Strange Famous Records

Headz Ain’t Ready

Back in early May of 2007, I flew out to Providence, RI to spend 3
weeks practicing with Sage after he had asked me to handle the DJing
duties of his live set for the Human the Death Dance Tour. That tour
was first time I got to spend a good amount of time with Bernard.
Before then, I would talk to him once in a while on AIM but it was
usually pretty brief. One day, a few months before I went to
Providence, Bernard sent me a song that he had done with Sole, which
surprised me, because I had no idea that he made music at this point.
I knew that he was always really busy with Knowmore.org, and when I
first met him in San Francisco two years earlier, he made no mention
at all of doing music. I wasn’t sure what to expect when he sent over
the song…all he had said was it was “some rap shit”. The song was
“Young Americans” which was on “The Failure”. This was the first time
I heard Bernard rap. I was immediately impressed. Bernard was a
complete emcee package. Dope lyrics, dope voice, dope delivery. His
raps had a similar vibe to the kind of hip-hop that I really was into
in the mid 90′s. On some Ras Kass, Organized Konfusion, Saafir, Chino
XL, O.C. type of vibe. Not that he sounded like any of those artists,
just that he made you listen by having dope lyrics, a dope voice and a
dope delivery.

One night before tour, we all went out to eat. On the way back,
Bernard was playing stuff in his car and he put on “The Four Horsemen”
by Aphrodite’s Child, one of my favorite songs from that band. I said
“bump this shit!”. He did. We rocked out to the massive drums. Hell
yes.

Bernard did a bunch of shows with us on the HTDD tour. He drove his
car because there was no room in the van, so most of the time I would
ride to the next city with him in his car, playing each other crazy
prog rock, psyche soul, electronic weirdness songs. Also during these
drives we talked about working on a few songs together at some point
in the future. I told him I would be down to do some production for a
couple songs if our schedules matched up. He said he had a project he
had to finish first (The Failure). We agreed we’d figure it out.

I moved back to Portland, Maine in August of 2007. I had started an
album, but scrapped it and started over once I got back to Maine. I
worked quickly on my new album (Resurgam) and had it finished by the
start of March. I like to take breaks from music after I finish an
album. So I chilled out for a bit and then Bernard and Sage hit me up
in May of 2008 about producing for Bernard. When Bernard and I had
talked about it months before, we had only talked about doing a few
songs. But now we were talking about me producing an entire album. I
was really excited. I had always wanted to produce an entire hip-hop
album. Some of my favorite hip-hop albums have one producer (or
production team) throughout the entire record. When I worked with
Sole on Selling Live Water, the original plan was for me to produce
that entire album. We recorded enough songs for it, but when mixing
and mastering time came, Sole decided to cut a bunch of songs and
replace them with songs produced by Nosdam, Jel and Telephone Jim
Jesus.

So with “Fallen House, Sunken City”, I’m finally getting the chance to
produce an entire hip-hop album. It’s been a return to form in some
ways. Most of my past releases have been more electronic, with not
much sampling. This album is sample heavy. And it’s been a fun
challenge to chop up samples beyond recognition. The drums are HUGE.
They are compressed the fuck out. They knock in your Mitsubishi.
They have to…matching the intensity of Bernard’s raps is tough
sometimes. So massive drums are in order. The music we’ve done so
far is some of the most in-your-face stuff I’ve ever been involved
with. This isn’t some music you put on to do your homework to. This
isn’t some music to put on in the background while you throw a dinner
party. This is some music Ice Cube would make with a 2009 Bomb Squad
if he wasn’t doing Disney movies now. I’ve played a song or two for a
few people when they come to my studio. Usually, at the end of the
song they say “holy shit…I didn’t know that dude rapped like that.
I had no idea!” I can’t wait to see what other folks say when they
hear B straight killin’ it. Yikes…

Feb 21

I used to seeeeell… mixtaaapes…

I haven’t bought a new mixtape in a long time. Not because I’m not an enthusiast – quite the opposite, but as someone who was once on top of my game and knew what most DJ’s day to day moves were on a daily basis, I know how tough it can be to stay even a few steps behind what’s happening, let alone ahead of it all… And I’m talking about the days before widespread internet and high speed connections (I know I sound like an old fashioned grump sometimes but I find it fascinating how things have changed so seamlessly and how the internet has been intergrated into everything so easily…). It seems crazy how a while back when you wanted to know the name of a track you’d have to go through some mental and full on name game type shit… I’m talking about the old old days, early 90′s… So let’s go through the options in this 20th century name game : Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 20

