Supreeme: Supremacy

Michael Frauenhofer

Touting a new record deal and the same old skills, Supreeme may not be on the top of the rap game yet, but with more albums like this, they're definitely on their way.



Label: Record Collection
US Release Date: 2006-04-25
UK Release Date: 2006-04-24

With a string of solid mixtapes and a promising regional debut, 2003's Church and State, Supreeme have established themselves near the forefront of the Atlanta underground as complete wildcards in the Dirty South. As MTV and the radio overflow with heavily sizzling crunk and light-footed, bouncy snap music, Supreeme rep Atlanta with complete originality, trading in the drawling boasts of fellow Atlantans like Goodie MOb and Ludacris for the sharply enunciated, nimbly-flowing tales of their jet-setting international alter egos, King Self, Negashi Armada, and Dope Pope (which is, by the way, quite possibly the best rapper name I've heard in a while).

Church and State was a masterwork of an underground debut, the album that single-handedly floored Murs and landed them a deal on his label Record Collection. Opening with a searingly sampled, familiar sax lick and going out with the hard-hitting piano chord pounding of "Closing Statements" while incorporating a broad assortment of sounds along the way, from wailing female acapellas to slick spy-movie music, Church and State not only introduced their new, world-savvy cover personas but cemented their already-solid local reputation and built anticipation for Supremacy, Supreeme's 2006 national debut, to a fever pitch. The album opens on a markedly different note from their previous work: the beat on "All Day (Intro)" is a mood piece of driving, dark synthesizers, while the crew comes harder with the lyrics than previously. But a few tracks in, it's clear that this is the same old Supreeme that Atlanta hip-hop heads have come to love.

All three members flow impeccably, and they seem more comfortable in their assumed personalities this time around. As the official line goes, King Self, Negashi, and Dope Pope are street-smart but humorous and laid-back, like the Beastie Boys if they could actually lyrically dominate when they performed. Indicative of their general attitude is their press release, honestly one of the best ever: "In a nutshell, Supreeme is like the combination of James Bond, the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, David Bowie, Peter Jennings, Fidel Castro, Neil Young, fine foreign chicks, Bunny Wailer, fly ass exclusive kicks..." (the list goes on for a while), and the fact that they have to be just about the only people in the world who can make "mercantilism" seem obscene. The subjects they touch on can get repetitive by the album's close (girls, their own lyrical prowess, and girls), but they keep it fresh with their punchlines ("You niggas in white tees look like a convention of penguins") and always-consistent flows.

Supreeme founder Dope Pope handles all of the production here, and while it's not quite on the level of Church and State's sublime array of memorable beats, it complements the lyricism well and still holds its own much of the time. Dope Pope relies on the synths more than he has in the past, but he brings in new sounds like sped-up sampling (on "Winterfresh" and the addictively-sauntering "Bang Bang") and the perfectly blaring Latin trumpets of "U Feel Lucky". Final track "Farewell Wenches (Outro)" closes the album beautifully: the beat is smoothly-ticking drums, majestic horns, and buried soul wails, the perfect mix of nostalgia and confidence, while the trio raps out a reflection on their success, their mission, and what is to come: "All I want to do is smoke with your girl / Write poems with my niggas, conquer the world / Open a bottle of rum up and put two thumbs up".

Touting a new record deal and the same old skills, Supreeme may not be on the top of the rap game yet, but with more albums like this, they're definitely on their way.


In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.