You don’t have to break the bank to make an enigmatic music video in hip-hop, and one could even make the argument that something made on the DIY end of the spectrum embodies much more of the genre’s core aesthetic than anything overstated financially would. Through this lens, what Hakeem Prime has to offer in the new music video for his single “Imma Let You Go” is a lot more thoughtful than what a lot of the mainstream players he’s competing with have done lately, and I personally found it to sport one of the more stirring beats of any I’ve heard in he underground lately.
The sensuous groove beneath these rhymes undeniably caves in on us by the time we get the middle portion of the single, but this seems to have been entirely intentional on the part of Hakeem Prime. He wants to create an insular environment through which his most intimate of emissions can feel natural and connective with the audience, and because of his attention to detail in this release, he’s able to get everything he wanted and then some. It’s slow and supple but also reluctantly sweet, which is precisely the mood of the lyrics personified.
This master mix is one of the more superbly defined of any I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing in the last few months, and although it has a certain textural omittance that isn’t something I would normally go for in a hip-hop single, there’s nothing to suggest that Hakeem Prime needed it to have the lion’s share of the spotlight to himself. He doesn’t necessarily want this to sound like a mixtape or something deliberately off the cuff, but instead a representation of his straightforwardness at the mic – even when there happen to be some pretty impressive melodies circling his every verse.
I can see why critics have been taking such a keen interest in this player in 2022, and although I’m only just now getting into his music thanks to the buzz surrounding “Imma Let You Go,” this probably isn’t going to be the last occasion on which his work is generating enough hype to turn more than a few heads in the American underground. He doesn’t necessarily sound like he’s gunning for pop radio with this look, but that in turn makes his identity all the more authentic for those of us who are a little picky about the music we’re spinning these days.