Grown Man Talk

The term “grown man talk”. I’m not feeling it. I heard it used in a TV interview with Busta Rhymes and The Game. The Game was explaining to Busta about how he plans on putting his music career aside for a while to take care of his family and spend more time with his kids. I found that to be commendable, but at the some time I thought of a Chris Rock punchline from “Bigger and Blacker”.

setup: Man wanting credit for taking care of his kids
Rock’s punchline: “You’re suppose to take care of your kids you dumb motherfucker. What do you want a cookie?”

Back to the interview. So, Busta nods his head and says to Game, “that’s some grown man talk right there”. Grown man talk? What? Why should it be suprising that he is talking like a grown man? Yea, I hope what he is saying is Grown Man Talk. The Game is over 21, appears to have a family, I hope he is talking like a grown man. I turned the TV off and couldn’t help but to start to think a little deeper into this term. Do we actually needs this term? Shouldn’t it be a given that a grown man is using grown man talk. I started to think about our American culture and pop culture. A lot of people in America have a tough time taking responsibility for their actions, but that’s not the worst part. The worst part is…they get away with it. Look at the banking crisis, housing market crisis, WMD mistakes in Iraq, Ex-Mayor Blogdonvich, etc. They are all pointing fingers and passing the blame. “He did it, She did it”. But that is only a short list to a  list that  goes on forever and will continue to go on forever. Because everyone enjoys passing the blame. Why? Because its easy and if you can get away with it! Why not? On our television we watch our own government get away with it. The MBTA gets away with it. The old “i didn’t do it, he did it” routine from our childhood. Who’d a thunk it would still work as an adult? Apparently a lot of people do. I inadvertently heard A-Rod’s press conference yesterday as he explained that “he was just a stupid kid” for taking steroids. “I was just a stupid kid at 23 and I didn’t know what I was taking. I didn’t know. I thought they were magic power pills from Central America that cost me 5 hundy. Can you blame a kid for being stupid?” Yes A-Rod, you can blame a kid for being stupid. Especially when the kid is 23-25 and he needs to produce big numbers at the plate cuz he just signed a 5 hundy milli dollar contract. Stupid fucking kids. Michael Phelps is another stupid fucking kid at 21 or whatever stupid fucking age he is. Does age matter when you’re a stupid fucking kid? Can’t you just be a stupid fucking kid forever? There are probably a lot of stupid fucking male kids in America. I’ve bumped into a couple. I’ve literally bump into a couple because, you know, they’re stupid. I say, “Hey you stupid fucking kid watch where ya going, you might end up becoming a doctor or some shit being so fucking stupid.” (Bill Cosby does a great bit on brain damaged kids saying and doing stupid shit.) It’s pathetic. What’s the point of playing a game with rules when everyone breaks them? Why have the rules? Is it fair that some of us have to obey and others don’t? Is that the point? And why are some rules enforced, but others aren’t? For me it just adds to the pile of shit that we ship over to the poor parts of Cambodia and China and leave for them to deal with. (Even our own shit and stuff we have to dump on other people. Our TV’s, computers and other electronic gizmos we no longer have use for. We fucking dump it on someone else.) What stupid fucking kids we are. And it makes sense that we produce stupid fucking kids. And we act like stupid fucking kids. I am not excluded. So, maybe I’m wrong about the term “Grown Man Talk.” Maybe we need this term to spark some more grown man talk in this country.

blogging it.

Prolyphic

Feb 18

Street Rapping

I’ve been a street rapper for years. When I say street rapper, I don’t mean I’m from the streets and I’m all thugged out, I was raised on a farm. What I mean is I street perform for cash by rapping. I got into it when I was homeless so I could make money to buy sandwiches. I was gonna be freestyling all day anyway so I figured I might as well do it in a busy area with a donation box in front of me.

The spot I picked was on 8th and Idaho in Boise in front of this big corporate banking firm type place. The second day I went out I sold a couple cds to some skater kids for sandwich money. About 15 minutes later a cop rolled up and gave me a ticket for illegal vending. Someone inside must have saw me and called him because they didn’t want me street rapping in front of their big fancy corporation. I didn’t have cds laid out or a booth or anything. I was just slangin em out of my backpack. I wound up with a fine for 800 dollars. The cop said I could take donations but that it was illegal to sell cds. So out of spite, I went back to that spot and street rapped 3 or 4 times a week for what must have been about 5 months all day during business hours. I met alot of cool people, pissed alot of people off, and ate alot of sandwiches. The funniest part was when idaho gangster rappers would try to battle me.

