'The Life Of Pi'erre 5' Proves Pi'erre Bourne Saved the Best Beats For Himself
Photo: Cian Moore
If you're a music fan that likes to keep their ear to the ground, then you know why last week was a special day for hip-hop fans. While some may have been bumping Culture III or Polo G's Hall Of Fame, many fans were rejoicing with the long-awaited release of The Life of Pi'erre 5, the latest project from producer powerhouse Pi'erre Bourne. Perhaps it is reductive to label him as a producer at this point in his career, as the Atlanta-via-South Carolina multi-hyphenate has been steadily been releasing his own music for the better part of the last decade.
To celebrate the TLOP5's highly-anticipated release, Bourne also released "The Life of Pi'erre Documentary," a brief window into the life of a 2016 Bourne - then largely unknown aside from those involved behind the scenes in hip-hop. It's a sentimental and inspiring view into a frustrating time in Bourne's life, a moment when his artistry had been recognized but not appreciated.
Coincidentally, the documentary actually draws strong spiritual parallels to a little-known Kanye West record released 12 years prior, The College Dropout. "Ain’t nobody expect Kanye to end up on top," West raps on the album closer "Last Call." "They expected that College Dropout to drop and then flop / Then maybe he stop savin’ all the good beats for himself."
These words reflect a haunting truth behind a struggle that few artists can understand, one that Bourne and West had found themselves in, albeit over a decade apart. The result of both rappers' frustrations manifested similar results, as today Bourne stands as one of the most simultaneously established and up-and-coming acts in hip-hop today. With a diverse set of skills and a near-prodigal amount of talent behind the board, The Life of Pi'erre 5 serves as Bourne's inauguration into hip-hop's main stage.
The Life of Pi'erre 5 is a refreshingly new and inspired entry into a long-running series of mixtapes cultivated by the mastermind himself. Featuring guest appearances from Playboi Carti, Lil Uzi Vert, and Sharc, Bourne's naturally charismatic style becomes amplified by his undeniable chemistry with his guest artists. Even though some tracks like "Switching Lanes" were leaked long before TLOP5's release, within the context of the record they take a new form for both familiar and unfamiliar listeners alike.
Like the previous entry into this series of tapes, TLOP5 features a wide variety of styles, sounds, and aesthetics. Tracks like album singles "4U" and "Biology 101" are dreamy and melodic bangers that feature lofty synths, polished vocal performances, and hard-hitting percussion. While songs like "Amen" and "YNS" are relatively more downtempo than the rest of the cuts you'll hear on this tape. Whether it is Bourne's use of cultural references, affinity for vintage soundbites, or fixation with similes, there is something to be praised at every corner of TLOP5.
Above all, arguably the main virtue that The Life Of Pi'erre 5 offers is the opportunity to give an artist who has contributed so much to the culture his flowers. Bourne is responsible for crafting the breakout hits of many prominent hip-hop acts today, and without him, hip-hop's cultural landscape would look entirely different. Though TLOP5 may not gravitate as heavily towards rap's mainstream as some may prefer, it more than makes up for it with its risk-taking flows, innovative beats, and clever composition.
Listen to The Life Of Pi'erre 5 below: