CRASHprez pays it forward through hip-hop

The rapper hosts the "Good Convo" podcast.
Photo by Noah Willman

Michael Penn II, aka rapper CRASHprez and a member of the hip-hop trio defprez, made a name for himself in Madison. He was on the brink of leaving town for Chicago in September 2019 when he hosted the first episode of “Good Convo,” the podcast on which he interviews veteran and up-and-coming hip-hop artists.

“I want Good Convo to feature the stories of musicians I’m truly interested in and amazed by — legends, young’uns, whomever in whichever genre. I might even abandon the strictly music boundary and do any art form one day. Who’s to say?”

An introspective conversation between Penn and rapper/record producer EL-P came hours after the Feb. 19, 2020, murder of the promising young hip-hop artist Pop Smoke. Penn closed his first season of the podcast with Darryl Matthews McDaniels, the DMC of Run-DMC, one of the godfathers of hip-hop.

Penn promises more CRASHprez and defprez music will come out in 2021. A Maryland native, Penn graduated in 2015 from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he participated in the First Wave scholarship program, which provides professional development for hip-hop artists.

“I’ll always be thankful to Madison and the whole Midwest for letting me grow and experiment and fail and blossom into all the things I’m doing now,” he says. “I’ve aligned my life to transience, so I try to embrace that and find freedom in making home wherever I choose to.”Magazine footer that says "Like this article, get so much more by subscribing"