.Prince Sole Finds Success On The Dreem Teem

Prince Sole may have already hit radio waves with two songs from his latest mixtape, but he hasn’t gone national yet. Just don’t tell that to a very young fan of his.
“It’s funny—every time my girl’s daughter hears a Drake record on the radio, she thinks it’s me,” Sole jokes while working inside a home studio tucked deep in the East San Jose foothills, worlds away from distractions.
The studio rat will transition from the booth to the stage this Friday at Art Boutiki, where he’s set to co-headline a show with Fresno singer The Kid Ryan, his creative partner on their recently released Call Waiting mixtape. It’s been a long time coming.
Whether it was his sister playing pop, his parents spinning Earth, Wind and Fire, or the Jodeci CD his cousin gifted him, music has surrounded Sole from a very early age.
Born and raised in San Jose, Sole—née Nick Martinez—attended St. Lawrence Academy on an athletic scholarship. He began making beats when a friend on his traveling basketball team gave him a copy of the production program Fruity Loops. It wasn’t long before Sole was hooked on making beats.
A few years later, while he was studying at De Anza, one of his tracks started generating buzz on MySpace, and Slip-N-Slide Records—best known for signing Miami rapper Trick Daddy—came calling with a single deal. The extensive contract language scared Sole, so he decided to attend Musicians Institute in L.A. to ensure he understood it all in the future.
After returning from L.A., he connected with production partner Difi. Once the duo brought Cisco Cortez into the fold, Dreem Teem was born. Sole says he handles much of the arranging, while Difi and Cortez produce the raw beats.
Friends outside of the studio, Sole says his musical partners have helped him maintain focus as he has continued his slog through the notoriously challenging music industry. “I probably would’ve given up on music a long time ago if it wasn’t for these guys,” he says. “Without them, none of this would be where we’re at.”
The group has started to make serious headway recently. Two songs from Call Waiting, “Picture Me Rollin” and “Lately,” have been getting national radio play—on the likes of 106.1 KMEL and L.A.’s Power 106, as well as other stations in California, Arizona and Texas. Plus, members of the Dreem Teem have both individually and collectively produced projects by singers Molia and Callé, and rapper City Shawn. Cisco Cortez handled the lion’s share of production on Call Waiting. It’s fair to say that the group is helping define San Jose’s R&B and hip-hop sound at the moment.

The 15-song Call Waiting fits well with much of what’s currently on radio—especially album opener “Picture Me Rollin,” complete with bouncy synths and a sing-along ready hook. Calling the sound “very ’90s and upbeat,” he says the Call Waiting “just came together organically. This was the easiest project for me to do. It felt the most natural.”
Sharing the credit, Sole says Cisco Cortez “had a great ear for how me and Ryan sound well together.” Having previously worked with the two on Sole single “She Ain’t Fucking with Me,” he’d have beats chosen for them as soon as they entered the studio.
Though his new project just dropped, Sole has already begun work on the next. Nothing’s solidified yet—he’s waiting for feedback from Call Waiting before cementing anything.
He may not be on the top 40 airwaves yet, but Sole and Dreem Teem know they’re on the right track. Periodically, they get feedback from DJs praising them for their consistent sound quality. They’ve also been getting calls from people like the East Palo Alto-based Hoodstarz, who they once thought were unattainable.
“When people who you used to look up to want to work with you, it makes you feel like you’re doing something right,” he says. “If they see it, then you know something good is going on.”
Friday’s performance at Art Boutiki will also include performances from Molia and Craig White.
Prince Sole and The Kid Ryan are performing at SLG Art Boutiki on March 27. More info


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