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So it seemed as if the floodgates literally and physically opened Saturday night around 8:30 p.m…. flash flood and tornado warnings were in full effect… as my production manager and I continued to burn copies of Money & The Message… The Colts got ran over by one of the smallest rushers in the NFL… Living on the Westbank IS NOT all it’s cracked up to be… Getting home was definitely a challenge… flooded streets with shin high water all around me… felt like my middle name was either Ponce de Leon or circumvent the way I navigated those waters… driving a Scion tC didn’t help matters either… through it all the ride, was and is still intact… but I had a show that night, Grassroots!… which by my watch had already started… the homies; Blaze the Verbal Chemist and J-Dubble were already in the place to be (The Dragon’s Den)… got out the whip and braved the elements… with a Dockers slicker jacket and no shoes or socks… please believe I WAS NOT going to ruin the Barney Dunks…waded in that same shin high water like the old Negro spiritual… five blocks to my house… changed clothes like Jay… and was out the house within minutes… in a new outfit and rain boots that ran two sizes too small… Ouch to say the least… LOL at myself… drove up the wrong side of the street to get to the Interstate… found a good parking spot and rushed to the venue… what a coincidence that Blaze was next on stage… pulled a Clark Kent in the Dragon’s Den bathroom as I threw on some SB dunks and Express denim… premiered the Mayan Tamang purple bandana…WHAT YOU KNOW BOUT THAT ?!?!… made my entrance into Grassroots!… smashed the stage for the new year with THE Product of Greatness himself… and rocked out to Mr. Still Fantastic… sold a couple copies of the mixtape… received love from my peers and those above me who I deeply respect… shoutsout to Lyrikill, Merc, A Scribe Called Quess, Truth Universal and DJ E.F. Cuttin… what a show, what a night… I’d do it all over again for the love of Hip-Hop!!!
"Fall Back,"the lead track off of my upcoming mixtape, "Money & The Message" was written over a year ago sometime between September and November. I had just left a Hip-Hop group I was in for about six years and trying to come up with a song that was not only catchy but supplied a raw and emotional message that provided my new artistic direction. "Fall Back" was produced by DJ Mike Swift in 2001 from what I was told and goes to show you the timeless aesthetic of music. I had actually heard the beat before by at least a year or more when I was in my group and liked the production then but never really had any succinct ideas for the track. I did however back then think it needed a military like chorus or approach since the drums portray that, a "takeover" of sorts. The lyrics came first as I saved the hook for last, wanting to end the song with something that made sense for not only me as the writer but listeners as well. The verses were my first attempt at having the first three bars be repetitive to a degree each verse. And, as some might know I took my cue from Nas' verse off the "Salute Me" Remix off of Swizz Beats' LP "Ghetto Stories." The hook had to be powerful and obviously like so many choruses in musical history, summarize the song. My thought process at the time was that this would be my manifesto, my introduction into the game as Slangston Hughes, solo artist. Complete. and utter. domination. With that being said, "Fall Back" was created. Over the past year, this has been my favorite song to perform. It provides me with the chance to display my lyrical ability and onstage energy. In all definitions of the word, "Fall Back" is RAW!!! I hope you agree and enjoy it.
So as the heat and excitement intensifies for my first mixtape release, "Money & The Message," I thought you all should know what to expect from THE Connoisseur of Fine Rhyme as I present you with the tracklist for the mixtape.
1. Money IS the Message 2. Let It 3. Fall Back 4. You Ain't 5. Good To You (Freestyle) 6. Dear Summer 7. Aliases Abound (Who Am I???) 8. Keep It Steady 9. Time Is of The Essence (Lyrical Segueway) 10. Party Time 11. The Holdup 12. I Want You (Freestyle) 13. Sooner or Later 14. The Boss (Skit) 15. The Boss 16. The Righteous Way to Go ft. Whitney Wallace 17. This Is the Life ft. Blaze the Verbal Chemist 18. Nov On Ya Lips 19. Back 2 Your Roots ft. J-Dubble & DJ Mike Swift
I was asked over a year ago by two of my best friends and musical colleagues (what up Nishe & Blaze, I see ya!!!) what I wanted from the rap game – music industry, whatever you wanna call it! After some deliberate thought, I happened upon “two great things that tend to conflict.” Being a young, middle-classed African-American – excuse me, Presidential-American – I knew the first thing I wanted was financial peace of mind and prosperity; the ability to pay off my bills and live debt free. So, obviously money was my first answer. Secondly, over the past few years I have noticed that Hip-Hop is certainly not dead but has been flooded with materialistic and misogynistic overtones. Similar to brainwashing, listeners and audiences throughout the country find themselves cut off from anything that doesn’t deal with gun talk, rim size, jewelry, how many women I’ve been with, drug dealing, etc. The music I grew up to and respected that talked about social, economic and racial issues has become a thing of the past. I always felt that there had to be meaning behind the music you created. It had to be something you believed in, a part of YOU. If not, then it’s not genuine, but don’t get it twisted, I’m not here to preach. With that being said, my second answer was a message. I wanted to send a message to ALL music listeners that Hip-Hop IS a culture, IS alive and IS MUSIC. For a while now, music has been about the beat, I decided that we should flip that concept on its back and make it about the lyrics first. In a nutshell, that’s how Money & The Message came to life. A 19-track mixtape with original production by Danny “Beatchild” Brown, Jon Jackson of American New Wave Media Group, Blaze the Verbal Chemist of Beautiful Chemistry Productions and Power 102.9’s own DJ Mike Swift in addition to beats from Will. I. Am., Just Blaze, J Dilla, and The Neptunes among others. Many song concepts found throughout the mixtape, infuse these two contrasting elements that make up our everyday lives to make you as listeners not only think about but also enjoy what you’re hearing. Money & The Message is slated for a Tuesday, December 2, 2008. I sincerely hope you can relate and enjoy my take on Hip-Hop as I continue to push the envelope.