Baltimore composer Corey Laury introduced himself to me in late July. The young man and I quickly began talking about his upcoming project, Preston & Wolfe. Due out itomorrow, the eight-track album features Laury discussing him coming to terms with his depression. It also goes in-depth about his evolution and maturation in the face of a world that often values Black men less than the shoes they wear. The first time we hear his voice on a song versus just his instrumentation, Preston has lofty goals and hits every single one.
I became entranced by the project because it reminds me a lot of some of my own projects in its frank discussions of mental health–specifically 2014’s Death of the King. This isn’t about me, though.
Laury delves into the feelings, the actions and the thoughts that come with coming to grips with a mental health issue. He also discusses the why, both “why does this project exist” and “why do I feel the wayI do.” Around September 2017, per his liner notes, he first began therapy to heal from his past traumas. Over the course of the next two-to-three years, Laury produced the beats we hear on the project and wrote the bars. And he delivers the project in a way that isn’t pandering or beat-you-over-the-head obvious. We root for Corey to continue on his path of self-discovery and self-healing.
It’s a beautiful project, one that showcases the humanity and humility needed to approach a difficult subject like this. It’s gritty and honest in its approach to mental health and the effects trauma has on us all–and the people we care about. He doesn’t shy away from the details, instead embracing everything that has made him go on this journey and all of the things he plans to do to continue on it.
As Black men, we often aren’t allotted the same respect when it comes to mental health awareness. Blame it on stereotypes, our collective histories or our own thoughts on masculinity, Black men go through it but sometimes feel alone in their struggles. Laury’s efforts help to shatter these notions and tell us that it’s okay to feel lost and it’s okay to ask for help when we feel like that.
I’ve heard a lot of mental health raps over the years. The music contained in Preston & Wolfe definitely ranks up there with the realest I’ve heard–and the best. Be sure to check out this project tomorrow when it officially drops and remember to support dope music in all its forms.