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FSD Feature: ProbCause: The Jack of Many Trades

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 Words by Elyssa Czynski (@czynskers)

ProbCause is the rapper-painter who coasts among numerous rappers in the scene. Most recently, he released his animation “How To Graduate From Art School,” and this past summer he released the album The Recipe: Volume 2, the follow up to his 2012 debut. Prob has his hand in two different fields, which makes both his art and his music that more intriguing.

Currently, Prob is studying to get his Masters at School of the Art Institute of Chicago while also working on numerous music projects. In the basement of his home is a studio where he records with others under Bonafyde Media, “a full service music, art, and entertainment company” that ProbCause has a hand in. Bonafyde works with Psalm One, Doc da Mindbenda and Wes P Beats as well, just to name a few. The house has many of ProbCause’s paintings, and as one walks through it you get a sense that this is a creative haven for rappers and artists alike.

Lately he has let his art and music become interwoven more apparently and directly than before. ProbCause has always had a hand in album art and music videos, but lately it is different. “Up until this year I’ve really kept my music and my art separate,” explained ProbCause; so separate that his painterly talents were unknown to many, especially those he knew through music, “People who have known me for 5 or 6 years had no idea I could paint and draw until they started seeing the single covers I did leading up to The Recipe: Volume 2.”

Since the recent collision of his art and rap worlds, Prob has been integrating his art into his music career. Album covers were just the tip of the iceberg. He most recently has been making a stop motion animation music video for “Three Course Meal” from Volume 2, which features Action Bronson and Chance The Rapper and in puppet form no less. “I’m starting to animate my own music videos, do all my own artwork and lace other musicians with art for their projects. I think I was just waiting to figure out how to merge my two talents in a way that made sense.”

ProbCause’s “Art School” animation was published on his ProbCauseTV YouTube page and got responses from musicians and artists alike. Reading the comments, it is cool that people had moments where they would realize that their favorite rapper also created this or that this critique of art school pompousness was made by a dope Chicago rapper. The piece itself, is wicked hilarious and for anyone who ever went to a liberal arts college or took a studio art course (really anything in the humanities) knows the jargon-filled, overly hip kid who oozes pretention.

“My practice is really about, uh, you know, like the ephemeral and the temporal, and like, just this juxtaposition between gesture and text, and stillness and movement, and I really try and do it in a way that not over aestheticized, cuz like I really wanna evoke this, this, pure sense of nostalgia for the viewer, but, but, the viewer – I mean I don’t even think about the viewer cuz I’m not, like, a sellout…” the talking head says. Septum ring and name-dropping included, ProbCause’s creation embodies all of the obnoxious classmates that Prob has encountered and his particularly unique style of drawing. There is a lot going on in this short piece, all of it interesting and all by ProbCause.

The character in “Art School” actually says nothing of real substance and is exemplary of how ProbCause felt when returning to school after spending so much time immersed in his music, particularly when touring with Cherub this past fall. Believe it or not, this was his final from this past semester. It was screened on loop in a gallery show with precisely the students he pokes fun at walking by.

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The post FSD Feature: ProbCause: The Jack of Many Trades appeared first on Fake Shore Drive.

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