easily the most slept-on cut from the BPW EP, hell maybe even the whole CM repertoire. not that i’m complaining, i’d much prefer my favorites to be safeguarded from the knee-jerk criticisms cordially invited by the “connect fornomenon” of myspace profile themes and heavy rotation on KEXP. it took some time to appreciate the subtleties of this rap shit, in cadence and in content alike, and personally i feel like this track embodies the best of what that laid-back flow has to offer. it could be the ’95-live-era vocal sample, the beautifully buzzy bassline, a host of things – whatever it is that makes this joint lope along with the confidence of a g-stroll just works for me.
extra-large shouts out to my guy Asim who came through london bridge studios to breathe a hot breath of vivacity into the track; folks should know the omission of his verse was the result of complications in mixing, lest the wind (or any other element) lead you to think otherwise. for your enjoyment, and for the purpose of adding some value to Asim’s hour-and-a-half-long commute to shoreline, i’ve included the raw version at the bottom of the post. note: e-real’s third verse bonus is not the only variance in this version – i’ll let you discover the other one on your own.
live from out a silent town where talent abounds
sound off two for those who came first and laid the work
laborers and mercenaries mining diamonds out the pay dirt (1)
worth inequitable, yet to get what’s deserved
for official recognition i press to spread the word (2)
act like you aint heard we on the verge of a breakthrough
youth crammin’ the gate sayin’ ‘i just can’t wait’
it takes a dreamer type to keep the hope alive but don’t shut those eyes
it’s cut-throat comin’ from both sides
and when the gun smoke rise, only one’ll survive (3)
‘not two, not three, not four, not five’
six years on the grind here, take it if they give me ten
principally paid dues, who’s seein’ dividends (4)
where the kid begin? around the City of Cin
another sea-sickened immigrant attempts to fit in
i seen your citizens around, shower praise on a duck
bust the bass-pound speakers, sets played in my truck (5)
a pot struck under the rainbow, the stage i touched (6)
‘a lotta suckas always front that we made it by luck’
never left fortune to chance, nah i took a second job
just to finance the pressing of a respectable effort (7)
i’ve come to terms with the significance of Live & Learn ( 8 )
kid’ll get his turn only after they listen and spurn
so necessarily my resolve was tested, told ’em
i’ll be back in a second to wreck it with a better record (9)
a set objective i said it how i knew best
rooted in the east movin’ due west, of the etiquette clueless, uh (10)
i bid adieu, do i say ‘bon jour?’ how long you be gone for?
maybe forever on this award tour (11)
playin’ for none, can i do one more? prayin’ for an encore
bangin’ on a drum at the contour (12)
the long shot, survival at sea – got to paddle
paychecks for prize money at the beatbox battle (13)
big up’s to VERA, my debt forever paid in fine art
one of the biggest reasons we fuckin’ with dave meinert (14)
service to my constituents, a purpose in fuzed
word to love, son – we got a lotta work to do (15)
real recognize and appreciate real, but
‘a lotta suckas always front that we made it by luck’
aint nothin’ foreign to the formula, you reap what you sew
spent these summers on the come-up, you just seein’ us blow
some conditions are beyond control – nevermind that
the difference in victory and failure is where your mind’s at
wild speculation on the state of the section
some missin’ the bigger picture while they’re posin’ the question
it’s the answer i’ve been trynna pass along to the amateur
while they stand around and wait for the bonanza.”
1) for a short while, we used to kick off our live sets with a joint called “The Wind,” in which i would preface what was to come by saying: “in all things, and for all things, we give thanks to those who came before us.” simple, but effective i thought. it is essentially the same sentiment i attempted to convey in “Connect For,” before i became acclimated to the city’s acute aversion to anything resembling name-dropping. the line here is a toned-down reference to two notable noise-makers from the town’s pre-jiggy-rap goings on: Source of Labor and Diamond Mercenaries; no linksies – do your fuckin’ homework, son.
