sure to download the tape if you haven’t already.

1. Anatomy Of My Relationship

Breaking off a drum roll, right away Sha Prince welcomes you as you step into his life. Instantly capturing your attention with metaphoric lines, making you have to in-vision what is being said as he sets the premise for the album. This personal favorite makes for a great introduction as your taken through his relationship over a drum heavy instrumental scattered with synth’s and spacey electronic add-in’s. This is one listening to over and over becomes beneficial because you discover new sounds and discover deeper meanings to some of the lyrics as you listen further. Sha Prince starting off Latex & Perfume with the words: “Anatomy of my relationship, two lovers tainted; with venom lips. Only God watches, while we dive in sin. Makings of a painful kiss”

2. Cold Summer Nights

Opening with a sample from Martin Lawrence’s “You So Crazy” stand up comedy show, “Cold Summer Nights” takes a turn on the intro track over a classical loop as Sha Prince talks about what it is like being in a relationship with someone you love, yet she can turn in an instant on you. Right off the bat this album becomes relatable for anyone who has ever been in a relationship. Sha Prince saying on the track “Mesmerizing but the same time evil, how does it work? between the opposite of the devil and Jesus”. You get a clear picture of how Sha Prince is going to dig deep into the relationships he has been through only two songs into Latex & Perfume.

3. Perception Of Insanity

“Perception Of Insanity” opens with a scene I can’t quite put a name to, though right away Sha Prince goes in letting you know more of what he’s all about with some crazy multi-syllable flows. If your familiar with Sha Prince, you know he is one real artist who would never stray from speaking the honest truth and this record is a testament to that. Kicking the track off on this inspirational composition “Nas told me life’s a bitch, and Treach showed me it’s okay to be that bastard kid, and I aint ever have a lot of money far from rich, I’m digging deep inside my pockets grab minimum wage artist, the underground king rocking the beat like Van Halen, the rap villain”.

4. Exploit My Life ft. Skyzoo & Flex

“Exploit My Life” opens up with a clip of Kanye’s no photo’s rant, leading into Sha Prince’s verse followed by Skyzoo than Flex. This track is almost self explanatory just taking in the title, though all three put a twist on it throwing their opinion on how some media exploits celebrities to the fullest. Breaking from his relationship’s with women, Sha Prince takes a minute to speak on his relationship with the music, which can be deemed as a women. Sha Prince, Skyzoo and Flex each offering a vivid perspective to the track, Sha Prince gives this stand-out quotable “Forward my life to you, fuck it I’ll surrender. Give you whatever you need to make my pockets better. Dying while living my wallop in it while I’m beginning to think all invested could be compared to a drug injected”.

5. Latex & Perfume

The next track Sha Prince takes you on a journey through the superstitions that women have when their men go out, obviously through a man’s perspective; and I’m sure a ton of you have gone through the same thing in a similar way. Over a somber jazz remedy, the way Sha Prince goes back and forth in an almost conversation like track paints the canvas perfectly as you can sit back and watch the story pan out in your mind, topping it all off with he words “Latex and perfume, late nights and curfews..she waiting by that phone”.

6. Norman Silliker

Taking it up a notch over a beat that reminds me of some theme music for an 80’s action movie diving in with “not trying to sell your tickets or open on the bill, with a headlining act I run laps around a million times, sprint the last couple while I walk past the finish line”. Not like Sha is getting cocky, he’s just being real – using his birth name as the title for this one. Full of slick punchlines, some you have to hit repeat on a few times to open the envelope and fully grasp the cleverness of it. Right away this one captured my attention, “no that’s when you lost, Hieroglyphic’s, my soul if full of mischief burning these f*cking bridges”. By now you notice a double context in the album as well, relationships but crossed with horror themed lines. I had to go back and start from the intro just to take in how clever this one is at this point.

7. Pain x Fame x Greed

Taking the time to vent on some feelings – in a way that I really find amazing when artists do – through a first/third person perspective. Each track as you progress takes you through all the different scenarios, but this one hits home as you listen because it has you looking at yourself further and further as Sha breaks down “Pain x Fame x Greed” on this almost Zelda like themed music. Instantly your hit with “Pain speaks volumes, can you feel every word of it? Sometimes I’d rather feel nothing and be emotionless”.