What kind of society do we live in when all kinds of harmful things are legal to sell but a guy can’t sell a rap song for a sandwich?

I’m out in Portland for awhile and its a pretty good place to street rap. I went out the other day and scored 28 bucks. The rain sucks but I like it when its overcast becuase I sunburn easily.

If your an emcee interested in making money for sandwiches while rapping or you just want to street rap for fun, there are a few approaches you can take. If you wanna go big so people can hear you a block away, I suggest buying a Roland Micro Cube. They kick out alot of a good amount of bass. However, if your on the street rapping with out a microphone when no one is there you look insane. Plus if your a homeless emcee rapping for sandwich money you probably can’t afford a mini amp from guitar center. For the more casual approach, I suggest rapping with no mic and a cool lookin boom box. It makes you almost blend in like your some guy rappin along to Lil Jon because he has nothing better to do.

When I first got into street rapping I was trying to slang cds so I just did my set over and over again but whats really fun is freestyling. I like to freestyle and if some one ask me to do a written song I’ll bust one out or maybe just freestyle and do a written song once in awhile. I started out freestyling over Doom instrumentals but then after awhile I got into freestyling over nothing but drum machine beats. It has a raw feel that reminds me of freestyling over someone beat boxing.

If your in the portland area maybe you’ll catch me street rapping down around Pioneer square. I’ll be the guy who sounds like Katherine Hepburn.

Feb 18

Praying for Atheists

True Story…

My cousin Tom is the bassist in Prayers for Atheists. And he’s been kicking ass online promoting for the upcoming PFA shows, including hitting up family members (we have a huge family- almost 20 first cousins in between the ages of 16-29 years old and could probably fill a small venue with just our cousins and their respective partners/friends).

I got an excited email from Cousin Tom last week explaining that two of my younger cousins from Connecticut (who I love and don’t see nearly enough) were making the trip up to Providence for our show on the 20th. I thought it was odd, because they hardly come up here and last I knew, they weren’t really into music as aggressive as ours- but I just figured they thought it was cool that Tom had joined the band with (cool older cousin) Jared and that was enough to make the trip.

Tom and I were both pumped to see them, I mean, sincerely appreciative and really looking forward to it.

Then, just a few days ago I got this email from Cousin Tom:

“okay… really funny story. Matt and Zach selected ‘attending’ for the show off the Facebook invite. Because they thought it was a ‘praying for atheists’ event. One in which people all over the world would simultaneously pray for atheists… so… bad news, they’re not coming. Good news, that’s hilarious.”

Prayers for Atheists… ha.

Prayers for those who’ve lost their way…

Hymns of Hope, for those who no longer believe in god or the empire around them…

Songs from the bottom of a mineshaft; or Psalms of Victory.

This whole thing could get really interesting, on a lot of levels.

*(Matt and Zach! If you end up seeing this: We definitely got some different beliefs but your big cousin loves you. Always. Keep praying for us if it feels right. I’m sure there’s power there, one way or another, and I got a feeling I’m going to need all the help I can get.)

Feb 18

An open letter to Justin Timberlake.

Justin Timberlake you cocksucker,
Someone oughta open your pretty face with a boxcutter.
Caucasoid boy wonder.
Smug prince of pop culture.
How many dollars did you plunder copying moves from Usher?
You discovered Michael’s routines like a modern Columbus.
You’ve got a squadron of publicists.
They keep you in the gym doing lots of squats and crunches,
to distract us from the fact that your adams apple is HUMONGOUS.
Pencil neck.
Peckerwood.
Your adams apple looks like an elbow.
My testicles crawl into my body when you sing in a falsetto.
Your awkward bobble head,
all stiff and off tempo…
I digress though.

