Potter Payper’s Epic Tale of Crime Blurs The Lines Between Life and Art

Potter Payper is currently doing a five year sentence for his part in a drugs operation that stretched from London to the rapper’s home county of Essex. Despite his current status his latest single “Toy Story” serves as a reminder of why he has been one of the most respected rappers within his lane for the last 3 years but also of how despite being in prison, his penmanship hasn’t dulled an inch. As the title suggests Potter relays the story of how him and a younger friend “sick of going country” decide to take matters into their own hands and break into a rival’s flat to take what they feel is rightfully theirs. Over an anxious piano riff and oppressive bassline, Potter practically bellows the details of his short story over the beat as if trying to make sure he is heard as far and wide as he can, yet despite this approach he never once loses narrative focus.Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this tune is the way narratively how “Toy Story” is broken down into two halves. The first half which is a conversation between Potter and his “lil bro” has immediate similarities to the Notorious B.I.G. classic “Gimmie the Loot” although far more straight faced in tone.

While the second half has a very clear vision of how the plans went down, with Potter focusing on the macro and micro details step by step.For fans of road rap & UK Drill situations like Potter’s pose a difficult issue, whilst it could be argued that involvement lends a certain level of authenticity to the stories he tells, prison brings whatever current momentum going on in his music career to a screeching halt. In the last few years we have seen promising artists likes of Reeks MB, Mover and Harlem Spartan’s Mizormac have their music careers be put on hold temporarily or permanently due to their actions outside of the studio, the most recent and harshest example involving West London crew 1011 who at present can’t make new songs or go on tour without letting Scotland Yard know in advance.Often in cases like these much of the blame is laid at the artists feet for staying within that lifestyle whilst trying to make music. But any mention of the systemic issues that lead the people in question to these lifestyles goes ignored.“Toy Story” ends on a cliff hanger whether or not there’s a sequel in the works or if it will ever come out, nobody can say but just like the conversation regarding the morality of the rappers and fans of road rap it leaves more questions than answers.

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July 11
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