Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Testing 1, 2. Is this thing on?

When was the last time you heard a specific rhyme?
Somebody that could keep your attention with every line
Say something that will get you and keep you pressing rewind
And make you feel like music was more than just wasting time
When was the last time you heard a specific rhyme
Somebody that delivered a purpose and spoke his mind
Used more than just a swagger to cowardly lead the blind
That's too long, I guess Ive been wasting time *

The hardest thing as an emcee, at times, is just to get people to listen to what I am SAYING. Not just the beat, not just the hook, not just your voice, but to the actually words that are coming out of my mouth. The lyrics. In a a day and age where everything seems to have a microwave, instant, just add water connotation to it, I like to think of the lyrics that I write in my songs as oven-made. However, that's all in the mind of the person who is listening. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure to be on Drunk N Throwed Radio with Ra'Koo and Latina and sit down to actually listen to one of the songs from The Il Before The Storm, "Better Days". I was taken aback when Latina made it her mission to express that one thing she loved about the song was the lyrics! There are times when I feel as vulnerable as possible in doing music. Without the stereotypical use of profane lyrics, it always seems that there's an uphill battle to get people to pay attention to the craft. Without the stereotypical topic matter, it always seem that there's a war just to get people to actually listen. So, I'm left to ask myself.....is thing on?

Ask yourself is this really what we have come to?
The shucking and the jiving just to get us a Yums shoe?
The labels are conniving and they feel they're beyond you
They don't care if you go diamond, but they cater to some dudes
And some do make it, get signed, and get at one
Until they find out they're only out in Saskatchewan
And that's one, blow to the ego when you enter
Back through the doors of your old call center *

For me, it always seems as if Hip Hop comes with the jagged pill of reality for you, if you don't have a huge following or if you don't have the money to really get your thoughts out to the masses. Its almost a daily struggle not to get jaded when I know for a fact that I really don't have the resources to get the music out to the people that I would like to have it. That's really the most frustrating part of it all. With all the new mediums of putting music out and all the millions and millions of DIY emcees, Im starting to feel like Im getting lost in the shuffle. This is a discouraging notion. How do you continue to do what it is that you love when what it is that you love doesn't love you? Even typing that, I had to laugh. The greatest exercise in futility for me is being an emcee who has something to say, has the ability to say it, but yet has no one who will listen to what he is saying. I often wonder if I should just go to the microphone one day and just spew out the most unintelligible and non-tangible gibberish and then immediately put it online and pub it as the greatest song ever. Send it to the djs and press them to play it. Submit it to every blog and hope that they post it up. What if THAT'S the song that people start to pay attention to me by? How would I feel? Would I be able to live with that? Honestly, I cant say that I would.

Maybe Nas was right about the music we love so
It jumped up off the building like it's nickname was Nutso
People try to defend it, but the music is butt though
Like having ten barbers, only one of them cutthroat
And the other nine are still getting paid, but they cut bowls
Never blending or fading, but they're still in The Cut though
Still wearing a smock, still flicking their wrists
They might look, just like a barber, but they're just not it *

Much like any other craft, lyricism takes work. I believe its something people should take pride in. I do. I love to challenge myself and come up with better ways of saying things than just the "cadence of the moment". Whenever I do a project, I try my best to convey that need for difference into each song. The subtlety is sometimes missed by the listener who has already made up their mind about what the album might sound like before they hear it. I challenge everyone to give new music a chance. Download a free album or two that a starving artist puts up and see if its not some of the best music that you have NEVER heard. Become a fan of something new! You might be surprised by what you hear. Ill even give you a headstart:

Joulz Il & RTD Present: The Il Before The Storm

-Joulz Il

*All lyrics included in this post were from the song "When Was The Last Time" from the album, "Joulz Il & RTD Present: The Il Before The Storm"

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