You met britney at like seven years old.
Back when you were kickin reggae flows
on the after school minstrel show.
Where parents go to pimp their kids for dough
You were the best poodle in show
with your two tone bowl cut jerry curl
and cheek bones.
You were jealous of Britney
Because she learned the steps quickly!
While you were trippin on your big feet
developing acne…
She was the magnificent innocent
natural pageant queen All-American aryan Cleopatra at 17
Young queen on the throne
Catholic school girl in heat, cover of Rolling Stone
certified diamond first week platinum
while you were singing backups with JC and Joey Fatone!
Blowing coke with Lance Bass in a backstage bathroom!
So when her comet came around the second time
you latched on…
And kept her on your arm for as long as she was in fashion…

You attained
the unattainableness
that had been her main attraction.
Cameras snap and lift your stature
but her image had been captured.
Cropped copied and plastered photos reproduce themselves…
Recorded & mastered vocals effected to boost her skills…
Removing her voice from her… choreographed and sculpted…
Speech and daily routine orchestrated and studied…
Meanwhile, FUCKING JUSTIN
is trying to be her husband!
The girl is TWENTY ONE, Jus!
Ease up off her nuts!

Go your seperate ways, stay cool and remain friends
don’t try to own her.
Just be glad for what you had
and be happy to know her!
Consider yourself
STUNNINGLY LUCKY in light of the fact that you look like a rattlesnake
trying to swallow a boulder!

Instead you write a hundred hate anthems in the sky,
and throw a teenage angst tantrum at the age of 25.
Justin Timberlake you cocksucker
i hope you die.
You ratted on Janet Jackson!
You told a radio station that Britney’s package was unwrapped?!!
I hope your plane crashes.
I hope you live in chronic pain.
I hope a groupie splashes acid in your face
and you contract aids.
I hope usher kills you in a fit of black rage.

I hope you sit in a hospital bed
with your head completely shaved
sober for the first time in days
an alien in your skin, held down by restraints
while on the tv, the song about you plays
and arenas full of people sing you to your grave
as they sway to the beat and the lazer light display
Justin Timberlake, i hope you feel yourself fade.

“I’m a …. sllaavvee for you”

——

Holler at your boy Jus.  I’m coming for you.  I will be here forever.  Forever and ever.  It’s on.  It’s on forever and ever.

-b

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyEbzoCf39Y&feature=related[/youtube]

Wait for it… the gold is around 1:20.

Feb 17

Inkymole art auction at the SFR basement show

Renowned visual artist and long-standing SFR collaborator Sarah “Inkymole” Coleman has just donated some very special prints toward our fund raising effort!

We’ve got 2 pieces from her “Dollface” series and 3 “If These Walls Could Talk” wallpaper prints.  One from each set will be raffled off at the show.  Also, one of each – specially signed by all Strange Famous Crew on site – will be made available via live auction hosted by myself, and SFR Forum hero, Messiah Carrey!!

*Inkymole’s limited edition “Dollface” screenprints are hand-finished and signed and numbered by the artist. Measuring 12″x12″, they are on high-quality deckle-edged paper, made in the UK – each one is unique.

*The “If These Walls Could Talk” wallpaper prints were produced as part of Inkymole’s If A Girl Writes Off The World exhibition, which opened in 2006, touring to NYC and Providence in 2007. They formed the enormous backdrop to Sage’s one-off performance at the opening night in London one rainy night in October 2006. These high-quality inkjet prints are signed and dated by the artist.

All 5 pieces will be signed by the SFR crew in attendance at the show, and the 3rd and final remaining “If These Walls Could Talk” print will be posted for on-line bidding after the show!

Raffle tickets will be sold at the door and at the merch booth for $3 a piece:  $3 gets you one name in the hat and a chance to win one of these rare, limited edition prints- bidding for special SFR crew signed pieces will start at $20.

All proceeds will go to the “Jared Paul is Free but the Lawyers Cost Money” fund.

We’ll See You There!
——————————————————————————–
Feb 27th at the Grant in Pawtucket, RI
Sage Francis, B. Dolan, Prolyphic, Prayers for Atheists, and Shane Hall.
All Ages/$10 entry/free parking/more on our tour page.

www.strangefamous.com

Feb 17

Hip Hop the Musical!!!

I’ve always been a big fan of two things; the Highschool the Musical movies and hardcore rap music. So I kind of got this idea today, though it was sort of suggested by someone else, to combine my two greatest loves into a musical comedy about rappers and all the whacky trouble they get into. This is a great idea. I’m telling you, The Game is gonna be doing musical comedy next year. Who would have thought Ice Cube would have ever gotten into making heartwarming Disney movies when he first came out. Gotta strike while the iron is hot baby! Get on it before its too late.

Feb 16

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