With their newest album “Solar Panels,” Boone, North Carolina based hip-hop duo, Pragmaddix, comes through with an energizing record full of nostalgia-fueled instrumentals and cunning wordplay proving that Boone has a lot to offer to the hip-hop world.
Pragmaddix consists of John Harper and Daniel Di Salvo, who go by the stage names Artemis Diesel and Qwyk Cardino. They came together in 2013, when both members decided to pursue their passion for hip-hop.
“Solar Panels” was released as a free stream on SoundCloud and is the duo’s debut album. Many of the lyrics and instrumentals were chosen far ahead of the album’s official release. “The timeline for this project was tricky; we actually had the beats picked and lyrics written for close to a year before we released it,” Cardino said. “We went through a few obstacles as far as getting our sound right and really achieving the vibe. We always like to have a timeline set in mind, but ultimately it’s about making the music right.”
The album kicks off with the in-your-face song, “Confrontation”. Produced by Throvobeats, this track showcases the duo’s lyrical talent over a sparkling, futuristic instrumental. “Shadowbox” then continues with a more aggressive lyrical stance that talks up their background and pulls listeners in as they prove their worth with lines like “Not just another white boy who felt a sudden urge to jot down a couple words.”
“One Of These Days”, featuring C. Shreve the Professor, a member of other Boone based hip-hip group Free The Optimist, offers more of an intense lyrical vibe as well as a clear demonstration of the duo’s fast paced rhyming. The two groups have endured a long-lasting creative relationship together, both having been a part of the App State cypher.
“FTO has been a huge help in our stepping onto the NC underground scene,” Diesel said. “Through kickin’ raps on and off the stage, the music kind of came naturally. It wasn’t planned to be only FTO, but it feels appropriate and representative of our relationship with them as artists and homies.” C. Shreve’s aggressive vocal style helps him deliver a fulfilling verse about achieving success with a few bragging calls to add to the hype.
Pragmaddix may wear many influences, including Mos Def, Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur, Eminem, and modern rap groups like Top Dawg Entertainment and Pro Era, but “Solar Panels” in no way sounds the same on every track.
Some tracks, such as “Dope Shit” and “Everyday”, sound like something you might have heard bumping on a hip-hop station in the mid 2000’s, while other tracks such as “Pragmaddix” and “Interstellar Penn&Teller” incorporate a neo-jazz vibe similar to Outkast. This particular style seems to showcase the duo at their best, with both songs featuring some of the best lyrics and flow changes on the album.
Overall, Pragmaddix proves on “Solar Panels” that they are not just your ordinary college-aged guys taking a chance at the rap world just for fun. They have the determination and skill level to achieve success as they continue expanding on their strong points.
Pragmaddix will be performing with Free The Optimist at Crown Station in Charlotte on 12/4 and at Deep South, Raleigh 12/27 along with Keaton, Jrusalam and other local artists. They will also perform in Boone at Tapp Room in December.
Written by Jordan Williams