8. Jello Pudding

The up-tempo 80’s hip-hop style “Jello Pudding”, Sha Prince brings you with him while he tells you a bit on how he grew up, taking a break from some the emotional side of things while still remaining to keep it with in the context of the song – if you get what I’m saying. As the horns uplift this break beat, Sha displays his diversity as an artist to the fullest, especially to anyone new to his music. If that’s the case, by now you have learned so much in such a short period of time.

9. Heaven’s Road ft. T.Y.

Hearing about this collaboration early in an interview I did with T.Y. I knew immediately that these two on a record would destroy it (in a good way – for lack of a better term). Knowing both these artists very well separately, them merging on a track was bound to be something special. Reminiscing on some heartbreaking moments both had gone through, this one really makes you cherish the relationships you have, quoting Sha Prince “Time is precious more valuable than any gold, we could disappear tomorrow in a cloud of smoke”. Here’s what Sha Prince said about this one:

“This beat came to me and I loved it, It was one of those things where I loved the beat but had a hard time for awhile to figure out where to go with it, I tried a few things that just wouldn’t stick, eventually got 2 verses down and later decided to chop the 2nd for a feature.

I was out in Hamilton opening for Joey Bada$$ & Flatbush Zombies with my group “The Antiheroes” with Flex, T.Y. came out on stage, we was next up so we was trying to make our way thru the packed crowd, so at this point we was really paying attention, he killed it, had the crowd going, stage presence was amazing and the music sounded really good. in my head I’m like “who the fuck is this guy?!”

Next day we chopped it up via Facebook, he mentioned he was down to work so I thought fuck it, I’ll send him Heavens Road, he sent back his vocals not to much later and it was a wrap!

There’s not to many artist that really catch my ear with how over saturated this game is but T.Y. was one and I was more than happy to get him on my project, he’s very talented and on top of that very humble, I really hope that kid goes places.

As far as the content the whole “Heavens Road” is about losing someone in life and knowing they up there waiting for you watching down.

I did my verse about my great grandfather, who I’ve never really mentioned before in a song but he was one of the most important people in my upbringing, I didn’t have my father in my life but I was very close to him, he was a great person and to this day an inspiration to me in so many ways, it was tough to even speak on that, maybe that’s why it took so long, I’ve lost a lot of people in my life but he is someone I still feel emotional about every time I think of him.

T.Y. touched on losing his Nephew and how excited they were to have a new life in this world but then was taken to soon.

I was worried sending someone I don’t personally know such a personal song, but he definitely did that joint justice, he really made the song came alive in my opinion.”

10. Why You Mad?

Making a flip on M.O.P’s “Ante Up”, Sha Prince breaks down for those who may not know what is like to be an artist who works so hard but may not get the credit they deserve. The original instrumental comes from The Doppelgangaz Beat Tape Doppic Of Discussion, since Sha Prince dropped this one early you can see for yourself the harsh reality he writes about but in a sincere way.

11. Promise Freedom

Breaking the halfway point of Latex & Perfume, Sha Prince makes a classic concept with “Promise Freedom” telling a story of how insomnia, anxiety, stress, insanity, pain, fear, greed, pleasure and addiction all tie in together in a time where he was promised freedom. The ten tracks leading up to this point really offer an array of thoughts, emotions and heartbreaks and here it almost hits a boiling point. Not as if Sha Prince is in reality dealing with all these, but there’s a spark that evidently lead to the writing of this song. As Sha said he “put a lot into this project” It’s clear some songs must of been really tough to put down on a record and it shows how strong of a person he is to make this all come together.

12. Replace Me ft. Flex & Relic

“Replace Me”, where Sha Prince joins up with the other half of The Antiheroes Flex on the verses, getting Relic to top it off with a hook the sets the tone, calming things down after Sha Prince and Flex go in with some complex flows. On this one both emcees reflect on their relationships; “Never did lie until I got caught, maybe I’m wrong or maybe I’m lost, maybe not understanding there’s something I need to learn, everything come at a cost”. Almost the second the instrumental begins, the feeling of cranking the volume comes to mind; which really make it clear on what they are trying to say amplified through the speakers.

13. Stirred Echoes Interlude

Taking a brief pause, the eerie background music with the sounds of a chainsaw revving over it lead you into the next track “Stirred Echoes” as Sha Prince, presumably acting out a scene from the next track’s visuals, singing the hook to close it out. Leaving you to wonder what will come next.

