behind the scenes

Behind the Scenes began as an homage to/stylistic cribbing of Aesop Rock, one of my favorite rappers ever, then took a (weird) left turn as I began to read American Gods, a novel by Neil Gaiman. The result is an apocalyptic banger full of complex wordplay. 

cynicism in my old age

This (mostly) tongue-in-cheek song is a reflection on where I've been and a look to where I'm going.

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I’ll be honest: this album began with selfish intentions
— Cynicism in My Old Age

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, I thought I could still "get discovered" and "make it" or at least "go viral" and "ride the wave." BACKSTAGE was originally just "B," a showcase of a couple songs that I could shop to managers, labels, and put on Spotify to politick for playlist placements...

Boom Bap was the "real hip hop" joint. Waiting for the Sun would fit in at the club. The Great Depression was poppy and more accessible...Then something happened. Actually, two somethings happened. 

As I was writing my "underground rap" song, I started reading Neil Gaiman's American Gods, a story of the battles between the old gods (Odin, Zeus, Anansi) and the new gods (Technology, TV, Globalism), some of which took place on an ethereal plane alternately referred to as "Behind the Scenes" and...BACKSTAGE. The story and its messages began to seep into the song, and what started as a display of verbal versatility became Behind the Scenes, an apocalyptic joyride with a menacing refrain taken directly from Gaiman's novel: "It's easy. There's a trick to it: you either do it, or you die." 

A few months later, Kendrick Lamar, one of my favorite artists, released "To Pimp a Butterfly." The complex, lush, brilliantly laid out album was tied together by a poem that unfolded throughout the work. "Butterfly" showed me that not only was the album as form not dead, it was more important than ever. 

I knew I wanted to bring the energy of my live shows to the album, so I decided to use actual audio from our shows as a throughline to give the album the feeling of a cohesive experience.

You crazy for this one, K-Dot. 

BONUS: listening party - Cynicism in my old age & behind the scenes

tomorrow: the grand finale