New York is the Western Mecca for aspiring artists who take risky chances on make-or-break one-shot deals in a fast-paced and quirky urban jungle where talents are showcased out in the open. Most of them forge on and perform on the streets daily hoping for the big break that very few actually get. Downtown Manhattan is the rougher part of the neighborhood where hip-hop crews gather to string beats and lyrics together, characteristically turning to music to surmount poverty.
Prince Harvey pulled his music through by stealthily recording his first full-length album at the Apple Store in the East side of Manhattan, garnering more credibility than any casual wack rapper as he not only pulled through his ordeal in hip-hop fashion but also produced a well-versed and lyrically-arresting set of songs.
Living in the Big City while cash-strapped and sharing a crowded pad with 20 flatmates was merely the first in a series of crushing setbacks for the hip-hop afficionado. After two hardware failures caused him to lose precious work and equipment, his next laptop was stolen as soon as he got home to see that he had been robbed. Left without the resources to finish his recordings and facing eviction from a landlord who wanted to demolish the property to build luxury apartments, he held on to his love for his craft undeterred.
As he told the Daily Beast, “That’s when I realized I need to step everything up to, like, maximum intensity – as far as motivation and desire [to complete the album] goes.” For every weekday in four months, he consistently took the train to the Apple Store and recorded every part of his album while outsmarting the store’s surveillance mechanisms.
He said, “It wasn’t my plan to record this at the Apple Store. First, my computer died. then my external [hard drive] died. New York is expensive. I couldn’t just buy another laptop. I just thought, I’m going to die before anyone knows I’m hot.”
By observing the movements of the security guards he blended into the environment so well that he knew what could possibly happen next if he moved to a certain space. Two Apple Store employees (who he will not name) working alternating shifts let him be and gave him the leeway to quietly record his album. All Harvey had was his voice and a computer microphone yet he completed his first album by singing and rapping to a demo laptop. A friend came over every now and then to provide backup vocals.
To preserve his music whenever he left the store, he avoided the end-of-the-day data wipe by moving his files in the Trash folder and storing his samples in his email and a thumb drive.
The album PHATASS: Prince Harvey at the Apple Store will be released on July 26. The album is made only with human sounds and vocals recorded through an Apple laptop’s default microphone. The lyrics are raw and punchy without sounding like a pop upstart, detailing the struggles Harvey went through.
While Apple Music debuted earlier to make every artist accessible to everyone, Harvey made sure his music accessed and utilized Apple and its ideas as a platform for truly creative work by literally going from nothing to something.