14. Stirred Echoes

Continuing over the eerie instrumental which is set by the haunting singing in the background. Sha Prince writes on how sometimes relationships can make you want to do some crazy things; taking you through the whole scenario from start to finish. Although things spoke about on this one are not true – obviously, it’s a good rendition rather than attacking the topic straight forward.

15. Still Waiting.. ft. Puzzle

“Still Waiting” rises with a different tone, as Sha Prince keeps you in tune with his life further, talking on how through all the hard work he has put it, he is still waiting on his big break – which without a doubt will come sooner than later I think. Opening another verse for a feature, Sha Prince is joined by Puzzle on the second verse. Most artists who go through the up’s and down’s of love share the same experience in one way or another which is why I believe every song on Latex & Perfume is relatable for any listener, your given raw un-cut thoughts from someone who isn’t scared to be themselves and share their experiences with you, with words like “half the time I’m telling my girl I’m about to pull the plug, I love you but this pain is so deep, most times smother us”.

16. Why You Mad? (Relic Remix)

“Why You Mad? remixed by Relic provides a whole different tone for the song. With nothing but the beat flipped, it almost makes for a smoother listen, giving you a second chance to let this one really sink in. Allowing the next track really be able to fully grasp your attention

17. Wedding Bells

Right as soon the piano keys hit the strings creating such off beat melodic chords, the importance of Latex & Perfume sets in, because Sha Prince is giving you a lot of him, even things he doesn’t have to share with us all. “Wedding Bells” being the most personal song in Latex & Perfume, Sha Prince gave us a few words on the track:

“Once again I heard the beat and I was hooked, I knew I’d use it but didn’t exactly know what angle I’d take, It’s not your typical hip hop beat.

When I sat down to pen the verses it just came out so naturally, the idea came to me soon as I started going over the beat that day, I decided to write it in a different way then I usually do, I had the concept so I wrote about two pages of ideas and things I wanted to mention in the song, although I didn’t get to them all majority I found a way to stick in the story.

It’s a very personal record as well, I don’t usually touch on the topic of my kids much through song or the ups and downs with there mother, but it all poured out of me and came out incredible.

I feel it’s the most important record of my career based of the topic and how close it hits home, there’s so much emotion, pain, struggle and love tied into that song.

It’s definitely the most poetic, deep and vulnerable you will hear me on any record.”

18. My Apology

Opening with a the beautiful sounds of a violin, “My Apology” is an almost letter to his significant other apologizing for some of the things he may have put her through in the long time they have been together. Relationship’s have their up’s and down’s for sure, but it takes two that really care for each other to stick together through thick and thin. “My Apology” is Sha Prince expressing that love. This is one that had me thinking on past relationships I’ve been through thinking of things maybe I could have done different.

19. Fast Asleep (The End)

With the grand finale, Sha Prince gets on his slow flow style for a short and sweet verse wrapping up everything he brought us through throughout this entire album over the past fifty three minutes. With everything Sha put on the table with Latex & Perfume, he ends it perfectly over this capturing sampled instrumental. Speaking on how how everything he may have been through in his relationship, he still needs that special someone around no matter what.

Looking at Latex & Perfume as whole, the amount of content spoke about in it’s entirety makes it a memorable moment to be able to partake on some of the things spoken about on this record. There’s always that stigma that once a group, making solo records just isn’t the same, but Sha Prince and Flex both merged as solo artists, so it’s been some time since Sha Prince was able to really sit down and focus on his personal side of things. I can’t stress enough about how astonishing, amazing, thought-provoking, and emotional Latex & Perfume became for me being able to really take each song in multiple times over and over throughout the past two weeks. From songs like “Exploit My Life”, to the four and a half minute “Anatomy Of My Relationship” where the whole album gets opened up to you form the jump, to “Heaven’s Road” and “Wedding Bells” where as Sha says “it’s the most vulnerable you’ll ever see me on a record”. This is one that has been on repeat for me for a while now and honestly there is a lot of good music and albums I never take off my playlist, this is definitely one of them. From discovering deeper meaning the more I listen to it, to being effected emotionally from some songs, Latex & Perfume is the definition of what timeless and great music is all about.