Through their music, two emcees from Chicago are unifying both the East and West Coasts. The prime meridian is, traditionally, a line of longitude that measures zero degrees and divides the Eastern and Western hemispheres. The Primeridian is rivaling that definition.
The Primeridian is a hip-hop based group, composed of Simeon “V” Viltz and Darshon “Race” Gibbs, who draw their musical influences from jazz, blues and house music. The group has meshed with some of hip-hop’s esteemed, such as Common, Talib Kweli, Erykah Badu, Rakim and Run-DMC.
The Primeridian released an album in 2008 entitled Da Mornin’ Afta and they are releasing another early next year, this one being a remix album of Da Mornin’ Afta, featuring several new appearances and song additions.
The Chronicle sat down with The Primeridian to talk about their musical styles, history and their success as they measure it so far.
The Chronicle: What is the origin of your name?
Simeon “V” Viltz: The three-tier aspect of The Primeridian is originally Tree (a former member) who is from the West Side and I am from Hyde Park, which is kind of the East part of Chicago, if you will, and we were like, “What could bring our worlds together?” and after some thought I was like, “Oh wow, the prime meridian.” Chicago has seen hip-hop start out on the East Coast and blow up on the West Coast and we in the middle have seen both sides, so we like to look at the Midwest as the prime meridian within music. And then the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, but the peak of the sun is in the middle at 12 o’clock, P.M., being prime meridian—Bam!”
The Chronicle: How would you describe your style of flow?
SV: I feel like I’m a very melodic, hypnotic, sensual, if you will … I gravitate toward that type of music.
Darshon “Race” Gibbs: I’m kind of funkier, edgier. So with this [new] album, once we brought those two sounds together, it kind of become[s] a little funky, jazzy, groovy, soulful, hypnotic, melodic smorgasbord eargasm, so to say.
SV: Beautifully melodic, soulfully hypnotic, funked out for your listening pleasure.
The Chronicle: How long have you guys been together?
SV: The group has actually been in existence since ’95, so 14 years now. A lot of transitions have gone down—you know management, record labels. I remember Jive [Records] was like, “We like you guys, but we also have A Tribe Called Quest,” which is crazy right? It’s a crazy history, look out for the book!
The Chronicle: How have you guys measured the success of your career so far?
SV: You’re successful when it’s all said and done. It’s more so that we’re enjoying each step of the way, like the accomplishments as they come about and that’s really been the measurement.
The Chronicle: After it is all said and done, what mark would you like to have left on the music industry?
DG: I would just like to say that our mark would be that we could show people that you can evolve, there’s really no place that you can’t go. You make your own limitations really, so if you say, “I can’t do that because people won’t get it,” then you won’t do it.
SV: It’s also music that gave you piece of mind, but also gave you some food for thought and it allowed you to have a good time while enjoying it and feel good about yourself.
The Primeridian is set to release a mixtape called Da Crack of Dawn later this year. They have upcoming shows in Atlanta, New York and Spain. For more information on the group, visit PrimeridianOnline.com.