Review: Potter Payper Unveils The ‘Training Day 3’ Trilogy
23 Sep 2020
Amidst our current soundscape, there are many of whom who feel the true meaning of ‘real’ Rap has gotten lost; rest assured, one of British Rap’s most respected names, Potter Payper, has returned to dismantle the illusion of what’s considered to be ‘real’ and put it back in its rightful place. If you are aware of Potter Payper, you will know that his names carries weight, and has proved his versatility and all-round impeccable artistry back in 2013 when he first rose to prominence. Known for his raw, gritty and in-depth wordsmith and storytelling, Potter Payper carries with him an un-matched authenticity that has not only seen him grow an ever-growing fan base, but an undefeated reputation and position within British Rap that very few can top.
Having returned earlier this year from some time away, Potter dropped his “2020 Vision Freestyle”, taking the nation by storm, this freestyle is currently sat at over 3.5 million views on YouTube alone. Now, if that isn’t making an entrance – then I don’t know what is! Journeying back to the release of both ‘Training Day’ and ‘Training Day 2’, all of which were written throughout his time in prison, it was only right that the British emcee returned with what’s arguably one of the best bodies of work to drop this year, ‘Training Day 3’. Finishing off the trilogy, this 24-track mixtape takes you on a journey through the depth’s of Potter Payper’s mind, from reflecting on darker times and emotions to his time away – this project is world-class.
Opening the mixtape with a Johnny Gill sample taken from his track “Lady Dujour” courtsey of RXR’s production, “Sorry” see’s Potter Payper kick start the track with a very honest and direct approach; “First let me apologise for my absence / When you’re rapping what you’re living, it’s what happens / Cah I live it real life, no reenactments / That’s three years laying on that blue mattress”, referring to his 3-year absence in prison, Potter attacks the instrumental with an assertive and fired-up tone and prepares us for what’s yet to come, in just under 2 minutes long. Swiftly moving to “A6586AM”, sampling Ellie Goulding’s hit “Lights”, it goes without saying the 5ive Beatz-produced backdrop has you instantly captivated. Named after his prison number, Potter closes out the track with a reflective and thought provoking point of view; “From a yute man I’ve been off the rails / Always on license, on bail and all this weed smoke I exhale / Cah my friends ain’t coming home and that could be me if this fails / But fuck that cause I’m feeling myself / Do you know how much time I done? Did it myself / Educating myself; suicide, mental health, it’s all challenging / And all of your friends just keep vanishing”. Admitting his wrongs and coming to terms with his past head-on, he touches on the very sad and heart-breaking truth that many of which will relate to in regard to suicide, mental health and losing the closest people around you.
Standing as one of the first pre-released tunes that dropped prior to release of the tape, “Round Here” (above) is without a doubt a stand-out single from the project. Bar for bar, Potter doesn’t miss, dropping cold street poetics from start to finish; “Like never say never, like you spoke too soon / But Imma never stop trapping till it’s cold in June / I got a twos in the microwave, frozen food / I’ll put pressure on the block like a open wound”, he raps assertively. Journeying through to yet another stand-out track, “Science”, this offering boasts his impeccable story telling ability. Accompanying the track is a visual that see’s the emcee maneuvering through the T-House; correlating with the title of the track, we are shown various white lab-coated people cooking up a few things!
Produced by both Chucks and Kai-A, “Years Deep” serves as the fifth track on the mixtape. Leading up to the release of the project, whilst dropping his leading singles, many supporters took to social media stating that it’s about time people started to take Potter in seriously; “Years deep but it’s only now they start taking him in / I’m impulsive, I don’t plan it, I’m taking a risk / Seven days, a hundred drinks and I’m breaking my SIM / I should win awards now for how patient I’ve been”, he raps. Bringing the real back into trend, Potter wastes no time in acknowledging these statements over the head-bopping and hard-hitting instrumental. Although we are only 5 tracks in, Potter Payper has bought back a raw essence of Rap that’s arguably been lost in the realm of clout, materialistic and socially approved needs – posing as a well needed breath of fresh air.
As we journey through the project we stumble across tracks like “Frank White”, which samples Jhene Aiko and Jeremih’s hit “Worthy” courtesy of S Finesse as well as “Slumdog Millionaire”, sampling Snoh Aalegra’s “Dying 4 Your Love” courtesy of Chucks – which is a personal favorite. Layering the slick sample with point-blanc wordsmith; “I’ve never had nuttin so how could I settle for less? / I said I’ve never had nuttin so how could I settle for less? / Where I’m from people never progress / I’ve always got feds knocking at my address”, referring to the title of the track, Potter claims hes a slumdog with millionaire plans, reiterating that it’s rare for people to progress to such heights from his area, he expresses his ambitions and evident determination to win.
Travelling through to track 14 titled, “When I Was Little”, produced by RXR, the emcee reflects on his younger days and the heart-breaking truths in which he faced from a young age; “Stressing out Nanny, she don’t know if I’m alright / When I was little, I don’t think I was afraid of the dark / My Mum’s boyfriend used to beat her, I’ve got shame in my heart / Just thinking back, I wish I put my blade in his neck / Instead I stayed out late in the park”. Many children from a young age are afraid of myths and classical figures i.e. the Boogeyman, however in this case, Potter comments on his fear of the Police and instead finding respect in “olders, badness and dealers” before championing his success and lyrical power on the masses; “When I was little, I never thought I’d blow like this / Get dough like this / Put my pain on the beat and touch souls like this / How’d it go like this?”.
Opening “Purpose” (below) with a clean sample – Drake and The Weeknd’s classic hit “The Ride”, this was the last pre-released track he treated us to. Paired with a fresh set of visuals, the emcee quite literally takes a stand, amongst a crowd of paparazzi all suited and booted, before paying homage to his past whilst flexing his present and embracing his future; “Hopped out the gate to a Bentley / Got me feeling like AJ at Wembley / I’ve got a house in the sticks, I’m living stress-free / God bless me, guide me, protect me”.
Introducing “With Me” through acknowledging there’s a want for more tracks for the gyal – rest assured it has arrived! Sampling Bryson Tiller’s “Exchange”, this track takes a more laid-back approach enabling Potters wordsmith to sit centre stage; “Girl, you just stay on my mind / I need you all of the time / She want all of my love / She know all of my rhymes / Yeah, you’re my kind of girl, especially from behind / I want to take you away / I mean take you to mine”, he raps. Complimenting the sample perfectly, from his delivery to his lyrical content, he unveils another side to him – “With Me” is yet another stand-out track from the project.
Closing out the mixtape with tracks including “Midnight On Ilford Lane”, “Poetry In Motion” and “Streets” with the only feature on the project, with long-time friend and collaborator, Mover. Enriched with a nostalgic vibe over the pounding beat, we already knew this one would bang! Finishing off with “Learn”, Potter wears his heart on his sleeve; “You reach a certain age it and it just get’s pathetic / Every track I’m on is like an open letter / I lived it and I’m still in it, trying to show you better”. Harnessed with a thought-provoking backdrop, this acts as the perfect outro to what’s been an extremely honest mixtape.
Concluding the trilogy, it is without question that Potter Payper has dropped a work of art. Encompassing everything that British Rap represents, from the sample selection to his impeccable lyricism, ‘Training Day 3’ has been well worth the wait. Submerging you into the world of Potter Payper, it’s safe to say the real is back and trending; taking us on a journey for just over an hour long, I’m sure ‘Training Day 3’ will be yet another milestone for his ever-growing catalog of work. It’s impossible to not want to go into significant depth with a project like this, but for reading purposes I had to cut it down!
Listen to ‘Training Day 3’ below and on Apple Music here.