Turner's Death, Taxes, & Prozack

Oakland MC Prozack was headed for the big time. Then his major-label deal fell apart.

"To this day, I still don't know what they didn't like about it," Turner says. "It's not like I came out with a so-underground, Sun Ra-hip hop album, or something."

Eventually, it became clear that DreamWorks was never going to release it, since the label would soon cease to exist. Although Turner renegotiated his contract so he could sign with another company, he wasn't able to buy back the master tapes of Death, Taxes, & Prozack, since DreamWorks wanted its initial cost of $450,000, plus $70,000 in unpaid sample clearance fees. It seemed his grand statement would go unheard.

"For a while I was just really depressed," Turner recalls. "I kept thinking, 'What am I doing with my life?'"

MC Prozack: Would you pay 500 grand for this man's 
MC Prozack: Would you pay 500 grand for this man's album?



With Deep Dickollective

Also featuring "Red Wine" DJs Toph One, Pause, and Consuelo, plus J-Boogie, DJ Black, and Mr. E.

Tickets are $10

donation at the door (all money goes to Toph One's AIDS ride sum)


www.milksf. com

"Red Wine" AIDS Lifecycle Benefit at Milk, 1840 Haight (at Stanyan), S.F.

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Eventually, however, Turner was inspired by the life story of soul singer Alicia Keys and a rather, um, different type of artist. "I read that Colonel Sanders got turned down 1,000 times for his recipe. He went to every restaurant, asking people for money for his restaurant."

Having decided to keep struggling for the brass chicken leg, Turner self-released his CD on the sly, bootlegging 1,000 copies for sale in local stores and on the Internet. "There's so many problems with the music industry right now, I don't think they're even going to know or care," he says. "It's not like I'm making a fortune off it."

Listening to Death, it's hard to see what DreamWorks found lacking. While there's no leap-into-your-brain hit like "Hey Ya" or "Milkshake," there are plenty of slinky, soulful melodies and clever, intricate couplets. Story songs like "Forgetting Is Long" and "Wonderful Life" have the smooth-but-intricate vibe of current chart titan Kanye West's tunes, while the organ funk of "Feelin' My Steelo" demands to be blasted on KMEL-FM. As for Turner's rapping, he's as fluid and addictive as malt liquor. "He's got his own style -- he's not jocking or copying anybody," says Tajai, of local hip hoppers Souls of Mischief. "He's an original."

At the moment, however, originality isn't enough. "I've contacted every independent label in the Bay Area, and the fools don't even bother to call me back," Turner says. "A lot of this has to do with being white -- at the same time, I probably got signed [to a major] because I'm white. ... Even me, I'm like, 'Fuck, do we need another white rapper?' But what do you do if you're in a position like me? It'd be like if I fell in love with a black girl. What can I do? I'm in love with this girl. Am I supposed to not be in love with her?"

He pauses for a moment, seemingly lost in reverie. "I just wish people would listen to my damn record."

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