Little-known, ambitious British boards master, The Purist, has been an avid workaholic lately, never resting, steadily collaborating with an eclectic group of MC’s—from newbies like Danny Brown to veterans like Havoc—in a rising and promising effort to get his sound heard. He comes from the U.K., yet offers an estranged style with a boom bass reminiscent of the 90s New York hip-hop scene. The dynamics of his still-limited catalogue prove his versatility and eligibility to an incredibly wide range of artists. He’s been stirring his way around hip-hop circles lately, polishing his upcoming EP, TR-ill, dropping February 4 via Daupe! and King Kong Holding Company.
But before we look toward his promising 2013, the guy had quite the rambunctious and diligent 2012 that’s certainly worth peering at. In the spring, The Purist teamed up with Queens-bound, food and sexual innuendo aficionado, Action Bronson, on “Northern and Roozy,” a premier track off his Bang Bang EP. With Bronson on the mic, The Purist offers a crisp, tight drum loop, filled out by heavy and supportive strings, taut enough to bear Bronson’s rough grin. There’s a signature Bronsolini charm. His hard-hitting, scruffy New Yawk snarl, subtly lightened by a smirking sense of self-awareness and verve. Back to back, on the same EP, The Purist elicits the mic-smithing of Roc Marciano for “Change,” with a smooth, fixed drum track under a wailing wa-wa peddle, as if he’s perfected the use of that little wobbly dial on the side of keyboards to make your notes really whine. And then, out of nowhere, Ty Nitty, one-third of Queensbridge titans, Infamous Mob, comes through on the EP’s most soulful, bluesy, rock ‘n’ roll-infused beat yet, “Heavy Metal.” The voice of a 90s New York rap veteran latches perfectly on to The Purist’s bold drum underline, laced with a bawdy bass guitar riff, topped bar after bar with a howling electric lead sample. The track sounds as if he cut up a Hendrix solo and dropped a note each bar just for added style and ambience. The rest of the EP, which is live on Bandcamp, is full of jazz-laden sample tracks, horns, organ loops, and piano sonatas; essential The Purist flaunts impressive instrumentation and his musical prowess pro bono.
Lately The Purist has been prepping for the release of his next project, TR-ill: a nine-track EP, much darker sounding, filled with more electric, synth-oriented instrumentals than on previous releases. The EP’s single, “Jealousy,” featuring Danny Brown, is a firey collaboration between an ambient, floating beat and flute melody, with the yarping, vulgar, sex-crazed Danny Brown keeping it rapid and fast-acting. The presence of Danny Brown not only allows a large platform for The Purist to flaunt his skills, but proves his relevance and ties to prominent names in the hip-hop world. Danny Brown has been on the up-and-up ever since his critically acclaimed release of XXX in 2011, and he’s on his way to releasing his first major label debut. For The Purist to have just worked with, let alone craft a wonderfully tight, expressive, and mutually (for both Brown and The Purist) top-shelf track, is a testament to The Purist’s potential, creativity, and notability.
The TR-ill EP also offers up “Cold Hearts”: a buff, abrasive track featuring the seasoned likes of Big Twins, Havoc, and Sean Price. Perhaps a nod to the old school, with simplistic drum lines matched with rich, wobbly, synthesized keyboard shots for these strong-voiced veterans to spit over. The Purist stays very akin to whom he is working with, and makes sure to stay in line with their efforts and their strengths. When featuring an MC, each track is a calculated alliance, a joint effort to create a platform for each to succeed.
The Purist may be a little-known U.K.-based producer, but he certainly has an impressive resume of MC co-signs, and a versatile portfolio of tracks waiting to be explored. TR-ill will most likely be his most prominent and successful release to date, and give him the attention he has strived for, allowing him a wider range, and freedom, of artists to partner with, projects to produce, and lanes to prosper in. The Purist is just beginning, rich with potential, progression, and technique; he will undoubtedly be a name to watch for in 2013. Make sure to go cop, download, and bump the TR-ill EP on February 4 (which is available for streaming on Stereogum today), but in the meantime peep his Bandcamp and spin through Bang Bang.