The sophomore outing from the dynamic duo of Royce da 5'9" and DJ Premier, PRhyme 2 maintains a similar formula to the debut installment while improving upon production and vitality. On 2014's PRhyme, Royce and Preem sampled a single artist -- soulman Adrian Younge -- on a tight collection with a roster of high-profile guests. Here, the pair focus on AntMan Wonder, a Philadelphia producer and composer, for their samples. Combined with hard-hitting beats, old-school scratching, and a dizzying maze of dense rhymes, PRhyme 2 satisfies more than its predecessor and should please fans of Smoke DZA and Pete Rock's collaborative Don't Smoke Rock, Run the Jewels' more laid-back material, and the Dilated Peoples catalog. A distinct old-school flavor creates a rich and nostalgic experience, especially on highlights like "W.O.W." and "Rock It." As veterans of hip-hop, PRhyme make their impressive pedigrees known, addressing the Lil Mumbles and Lil SoundClouds of the world with elder statesmen wisdom, not outright attacks, as heard on "Everyday Struggle." They get rightfully angry about the state of the world, with Royce assuming lyrical prophet and truth-teller status on "Black History," while maintaining a tough, braggadocious veneer on the breath-snatching "1 of the Hardest." Royce's flow is something to behold, with layers of lyrics to pore over with repeated listens, revealing humor, pain, and everything in between. Guest recruits hold their own with the formidable MC. Roc Marciano stars on the standout "Respect My Gun," as menacing as it is smoothly addictive. Dave East goes toe to toe with Royce on the sparse "Era," while 2 Chainz lends some playfulness to the slinky bounce of "Flirt." In addition, Big K.R.I.T., Rapsody, and CeeLo Green boost PRhyme 2 with their distinctive voices and energies. At a time when multiple producers and playlists/mixtapes rule the rap game, the focus and intent on PRhyme 2 are comforts that PRhyme effortlessly nail.
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AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung