For the Prime Boys — Jimmy Prime, Jay Whiss and Donnie — becoming a group was their best decision to date. Koba World, named in dedication to their late friend and assistant manager Ernest “Kosi” Modekwe, serves as the first real introduction to the musical powers of each member. Jimmy Prime’s melodic hooks, Donnie’s uncompromising energy and Jay Whiss’s gritty wisdom thread the 12-song album together, creating unity amidst the chaos.
Adding to the cohesiveness is Canadian producer and longtime collaborator Murda Beatz, who carries the bulk of production on Koba World. Dark, synth-heavy trap beats flow seamlessly one into another, with the occasional break from songs like “See Through,” an upbeat Afrobeat-infused song produced by Vancouver’s Zelli Risk. Though the Prime Boys, in particular Jimmy Prime (who’s credited with re-naming Toronto “The 6ix”), have been recognized by the likes of Drake, their reality has one foot in Toronto and one in street politics. While the hard-hitting “Emergency” and “Street Dreams” reflect that reality, “Tinted” and “Better in Designer” hint at a more lavish future and, at times, one further away from Toronto. Koba World lives in two worlds — present realities and future goals, with friends, family and love acting as the glue between them. Between “Hold Me Down” and the sinister “Dead Prime Ministers,” it becomes evident that above all, loyalty is a fundamental pillar in their existence. But perhaps there’s no clearer example of that than on “Koba World,” a song re-named in honour of their brother Koba, whose legacy lives on through Koba World. (eOne)
What role did Murda Beatz have in crafting Koba World?
Donnie: Murda has that special touch. He might give you a beat, you do something to it, and then he goes in and makes the beat even better. He’ll give you an idea for the hook and idea for the flow. He’s got the vision.
With the passing of assistant manager Ernest “Kosi” Modekwe and Jahvante “Smoke Dawg” Smart, what makes you most proud of this album?
Jimmy Prime: We just wanted to dedicate the album to [Kosi], because if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be doing this. He was the one who always said we should be making music together. We added a couple extra songs that Kosi actually liked, like “Street Dreams.”