2) in the earlier days of conducting interviews with both local and national press, sabz and i would make every effort to give due credit to the town-counsel endorsed pioneers of seattle’s hiphop sound; nothing was more important than giving the impression we were not responsible for putting the 206 on the coveted rap map. it didn’t take long to realize that portion of the interview never made it to print, as if media cared no more to cover RCKCNDY-era rap from an historical perspective than they did as a current event. furthermore, the city’s “keep my name outcha motherfuckin’ mouth” mantra left a bitter taste in mine. now it is what it is.
3) live in this town long enough and you’ll learn a few things. or you won’t, it’s up to you.
4) at 33, i look at validation in a whole new light. you know that feeling you get when you show up to the office and find out your boss has unexpectedly taken the day off? accolades and acceptance from my
townmates feels like that; like a substitute teacher on a test day, or a hundred dollar bonus on your paycheck, or a free cookie in your quizno’s bag – it comes as a surprise and i’m ever appreciative, but i go about my business regardless. sure, it’s necessary to prove yourself at times, so long as you realize it is to yourself yourself you are proving.
5) attendees of sasquatch ’06 holla. neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night can stop the kid from delivering.
6) depending on the context of the conversation, i can credit a half-dozen spots with giving me my very first stage appearance in seattle. in the context of this conversation, the distinction goes to that bedrock of burgeoning battle rappers at the intersection of 45th and I-5, the piss-drenched, smoke-stained and curiously aquatic-themed hellhole formerly known as The Rainbow, where o-deezie and the rowdiest of rhymesayers from the EVT converged every tuesday for a hiphop “showcase.” round about may of ’03, if memory serves correctly; me and my djembe and a couple of homies did the dirty-footed hippie hop thing for no less than seven ex-bandidos who, after a fourth round of cuervo shots, actually gave us a round of applause. interestingly enough, i DJ’ed this weekly for a short while, too – why The Rainbow’s patrons never dug on that iomos marad is far beyond me.
7) true hollywood story: I got into the property management business when i took on a part-time position changing common-area light bulbs at three different condominium complexes on the east side. the job responsibilities were simple and required no more than 8-hours-a-week to complete, but the compensation was enough to cover studio time plus mixing and mastering of my first real effort at making music.
8 ) i am not delusional. my first two albums were not very good, and i’m not mad at anybody, not even j. moore, for flaggin’ ’em as feeble freshman attempts. no disrespect to the folks involved in the production of Live & Learn, it just couldn’t stand next to the quality of rap Conception Records was putting out a full decade prior. in the end, though, were it not for that album, i would have never gotten the chance to step up to the plate sans tee. nice toss, fam.
9) in case you were wondering, i never had any intention of walking away from the studio content to rest on the laurels awarded to L&L by larry’s diplomatically gracious pen – the plan all along was to walk through the next door just as soon as it opened. some of you been hearing me knocking for some time now.
10) a modest admission: i’m a stranger in a strange land. not to be confused with the stranger in this strange land. mistakes, i’ve made a few – most of them the result of having a sharp tongue not filed on the whetstone of the in-crowd. believe me, i have made amends with those who deserve apologies, and if i’ve never offered my regrets to you then, quite frankly, you can wait.
11) it’s crazy to me that i can be so certain i’ll never return to live in KY, yet i’ll never feel comfortable calling this place home.
12) yessir. me and the djembe hollered at the monday night open mic a time or two. i doubt roc’phella would remember, but you could definitely ask sonny bonoho.
13) i probably wouldn’t have said shit two years ago, but seeing as how things turned out the way they did, blake lewis owes me $500.
14) honest to god, can you believe after all mr. mineheart has done for local hiphop that it’s taken this long to get a freekin’ namecheck? IT’S A TRAVESTY, I TELL YA! well, within these 2 bars i have carved out my place in the annals of seattle hiphop; already it’s hot in this motherfucker.
15) it’s your cousin, gabe. shout out to toni hill.
and i leave you with this: