Prozack Turner: Comes Back Hungry

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When Prozack Turner (of Bay Area hip-hop act Foreign Legion) left the States last year for a six-week retreat in Ireland, he wasn't exactly on a quest for rest and relaxation. He headed overseas with his rhyme book in hand, on a mission to record his new solo effort, Bangathon. "When not in the pubs, I was in the studio or on double-decker buses writing the album," recalls Prozack in his Bay Area twang. "So it was definitely a great place to get away and put things into perspective."

Prozack rightfully had a lot to contemplate. Following two independently released albums with Foreign Legion, this animated MC got signed by DreamWorks to record his solo debut. They even gave him a budget big enough to get first-class beatsmiths like The Alchemist, Pete Rock, and the late J Dilla in the studio. But not long after the completion of Death, Taxes and Prozack, DreamWorks got bought out, leaving the album stuck in the vaults.

Prozack never received the other 50 percent of the money he was owed, and wound up losing most of what he bought with his advance check-including his prized Cadillac Seville. "I never really gave a damn about money, just as long as my cell phone's on," says Prozack. "I did enjoy the splendors and I didn't work for a couple years and that was cool, but I could care less about the money. I would have done the record for free. Just the opportunity to get my thoughts out there and share it with the world is what being an artist is all about."

If there's one thing the DreamWorks situation taught this MC, it's that when it comes to business, you can't rely on anyone but yourself. Once Prozack returned from Ireland, he was so eager to get his new album out that he launched his own record label, Hungerstrike, to do so. "After going through being on a major label for a while and previously being on independent labels, it's like I have a college education in the music industry," Prozack explains. "It's like, ''Why don't I just do this all myself?'' It's a lot of work, but it's very satisfying at the end of the day when you know that everything is getting done."

Prozack may no longer have the budget to record with hip-hop greats, but on Bangathon, he proves that the people he works with aren't nearly as important as the story he has to tell. Fellow independent artists will relish the story of his struggle within the record industry and his ultimate perseverance on the track "Hungry." Meanwhile, everyday guys will relate to Prozack's frustration with club-going women and their shifty behavior on "Club Girls." He may not have one target audience, but Prozack rarely fails to entertain with his vivid and brutally honest raps. "There's no bullshit in there," he says of his new album, but he could just as easily be describing himself.