Letters From FreakLoud: Ten-sion

I wonder if anyone’s ever gone crazy doing hip-hop before.

I know there have been some guys over the years that have flown dangerously close the cuckoo’s nest. But it’s hard to imagine hat most of them weren’t a bit loopy to begin with. But now that I think of it, the only reason that I don’t think that I was crazy already is because no one’s ever told me so.

I’m starting to feel a little odd now, though. Thus my concern. The last time you heard from me, I felt a lot more…balanced. I admit that I was bubbling over with hatred and not much has changed about that. I’ll tell you what has changed, though, what’s changed is the object of my anger. My enemy, as it were.

If you’ve ever read anything that I’ve written, you would understand that my enemy was all “wack rappers”. By that I mean just about any hip-hop artist who would stop making records if there were no money in it. All of the guys and girls that you see on TV every day, making paper airplanes out of 100 dollar bills and sitting on Gucci toilets. Broadcasting to the rest of the world how little the majority of my folks know about their lineage.

In the last couple of months, though, buffoonery ceased being the whole of the picture. Somewhere along the line, it hit me that if all of the skill-less emcees were rounded up and shot in the face, there would still be an abundance of wack shit in the world. If the G-Unit, the BoyzNtheHood, and the Cash Money Millionaires held a joint press conference that got firebombed by the Move Organization, it would be a really great day for me. I mean a REALLY great day, but there would still be female circumcisions, starving kids, crackheads and fundamentalist Christians.

While this might sound like an enriching experience for a hate-monger to have, it also meant that I didn’t have anything to write about. And that, my friends, is not only the reason that I’m damned close to losing it, it’s also the main reason that I haven’t written anything in a while. The other reason?

I’ve been recording an album.

I know what some of you are thinking, “God be damned! He’s betrayed us all and sold his soul to the devil for a ham sandwich!”

But on the contrary dear hearts, if anything, the opposite has happened. In my eyes, I’ve created something so utterly un-mainstream that its reminded me how hopelessly exiled I am from what one would call “normal human experience”. I’ve never felt so, so…marginalized. I do realize that all of the principles that I hold dear with regards to music point me inevitably in this direction. But god-damn! I never in a million years realized how brave one has to be to do something original. It never donned on me while I was recording that I was gonna have to explain to people why there was a sixty-eight year old Jewish man rhyming on the first song. To me it was only right, but imagine the horror of a Lloyd Banks fan!

In my brain I see this parallel: Imagine that everybody in the world really thought that a human heart looks like how its usually drawn, you know the upside-down ass coming to a triangle point. Imagine that you were one of these people, skipping down the street to heart store to buy a heart for your sweetie, and there’s a guy outside that says he has hearts for half-price, and he opens his trench coat to reveal one of these bad boys:

I mean, technically he’d be right, but you’d still puke.

All that he can hope is that enough people will want one of these new-fangle “an’tomicaly co’reck” hearts that it’ll actually birth a new market. He certainly couldn’t do that shit for a living until he had enough customers, and chances are, he may never.

So what’s an emcee to do when he doesn’t expect that most rap fans will understand his product? Well I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna try to distribute my shit hand to hand until I’m sure its reached all of the 38 or so people who will enjoy it. I know they’re out there. They’re the same people that are at every They Might Be Giants show I go to. They’re also the ones who buy up all the Robert Anton Wilson books from Amazon. They might also be MF DOOM fans, but only if they really get him, and have tolerance for an emcee that’s still in the midst of his journey.

Hopefully I’ll find these people before I go completely insane. And believe me, this is cause for concern. I already feel myself approaching the doors of Chapel Perilous, and the gargoyle on the door is looking at me like I have pink eye. I do a little yoga, so I try to employ Pranayama breathing techniques and Asana postures, anything to quiet the voices. But the nervousness of putting something so dear to me out into the world is very aggravating. I’m reminded of John Cusack’s character in High Fidelity. Finally the critic steps out to be criticized…

…and believe me it ain’t easy…I should only hope that there aren’t music review gods that have kept track of all of the horrible shit I’ve said about people’s life’s work over the years. Then again, I may be more sensitive considering there’s more of myself in it than I believe to be the case for many other hip-hop artists. But hey, that’s as much of an unfounded judgment as any other assumption that I’ve made about a rapper or his/her or her intentions.

What I’m hoping is that in the end it all comes down to how the music sounds. If it’s not good to people (and I imagine that this time around it may not be) I’ll learn to accept it. But I do have faith that there are 38 people out there who will see where I’m coming from and be able to peep the picture I’m trying to paint. I’ve met a few already, and those people’s encouraging words have made this entire process a little easier to bear. And for the detractors? Believe me, I understand. It’s not your common rap fare. It’s also not done developing as a sound all its own. It’s in a raw and awkward stage and I’m sure it’ll be a little firmer the next time around. Until then, enjoy….

…The Finger Booger EP…

Now I thought for a long time about whether or not I should even mention my project on IP because I didn’t want my column to become a forum for self-promotion. But I did want to start writing again, and there is nothing in my musical life that is more important than the creation of my first offering. Plus I needed to write about this shit to document my journey through self-doubt induced psychosis.

If you want to hear parts of it, go to my myspace page here

And for God’s sake leave some damned feedback. The only thing more aggravating than the voices is silence.



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