Tricky originally said in an interview with Ray Gun in October 1996 that he wanted to make an "out-an-out punk record" to get away from the trip hop label. He said, "I thought it was going be heavier... What I wanted to do was a total fast album. Some of the tracks are fast and hard, but they didn't come out like that."
The album was mainly recorded in Jamaica, and other parts were recorded at Platinum Islands Studio, New York. It was recorded & mixed by Ian Caple recorded in Grove Studios, Ocho Rios, Jamaica & mixed at El Cortijo Studio in Spain. The album features longtime collaborator Martina Topley-Bird, and former Mama's Boys guitarist Pat McManus.
It was included in Q Magazine's 50 Heaviest Albums of All Time.
In a 1997 interview between journalist Liz Jones and Prince, Jones tells Prince he should listen to Tricky, because Tricky reminds her of Prince in his early career. Intrigued, Prince asks her the name of Tricky's latest album, she says Pre-Millennium Tension and Prince spontaneously answers "well, isn't that another way to say ‘1999’" (1999 being Prince's breakthrough album released in 1982.) This interview is featured in Liz Jones' book Slave to the Rhythm.
^Q (12/96, p.138) – 4 Stars (out of 5) – "...Conventional instruments like pianos or harmonicas jostle with found sounds over ferocious rhythm tracks in an unsettling soundscape where anything can happen, providing it's knuckle-clenching and sweat-inducing....Uneasy yet undeniably brilliant..."
^Spin (12/96, p.139) – 9 (out of 10) – "...Inspired rather than threatened by hip-hop, Tricky tosses it off like a Stussy cape....At his most compelling, Tricky calls everything into question, including himself....his music, a collage of gasping beats and forlorn chords, speaks beyond words..."