As we prepare for the December 2 release of the new METERMAIDS album “We Brought Knives” (pre-order your SIGNED CD, Cassette, MP3, T-Shirt, Snapback package here!), emcee Swell has put together his list of his Top 5 collaborations from Metermaid history. Peep:
No reason to beat around the bush. Here are my favorite collaboration tracks we’ve ever been involved with.
5. Vultures by Cas One (featuring Bitter Stephens, Prolyphic, Metermaids)
I met Cas for the first time at Prolyphic’s wedding, so it’s fitting that #5 is a Cas song produced by, and featuring, Pro. I wasn’t familiar with Cas’s music when I met him. I just knew that within like ten minutes of hanging out with the guy I felt like we had known each other for years. The icing on the cake, then, was then going back and listening to his shit and realizing that he is dooooooooope. Prolyphic’s beat is ridiculous as well. Matter of fact, Prolyphic has been killing it on the production tip recently. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, EXHIBIT A.
I’ve never met Bitter Stephens, but I like his raps. As is typical with Metermaids, we had to record our stuff with a quickness. As is also typical with Metermaids, after Sentence laid down his part I wished that I had some time to… improve mine. Oh well. Live and learn.
4. Gold Saturn by Illaborate (feauturing Metermaids and Breez)
I think we’ve known Illab since he was literally like 18 years old. Back in our touring days, whenever we came through to MPLS we played with our boys Illab and NL. Back then they were in a crew called Dumpstars. We met those dudes through our Red Lake boys Edge and DX. The shows were always fun as hell. Man I love MPLS.
Illab is a special kind of cat. He presents as sort of grumpy initially – I think NL originally told me something like, “yeah Illab is always pissed off”. But he is one of the coolest, funniest guys I have met in this game. I’m always excited to get a chance to see him. They all came through NYC over the spring and we had a fun ass show. The thing with Illab, though, is that from age 18 he has been MAD GOOD AT RAPPING. We take a lot of pride in our live show. I like to get off stage and think that there aren’t a lot of people on our level who are fucking with what we can do on stage. Illab is fucking with what we can do on stage. Ha. And he has been since before he could drink legally.
His first record (which is still in my car from 2008) is dope, his new record (that this song is featured on) is SUPER dope, and who knows what the future holds for this guy. Also it goes without saying that his boy Breez has a ridiculous 16 on this muhfucka. Sentence doesn’t have a verse, but is on the hook.
And my first car was actually a Gold Saturn stick shift. I love to talk about it if you ever see me in person.
3. Turn It Up by Metermaids (featuring Camp Lo)
This would be higher if I liked my verse more. This list is meant to be subjective, after all. I bet Sentence’s Top 5 would look different. Uptown Saturday Night by Camp Lo is maaaaaaybe one of the greatest hip hop records ever. Take a producer who has made almost all of my favorite beats – see this, and this, for example – and put him with two of the weirdest and dopest MC’s my teenage brain had ever experienced, and you get still-fucking-great-mad-years-later shit like this.
At the time we were recording Nightlife we shared a manager with Camp Lo. They were getting back into the game with their Lumdi single, and we were dying to do something with them. The hip hop gods smiled, and they were down. Turn It Up is the result. I love the beat, and love everyone else’s verses except my own. In writing this, I’m realizing that maybe I have self-esteem issues. Either way, that’s what keeps this at #3. Because, come on son. If you told 15 year old Sean that he would eventually have a song with Camp Lo under his belt, I would have exploded. We even got to perform it live with them at the Nightlife album release:
Life is amazing and weird, man.
2. Bad Things Redux by Metermaids (featuring Sage Francis and B. Dolan)
I have talked about this song a lot before, I believe. So I will keep this relatively short. When we were finishing up Rooftop Shake we were sending beats to Sage to get his opinion before we did any rapping. Lo and behold, two of those beats came back with Sage Fucking Francis rapping on them. One was Kill The Crow (which eventually featured Buck65 as well), and the other was Bad Things. I remember listening to Sage’s verse for the first time with my lady by my side. I felt like my skin was on fire.
Later in the year, we had the fortune of doing a mini Colorado tour with the big guy and B. Dolan. In the green room of the Mishawaka Theater outside of Fort Collins, Dolan was playing us some stuff from his laptop. I remember he was kicking around the idea of doing this song. At some point he casually mentioned that he had the Bad Things instrumental, and was thinking of writing some shit to it. Sentence and I were like… aiiiiiiiight.
Months later he sent his shit through. And… please. He is SO FUCKING GOOD. Seriously. You want poignant? Here. You want some funny shit? Here. You want a dude to just rap his ass off? See above. This is #2 on my list because after hearing Sage’s verse (which was the first part of the song recorded) we made the conscious decision to not compete. We just wanted to have fun. After Dolan came with his shit our decision was even more validated. If Bad Things Redux is the Chicago Bulls, Sage and Dolan are on some Jordan and Pippen shit. Sentence and I are on some BJ Armstrong and John Paxson shit. That’s not to say that players like Armstrong and Paxson are not essential to winning championships, but you know what I mean.
Every time all four of us perform this song I get off stage and think it was the greatest non-child-related moment of my life. I tend towards hyperbole, but still.
1. Death of the Boombox by Prolyphic (featuring Sage Francis and Metermaids)
Numba One. Top of the Heap. In my hear of hearts, I believe this to be true.
Buddy Peace on the beat. Sage Francis starts the song off in a ridiculous manner, and then goes on to kill it. Prolyphic kills it. And, IMHO, Sentence and I kill it too. I love the beat, love all the writing, love the hook, love the idea of the song. I have spent days where I listened to it like 50 times. I remember when Sentence and I recorded our parts I figured out Bryan Adam’s “Everything I Do I Do it For You” on the piano while Sentene was recording. Random memory, but true.
I don’t know what else to say about it. Pro and Buddy’s record Working Man is one of the most slept on records in recent memory to me. Every song is good. It’s an honor to be a part of it. To be on a song like this, produced by Buddy, that also features Sage? Puhlease.
Life is good.