Friday, September 12, 2014

Winter's Lament (Miami's Gone) (Produced by Lip Beats)

In 2012, I went to Miami for essentially 2 days for WrestleMania XXVIII and my life was never the same. Mostly, I fell in love with the climate. Being from West Virginia, I'm used to cold, long winters. But I never hated them until after I came back from Miami.

This song is really about depression. While never diagnosed officially, depression is something I've suffered from since I was 16 off and on. The comenzaron a beber sample in the song translates to "they began to drink", which is what I did in Miami and what I tend to do when I'm down. I called it "Winter's Lament" since it was winter when I wrote it and lament means a passionate expression of grief or sorrow. According to Google any way.

Little did I know that this song would fit this winter way more than last, but I believe this to be a hidden gem on the album. If you've experienced the feelings I convey on the track, then you probably dig this one. If you haven't, you may find it skippable. But know one thing: I really miss Miami.

Volume 1 Week: Gangsta Music

I specifically remember deciding to rap over this beat because Wes had done it, so being the competitive guy that I am, I had to put my spin on it. The beat came from The Diplomats' debut album Diplomatic Immunity and was titled "Dipset Anthem" even though I still recall is being called "Gangsta Music" at some point.

I like the way I flipped the concept of "Gangsta Music" to show different ways you could be gangsta without being a stereotypical dude from the hood. I think I was going through a phase where I was trying to give gangsta a better connotation.

The talking at the end cracks me up, because again, I didn't count any bars and yet I'm boasting about how "beats like this make me feel unstoppable." Ah, to be young, dumb, and 21.

Bonus! "Breathe"

Everyone had some verses over Fabolous' "Breathe" in 2004, and I was no different. It's one of the more consistent songs on the mixtape and it's a shame I buried it at track 17. At 26 tracks, it wasn't the only one though.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Volume 1 Week: Hip-Hop (Feat. Chivalry)

"Hip-Hop" was one of the final songs finished for the mixtape. Matt had come down (or did we kidnap him? I used to do that.) from Pittsburgh for the weekend, so all 4 of his guest appearances were recorded then (he recorded the "Lean Back (Interlude)" on his own).

One of my biggest pet peeves back then was how long all of his verses seemed to compared to mine. Not to mention that I always thought they were 10 times better than what I had just laid down. We discovered later that his verses were long because we weren't counting bars at all, but you win some, you lose some.

This is probably my favorite verse of his on the mixtape (aside from "Hyph Is Like", where he says a bunch of nice things about me). The beat is from Royce Da 5'9"'s sophomore album Death Is Certain and produced by DJ Premier.

And I still stand by the fact that Matt will always be 10 times better the rapper than I ever will be.

Robin #6-12 bka the Stephanie Brown Robin Issues

I have no recollection about why I wanted to share these issues of my 2001-2004 Robin fanfiction. I just last remember listening to the Cheap Heat podcast and thinking this would be a good idea.

So in the first major storyline of the series, Robin (Tim Drake) took on an adversary known as The Student. The Student was revealed to be The Riddler in disguise and after Tim and Nightwing narrowly let Riddler escape, Batman was pissed. He fired Tim as Robin and made The Spoiler (Stephanie Brown) his replacement.

I really want to note that I beat DC to making Stephanie Robin by at least a year and a half. So they stole my idea and didn't give me credit. What can you do?

Here's all of Steph's Robin appearances during the series. Apologies for errors, I wrote these more than 10 years ago, so they're not perfect.

#7 (Written by David Gibson for an event we called Hypertime Month at DCA. I credit this issue for helping me get a feel of Steph's character for the rest of her Robin run.)

I highly recommend issue #10. The fight takes place in the mall and it's pretty awesome. But again, I love everything I do.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Volume 1 Week: Song Cry

The original lyrics to "Song Cry" were very similar to "Rewind", minus the sex. I had written the song about the different women I had encountered up to that point in my life.

My mistake came when I left my notebook in Angel's Rav-4 and she went back to Keyser, for the weekend when I planned to record it. Being the awesome girlfriend (now wife) that she is, she read my lyrics to me over the phone so I could still record. And she wasn't fond of the fact that I wrote a song about all these other women.

Seeing as we were barely a year into our relationship, I didn't want to anger her over something as trivial as lyrics, so I told her I wouldn't use the original rhymes. Instead, the song became one of my more personal ones, as I rapped about being worried about Osama Bin Laden in verse 1, hoping to make my dad proud in verse 2, and how my thoughts could still cause hurt in verse 3. This is only a bit of foreshadowing for the personal songs I would release in later years.

