Pep Love, aka PL, an often slept-on member of East Oakland, CA's Hieroglyphics family labored as an MC for many years, earning only shout-outs and the occasional guest verse on Hieroglyphics projects. While lending a creative hand on Souls of Mischief's debut '93 Til Infinity and even getting background lyrical credits on two tracks ("When Ya Lost" and "Batting Practice"), Love's first shot at an actual verse came on the B-side "Undisputed Champs" alongside Del tha Funkee Homosapien and Q-Tip. After appearing on Casual's debut album, Fear Itself, on the track "Who's It On" and Extra Prolific's "Like It Should Be," Pep Love would vanish as Souls of Mischief and the Hiero crew went on a relative sabbatical for a couple of years. PL finally resurfaced in 1998 on the Hiero compilation album Third Eye Vision; his verse on "After Dark" again serving notice to this underrated giant, making listeners do an auditory double-take in the process. During his years as a Hiero understudy, Pep Love formed a close alliance with fellow Hiero member and producer Jay Biz, and the two would occasionally collaborate as The Prose. A human thesaurus with a knack for high-speed wordbending, Love's metaphysical talent would finally be unleashed in full panoply on his debut solo album, Ascension, in August of 2001 (with his pal Jay Biz doing most of the production). Ascension was released on the Hiero Imperium label maintaining loyalty to the crew that originally put him on. The album spawned singles "Fight Club" and "T.A.M.I.," and was followed in 2003 by Ascension Side C, an album of tracks that didn't make it on to Ascension, including previous single "Crooked Angles." In 2003, Hiero released The Shamen, a collection of Pep Love and Jay Biz's early collaborations from the '90s. Pep Love's mixtape The Foundation, featuring tracks by Zion I, Aceyalone, and several members of Hieroglyphics, was released in 2005. Following this mixtape, Pep Love made a few guest appearances, including the single "Play On" by Japanese hip-hop producer DJ Deckstream, but he didn't release any solo material until Rigmarole, his 2012 solo album on Hiero Imperium. PL then formed First Light, a duo with Souls of Mischief member Opio, and the two released their full-length debut Fallacy Fantasy in 2013. Pep Love followed this with a solo EP, Dolla Daily, in 2014. ~ M.F. DiBella
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