Longtime AUTOMatic emcee APRIME surprised Milwaukee hip-hop fans earlier this year with the unveiling of his solo side project 3099. Favoring a more R&B vibe than the golden-era hip-hop sound of AUTOMatic, the 3099 moniker and the six-song 3099 album found APRIME both optimistic and rejuvenated (“Destination: Dreams”) and in brooding soul-searching mode alongside guest Lex Allen (“Ostinato,” “Nothing But Love”). Now, APRIME has released a video for one of the Allen tracks, “Ostinato” (“a continually repeated musical phrase or rhythm,”) which finds him pondering an uncertain future in the music biz and beyond.

How uncertain is that future? The opening lines say it all:

“Man, where did the time go? / I feel as if I’ve been wasting my life, bro / I quit school in the pursuit of music / Treadmillin’ / In that time I could have graduated twice, yo / I guess my mama was right, though / I’m not paying my frickin’ bills with a tight flow.”

From there, APRIME wonders if he’s truly destined for a life in music, or if he’s simply “mediocre” and surrounded by a crew of “yes men.” It’s somber, introspective stuff, made all the more poignant by the black-and-white, KuMays-directed video.

Not that APRIME is slowing down: The emcee will perform at Appleton’s Mile of Music festival Saturday, August 6, and will be featured on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Set List” program Friday, August 12. The former will find him performing both AUTOMatic and 3099 songs, while the latter will find him performing “Ostinato” and a brand new AUTOMatic track entitled “Talkin’ Bout Love,” from the upcoming album Marathon.