I first saw Prada Leary perform at the Majestic Cafe for Supakaine’s Scholastica Park release show. I didn’t know much about him at the time, but after seeing the energy he displayed during his set, I knew he was someone to look out for. That, and he was the subject of one of the best photos that I took that night.
A month or so later, Prada approached me about an idea he had for a project. I barely knew him, but I jumped at the opportunity to document the process of a rising artist in Detroit’s hip hop scene, but the collection ended up being much more than that.
Prada is not only an artist, he is an enabler. I knew this by the fact that I met so many different people while working with him, from APX Studios and beyond, and while the professional relationship was solid the personal connections made the whole thing more legitimate. People might like an artist as a person, or like them for their work, but it’s rare to earn both forms of respect at once.
From kicking it at one of the many recording studios he frequented, to chilling at various parties and shows all across Detroit, I was grateful for the opportunity to capture a behind-the-scenes perspective with such a motivated and eccentric artist. In our few months working together we hung out a lot, and for every moment I was able to catalogue there were many more that couldn’t be documented. One thing that became apparent was his work ethic; we didn’t have a particular schedule, but on any given night that I was free, he was sure to be getting into some type of shit.
Two of the best shows I covered happened to be back to back; Friday night Prada hopped on a few songs with Lord Gulley at Ant Hall in Hamtramck, and the next day he made an appearance during Count Mack’s set at Movement 2018. The shows were very different, but the consistency in Prada’s approach showed his adaptability.
To be asked by two separate artists to join them on two consecutive nights is a testament to the strength of Prada’s circle; favors are appreciated but always returned, and the reciprocal nature of these connections is what makes these collaborations synergistic. In music you give and receive, and there’s no doubt that Prada’s reputation precedes him in this regard.
When I got a text from Prada saying he was moving to LA, I was just surprised as anyone. A short trip turned into a prolonged stay thanks to ambition and opportunity, and while it was unfortunate that our project would be put on hiatus, I was happy for a person and an artist that I’d come to know for a short time, and I knew that it was what needed to happen. If you know anything about Prada, he works like there’s no time to lose.
After a steady stream of solid drops in the past few weeks, Prada comes through again with “Dan Marino” produced by OOZE. Check it out below and look out for Drug Music 3 coming soon.