Piâ€™erre Bourne knows how to break free from restrictive boxes and labels. Heâ€™s ducked in and out of various roles within the music industry, all while pushing and perfecting his sound, a hazy amalgam of a post-Yeezus Kanye West and digital SoundCloud synths, warped through his knack for long-form narratives and referential sounds.
Heâ€™s proven his prowess as a beatmaker, repeatedly racking up Billboard placements and plaques while producing for the likes of Young Nudy, Trippie Redd and Playboi Carti. As a producer, Bourne finds the balance between pushing his own narratives and respecting the artistsâ€™ wishes.
But itâ€™s when Bourne picks up the mic that the listener is finally let into his world. The Life Of Piâ€™erre 5, the latest and final installment of Bourneâ€™s rap series, stands as his most cohesive and complete body of work to date.
Bourneâ€™s production has been excellent for years and TLOP5 is no exception. But the â€œPoofâ€ artistâ€™s rapping has matured since the series began five years ago; his bars are tighter and more clever; his timing and cadence are more masterful and his newfound confidence allows him to break the mold by experimenting with ambitious song structures.
Bourneâ€™s dual role enables his thoughts and concepts to feel homegrown without any creative dissonance and far more personal results. Heâ€™s not bound by the restriction of language or the difficulties of collaboration. Rather, heâ€™s able to engage in an insular but abstract and organic manner of creating â€” and the outcome is apparent.
The production on TLOP5 sounds similar to much of Bourneâ€™s effervescent, mood-setting previous work. When producing, the 27-year-oldâ€™s process mimics a collage. Samples, loops and original compositions are layered together to combine a larger portrait of Bourneâ€™s life. Even when the lyrics arenâ€™t entirely personal, Bourneâ€™s particularity when assembling the project speaks volumes.
But the locales Bourne brings his listeners arenâ€™t foreign or otherworldly. Instead, theyâ€™re founded in familiarity and nostalgia; an ice cream truckâ€™s jingle rings out in the final moments of â€œCouchâ€ and the LP is littered with 2000s pop culture references to WWE, Spongebob, Degrassi and more.
It seems Bourne is following in the footsteps of Hip Hop icon Pharrell Williams, who tread a similar path between the lines of producer and rapper. There was a learning curve with both artists, a period where their original beatmaking skills far surpassed their rapping abilities. But eventually, their raps caught up to their production. For Pharrell, this moment came with his now-classic 2006 album In My Mind. For Bourne, TLOP5 represents the moment where heâ€™s found himself as an MC.
He glides across â€œSossboy 2â€ with longtime collaborator Lil Uzi Vert and bounces on â€œBiology 101,â€ dropping quotables over playful chimes, lacing bouncing flows within the beatâ€™s pockets using skills he hadnâ€™t yet developed in earlier editions of The Life Of Piâ€™erre series.
Bourne kept features to only whatâ€™s essential. Familiar faces are present in Playboi Carti and Lil Uzi, but he also calls on fellow Sosshouse member Sharc for one of TLOP5â€˜s three guest spots. Even with the star power present on TLOP5, Bourne still stands on centerstage, with the features building to his colorful world instead of detracting from it.
Album sequencing is an under-appreciated component of Hip Hop albums, but Bourne clearly paid it due mind. Beats blend seamlessly into the next â€” â€œHuluâ€ transforms into â€œCouch,â€ which weaves into â€œ42â€ so well that shuffling takes away from the experience. The tight-knit nature of TLOP5 helps to create a full-circle experience, but it also brings a level of monotony which, at times, strikes as redundant.
â€œAmen,â€ the albumâ€™s weakest link, couldâ€™ve been substituted with something as sharp and vitriolic as â€œ40 Clips,â€ one of the few times TLOP5 strays from the blueprint and allows for more experimentation. â€œYNSâ€ is one of the more personal tracks for Bourne but even in the albumâ€™s effort to blend with full cohesion itâ€™s inessential and skippable. Though the project at times calls for more diverse experimentation, itâ€™s a small sacrifice to enjoy the intoxicating progression of TLOP5, watching as Bourne continues his journey to becoming a fully-fledged rapper.
pierre bourne put crack in the life of pierre 5, like why is it that good
â€” princessâ˜† (@tsw3lo) June 24, 2021
@pierrebourne is this generations Pharrell Williams
â€” â˜ªï¸? (@juicyboxez) June 12, 2021