In the end, even though I was annoyed I scrapped a whole song because of Angel, this version of "Song Cry" is way better than what would've been. And as with most things in the past 11 years, I have Angel to thank for it.

I better not let her listen to "Rewind" any time soon though. It's mostly lies, honest!

I Made Some T-Shirts...

So not too far in the past, I designed a few t-shirts. I even have proof!

Well, I eventually decided I didn't like any of them, so I deleted the entire Spreadshirt site.

The other day, I designed some new ones.

The first one pictured at the top is the newest "I'm So Nerd Fresh" Design (I'm modeling the first on the left hand side). It comes from an idea Willie had for a shirt two years ago that I originally designed and posted, but it got deleted with the rest of the shirts.

The second one is lifted directly from Bob And George, a Mega Man sprite comic I've been rereading the past few weeks. The strip that's pictured on it is posted full size and is edited on the shirt. For some reason, that strip just cracked me up. I wonder how long before Capcom sees it and has Spreadshirt delete it?

You can visit the Nerd Fresh Shop, or go directly to the Silhouette tee or the Ice Cream tee.

The Eighth SYU Review

SYU bassist Kwame Amponsem finally got around to listening to the album and sent me some good feedback vibes.

Soon You'll Understand is available now on iTunes.

Hyphen's Long Travelled Thoughts: Jerry "The King" Lawler & What Wrestling Means To Me

On this day in 2012, I wrote about Jerry "The King" Lawler after he went into cardiac arrest during a live Raw in Montreal. Thankfully, Jerry made it through, so I'd like to reshare this column.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Volume 1 Week: Overnight Celebrity

I love this song because it was my first time trying out a fast flow. And while I mess up a bunch of times, I still think it's pretty dope. But I've always found most of my music pretty impressive. What's an artist without confidence?

I borrowed the title from the Twista song of the same name, which was produced by and featured a fresh off of The College Dropout Kanye West. It's a shame that Ye and Twista didn't do more music together. But once Kanye's sound started changing, I guess Twista didn't really fit anymore.

I'm really proud of the bridge at the song's end. Probably because it was on beat. This may have been one of the songs I recorded in my old apartment I shared with Wes and Steve on Naomi Street. I would sit up in the living room when the house was empty and go for it.

Fun fact: Naomi Street was officially the home of Victory Jumpoff Studios 1.0. I recorded volume 1, volume II, and Thunderstorm there.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Volume 1 Week: Never Change

I guess it makes sense to start at the beginning.

By 2004, I had recorded some songs. I had released a mixtape with some college friends back in 2002. Matt and I had recorded one full demo with Wise in 2001. The rest of my material was written on mostly loose leaf paper with paperclips to keep the "songs" together. Which I still have.

In 2001, I met Wes, who introduced me to Acid Pro. He had recorded some music and made beats with it in high school and I was wowed by the fact that I could record myself using my favorite tool at that time, the computer (I think this still applies). When we met back up in Morgantown, I think this is when he hooked me up with a copy of the software.

In the early 2000s (aughts? I like aughts. Some people don't.), mixtapes went from exclusive music given to (or stolen by) DJs to single artists being featured, and those artists would take other artist's beats and rap over them (see 50 Cent). As it became easier to record your own material, independent artists started making their own mixtapes.

I was hesitant, mostly because I wanted to own my music, but I had a huge lack of original beats. I also didn't want to waste any of the instrumentals I found on Soundclick on something that wasn't an album.

So one day, I was playing around on Angel's old Acer (which I still have) and decided to write some lyrics to two Jay-Z instrumentals I came across: "Never Change" and "Stop". I plugged in a headset microphone (I used headset microphones up until volume Three. You can tell.), fired up Acid, and started putting what little knowledge I had to use. My versions of "Never Change" and "Stop" were the results.

I was so pleased with these songs that I felt it was time to create my first mixtape, and I named it in this track. I don't recall how I came up with it, but I've always said it was my thoughts put into mixtape form, hence Mind's Mixtape.

I'll warn you now...I couldn't rap on beat back then. I didn't understand the concept of a bar. I just filled one side of a sheet of paper with lyrics and called it a verse. It wasn't until volume II when I was corrected. So hopefully this additional insight lessens the blow of what you subject yourself to when you press play.