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“The Life of Pi’erre 5” shows one of hip-hop’s best producers can also rap — and very well hold his own

The fifth installment of Bourne’s “The Life of Pi’erre” boasts great beats and a maturing lyricist, confirming his musical talent transcends making instrumentals for others

<p>“The Life of Pi’erre 5,” or “TLOP5,” is appropriately the one to establish Bourne as a respectable rapper.</p>

“The Life of Pi’erre 5,” or “TLOP5,” is appropriately the one to establish Bourne as a respectable rapper.

If you are not familiar with Pi’erre Bourne yet, you should be. If not, there is probably a good reason. Bourne, formally known as Jordan Timothy Jenks, is considered a producer before a rapper. 

Aside from his Internet-famous producer tag “Yo Pierre, you wanna come out here?” he does not receive much mainstream publicity. That said, since he produced good friend Playboi Carti’s 2017 breakout song “Magnolia,” he has become somewhat of hip hop’s perennial producer, collaborating with today's rap icons. Bourne has made beats for the likes of Kanye West, Young Thug, Drake, Lil Uzi Vert and 21 Savage. While his attention from the public lacks, his clout within the rap community has catapulted him to the status of “elite producer."  

That is not to say he is not a rapper, either. Bourne has uploaded raps to Soundcloud since 2015 and has featured on songs from Lil Yachty and Playboi Carti. “The Life of Pi’erre 5,” or “TLOP5,” is appropriately the one to establish Bourne as a respectable rapper. While rap purists won’t like the album's lack of traditional hip hop elements, “The Life of Pi’erre 5” makes up for these flaws in this simple, often enjoyable statement album.

If I had to describe “The Life of Pi’erre 5” in one word, it would be “fun.” This 16-track album begins with “Intro” which is simply a phone call between Jenks and his grandma. The opening track “Intro” smoothly transitions into track two “Switching Lanes.”

Many Bourne and Playboi Carti fans were already familiar with this song, as it leaked in 2019.  Regardless, this is a stand out track and a great first real song to begin the album. Carti — coming off the release of his number one album “Whole Lotta Red'' — injects his high-pitched voice adored by fans. Since Playboi Carti and Bourne started each others' career, these two teaming up just like old times, but this time as major players in hip hop, is great.  

“Switching Lanes” once again seamlessly transitions into a simple, meandering, highly anticipated third track “HULU.” "South Side Farmers Boulevard / Rest in peace JP” Bourne raps as he recalls his friends and where he grew up. For all the built-up anticipation surrounding this track, “HULU” does not disappoint.

A recurring theme throughout “TLOP5” is the high anticipation for certain songs prior to the album’s release, like the first two full songs. This anticipation can be in part attributed to the circulation of leaks, in which full songs are leaked to the internet without the artist’s consent.  The synth-heavy, flirty twelth track, “Drunk And Nasty,” is an example. Leaking Bourne's work was taken to a new level when “The Life of Pi’erre 5” was leaked in full on June 6 — when its scheduled release date was June 11.  

The high anticipation also references Bourne's tendency to tease his songs. On multiple Instagram lives and Twitch streams, the rapper has played snippets or even full-on performed his unreleased songs, garnering excitement among his fan base. Many of these teased songs appear in "TLOP5," including “SNS,” where Bourne raps of the dreams he has attained, and “Couch,” which sees Bourne reminisce on the days where he was broke and couch-ridden — his names are very straightforward sometimes.

“Couch'' transitions perfectly into''42," a video-game-esque track paying homage to Jackie Robinson. By now, you have probably picked up on the mention of flawless transitions. That is because all the tracks are mixed in a way that every song ends essentially with the beat that begins the next track. The album can be played through entirely with no discernible ending of a song, neatly making “The Life of Pi’erre 5” a flowing reflection of Bourne's life.

The spectacular transitions are an ode to Bourne's prowess as a producer.  This is not surprising considering Jenks cites legendary producers Pharell Williams, Timbaland  and Kanye West as his influences. Many of the stand out tracks stand out for their beat.  

Bourne recruits frequent collaborator Lil Uzi Vert for one of the best instrumentals and ultimately best songs on the album. A less playful, more menacing trap beat allows Lil Uzi Vert to shine on his feature, justifying his namesake, rapping with malicious intent and the quick cadence of an uzi pistol. Uzi, confident, lets everyone know of his riches, rapping, “Put diamonds on my molars so I can see the tooth fairy." It should be noted that featuring Lil Uzi Vert and Playboi Carti on the same album is no easy feat, and they both deliver on “TLOP5”.

Track number six “Biology 101” is another track with a strong beat. It is truly a testament to the fun element of the album. “I just want your body like anatomy,” Bourne playfully raps over a typical upbeat, but relaxed Bourne beat. Considering Bourne repeats “Pull up to my hotel like I’m Cassidy” 11 times, the lyricism is certainly not where the song shines, but it shines nonetheless. “Butterfly” and “Retroville” also deliver captivating instrumentals in a way only Bourne can.

Gripes with Bourne's lyricism are easy. He does not deliver the bars of orthodox hip hop and repeats “Who you know get the cash like P?” 24 times which is … numbing.  However, he tends to compensate with his own unique approach to lyrics.

Though lacking bars, he has a knack for witty one-liners. In “4U,” he raps, “Baby it’s a flag on the play, let me hold you.” In “Practice” he cleverly raps, “I’m in the cut like neosporin.” “Make ‘em all pay like they tithes,” Bourne says on “Butterfly.” On “The Life Of Pi’erre 5,” Bourne does not inject thought-provoking bars but his metaphors and similes add an amusing lyrical element to an album of spectacular instrumentals. 

The final track of the album, “4U,” is an amazing closer. Spacey, evocative of a '90s pixelated video game, relatively lyrical, and with Jenks’ signature producer tag, “4U” is the perfect culmination of “TLOP5”. It encapsulates all elements of Bourne's creativity. He croons “like my playstation, girl, let me console you / I know it’s hard to talk sometimes when you don’t want to,” showing his cheeky lyricism which can actually make a hit.  

Bourne’s second studio album, “The Life of Pi’erre 5” shows his creativity in a new light to many: rapping. If you are looking for bars, “TLOP 5” is not for you. Still, Jenks’ imaginative staple instrumentals reminiscent of a 90’s SEGA video games paired with his budding lyricism help Bourne release something of a statement album in “The Life of Pi’erre 5.” It will not be nominated for a Grammy and Bourne will not be lauded for his lyrics like, “Used to work a grocery store, got these bags on me” — but that’s not what Bourne wants. 

“The Life of Pi’erre 5” — aside from providing blissful beats and bars of swagger — proves that Bourne can effectively straddle producing and rapping. Keep your ears peeled for his catchy tag in the future, whether on his songs or others. It will only become more and more common.