Who the f*ckis Proe? Where the f*ck has Proe been? If you’ve made it this far then you’re undoubtedly asking at least one of these questions. Well, brave seeker, that is the 64 cent question and really the best answer is who the f*ck knows, but lets see if we can’t disentangle some of these mysteries, or not at all, and all at the same time.

Raised in Santa Cruz, CA, and encountered throughout the greater Golden State, Proe’s sound has little resemblance to a product of his surroundings. Always, for lack of a better proverbial term,  the “oddball” in a room full of his peers, Proe has never been afraid to dabble in the unconventional, and yet he doesn’t intentionally try to be “unconventional”. He’ll say he’s “just making sounds make sounds”. Proe is admittedly uncomfortable having to discuss how “different” his sound may be at times but knows there’s no way around it when it comes to the opinion of critics and fans alike. “Music isn’t a compromise for me, I don’t compromise what I hear in my head nor do I feel pressured to be some sort of trailblazer, I just make music and hope people dig it”.

But what kind of middle school kid was rapping the words to Nas – “Illmatic”, howling Tom Waits “Bone Machine”, and everything in-between? Well, that would be Proe. Eclectic? Sure, whatever, as Proe himself will grumble and tell you “It’s just music, lighten up”. But regardless of however open-minded Proe’s outlook may be, music has always been bullied into separate divisions, segregated into little economic packages which we’ve felt had to define us. However, Proe stays confident that times are finally changing.

Unmistakably hip hop yet defiantly something new, even Proe’s very early work “Tags on The Wall” and “Perfect” reflect this and offer a clear view both as a songwriter and producer of the artistic progression up to his new album “Be Brave, Gladiator”, as well the many projects Proe is working on. That’s not to say Proe doesn’t have a firm grasp on the basics and a demanding prowess as an emcee, either. Proe’s recent mixtape, “Whatever You’re On I’ll Take 2″, is full of all the punchlines, wit, wordplay, humor, and ferocity that could easily rub elbows with anyone who makes that their bread and butter.

After a long hiatus from all things music, Proe returns with his first offering “Be Brave, Gladiator” and says there’s already more projects recorded, mixed, and in the works. “BBG happened very impulsively, I just wanted my first new release to be a free album, not a mixtape, as a show of gratitude to all the people who’ve continued to write me and show me love even after such a lengthy absence. It really means a lot”. Proe has even taken the time from writing, producing, recording, and mixing the album to wear the hat of graphic designer, co-director, and video editor. Proe’s complete undertaking of everything creative involved with “Be Brave, Gladiator” makes the album only that much more unique and demonstrates the kind of independent spirit he and his crew Rec League have been exemplifying for years now.

An artist like Proe doesn’t come a long very often, for some that’s a good thing and for some it might ruffle feathers, but whichever side you choose, there’s no mistaking the fact that Proe stands out in a crowd. So, who the f*ck is Proe? An outsider? An insider looking out? Call it whatever you want but it’s clear he’s an artist completely comfortable with being himself and with a modus operandi that’s vehemently authentic. So where the f*ck has Proe been? He’s been around, in the shadows, watching with a smirk, but you can rest assured he’s back and he’s not going anywhere any time soon.


Tags On The Wall


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