Track One: It's Burbs
a beat that i always really liked but was never able to make into a song. by the time the album was nearing completion, i had several orphan verses, either from songs i disassembled (the song "rusty swing" was recorded early on, and later discarded) or a mixtape. three of these verses became this song. the second verse is mostly me talking shit on rick. i call some other people out but it was basically just some dumb shit tryin to get at rick. the part at the end proclaims early on, that i'm on some other level shit.
Track Two: Yo Burbalino!
The first song i recorded after getting involved with monkhaus, in the old studio, after having talked to shinn for the first time, mostly about d.i.t.c. These verses are pieced together from a great many two bar couplets that i would think of "on the field". The flow comes from just having to make them all fit together. the beat isnt formatted into a song structure per se, basically the beat is just a 16 bar pattern that repeats four times. i had asked my man boobie to switch it up for me but he just kept saying "write to the beat" and then some stuff about puffy and biggie. he loves that shit. this was the first track on the first disc of beats that i got from him.
Track Three: You've Been Gone
This was the second track on the first disc of beats that i got from boobie smiff. my inital reaction when first hearing them together made me immediately decide to use them both, on the album, in that order, as the first two tracks. this idea was abandoned early on, as other ideas came more easily to fruition and it wasnt until much later on in the project that i took a serious stab at putting some lyrics on this beat. at one point, the lyrics for "mr cool" were going to be used, but instead it is two joints written expressley for this beat, and the third orphan verse from "rusty swing"
Track Four: Nineteen- Eightyfour
yo yo this shit was the second song i wrote and recorded for the album and since, everyone has grown to hate it, but i tell you this, they all loved this shit when it first came out, and you cannot front. maestro did the beat up and its got despair written on it's forehead. It was during this time that we were recording "for life", maestro's album, in the original balls- hot box-room in his apartment I recorded rusty swing soon after this, after having written a ton of lyrics while working at strand books in the review department, that place being a major zone-out.
Track Five: Anywhere, Whenever
word. yo this song is bananas. akilah basically rips it up. my verses on this track were also written while shelving review books at the strand. around the same time as i was writing "rusty swing", though the song didnt come together until much later on. the idea to use akilah came to me immediately. the beat is clearly made for her. its her beat, so she needs to be on it. but its my song. the world needs to know that i gave you that. i chose for you to hear that beat. you're welcome.
Track Six: The Blue Collar
i got this beat, the 'anywhere whenever' beat and a few others at the same time. these were the only two used on the album from that selection. this song was written in the depths of my review despair, while shinn was in japan for two months or some, and recorded soon after his return, the last in the blue hot box. while shin was away for this period we spent a few hours each doing tracking at "fame and fortune" studios in midtown manhattan. i didnt pay for any of this, but i'd be pissed if i had. None of these sessions are used on the album, and im not sure they even exist anymore. amanda bret helped me write this song, more than she may know. the hook went thru many incarnations. i could go forever modifying that hook i think, who knows. maybe i will remix the whole thing. i took some flak from everyone at the time because the beat is about 'new booties' and none of my lyrics on the song have overtly sexual themes. fuck it i'm not nelly
Track Seven: It's Not A Problem
This is the best thing that came from the fame and fortune sessions. the day of my first session there, i arrived late, without my beat cd. luckily rick had just compiled a boobie smiff beat sampler, with the beat i needed, and had copies with him. also on that disc was this beat. we dropped everything for me to work on it. originally not intended to have a hook. these verses were previously recorded with mercury on the song "b.u.r.b.s.". i had to bury that song mostly out of spite, due to conflict with the producer of the beat, which was basically whack to begin with. the kid is a herb and he looks like a pear. he looks like the little king. he's a penguin lookin motherfucker.
Track Eight: Unpolished Scholars
Yo colin came thru and did it up on this, clearly. my man buys his pants at the store. recorded at the old place, those are the two oldest verses of mine on the album, both cribbed from other songs i had done with colin and sef in huntington. during this time i was begging colin to do an album with me because i was convinced i'd never be able to write a full albums worth of material.
Track Nine: Green Label
This song was the last to be written in the review stacks, sans the last verse which was the first thing i wrote when the new freedom sound studio was ready to use. the beat was the one i forgot on my first F+F session, and i recorded a version of this song there, which was whack. that place just didnt have a good vibe. Colin recorded there and im not sure he ever got his songs. i guess someone busted a drug ring somewhere and seized all the assets. i had always intended meche to do the hook, which was written to be slightly different. he made it his own. i never thought it would come together because that man is elusive. one day he just strolled thru and dropped the shit in our laps. definitely counted among my blessings.
Track Ten: Natey Interlude
Another blessing. it was just another night of grinding at freedom sound until Matthew "american" Glasser was able to come through and deliver his finest recorded Natey perfomance, on the first take no less. you can see more of his work as natey at funnyordie.com/mattg
Track Eleven: Rhymes With Vigor
When i came up with the title for the album i never intended there to be a 'title track' as it were. this came about most likely from overthinking it on the toilet. the most glaring example of my suppressed eminem influence is somewhere towards the end of the second verse. one of maybe three times on the album where i slip into eminem mode and it's like "yep, there it is". but fuck it im a white dude. meche did the little echo parts on the same day he was around for the 'green label' hook. and i'm pretty sure they hype shit up. shinn hates them. i got this beat from him about the same time he closed down the old studio and started working on freedom sound, so i had a long time to work with it. it was the first full song i recorded when freedom sound was complete and i was sick, as in physically ill, like lemme see a doctor.
Track Twelve: Mister Cool
i wrote this one early on. I was hugely inspired by jay- z's american gangster at the time, and this was to be my american gangster song. it took me months to write and it was abandoned several times. but in the end it came together, and warrants merit for its intent. the guitar overlay was done in one take by bryce "steamin' mad dallas howard" hackford, at his studio, and then reversed. whoosh. without this, the song would not work.
Track Thirteen: Show Love.
The last song written and recorded for the album and hugely inspired by the carter 3. Written very quickly over that crazy beat by maestro. there is not much to say on this one.
Bonus Track Fourteen: Disciples Remix
Early on, in the first studio, we all spent a few nights in a row writing and recording material for maestro's "for life". disciples is one of the best sessions i was asked to be involved with. the three of us are at the height of our game after being so deep in that atmosphere all week. all the projects were launched at this time. i had no job and was recording whenever the booth was available. the original version is a little more "grey" sounding and akila and cipher have another verse each. i don't know whos idea the remix was.