I've been toying with the idea of putting out an unreleased project. It finally felt like the right time. Plus, having Refined Hype and Different Kitchen behind the project felt like a good fit. This is a collection of some of my older, unreleased (some unfinished) songs. Some didn't fit certain projects; some were recorded just because I thought they sounded good. But, I"ll let you make that decision for yourself. For those of you who have never heard of MaG and want to get an idea of how I got to be where I'm at now as an artist, this may be a good starting point. For those who are somewhat familiar, this music should be new to all of you. Some of these joints are a little rough around the edges, but the message has always been the same: dope beats, dope rhymes, and a message to suit.
1. Strapped Freestyle
"Strapped" was one of the first tracks I recorded in 2007 before Tiff and I left for Florida. The session was cool cause my homey Gif (dope emcee) was there as well as my brother D. The beat is off the Jaylib (J-Dilla and Madlib) "Champion Sounds" project. I felt like I didn't have enough freestyles that reflected how I felt I had grown lyrically. I felt like this hit the nail on the head. Tiff has a great idea for this video, whenever we decide to shoot it.
2. La Dolce Vita (remix)
Here's the deal...the beat is off 14KT's "Nowalataz" beat tape. This is actually the original version of "La Dolce Vita" but it went unreleased. The version that was released was produced by DJ Priority (bonus track on "I Ain't Goin' Back to Retail!"). But this was the first version, and honestly, my favorite. Wanted it to be the first track off the "Retail" LP...but alas, here it is. Wrote the song after my man Boola's moms passed away. I needed a way to let him and her know I loved them, and also talk about how good life can be, in spite of our problems and pitfalls. I shout out Uncle Gary on verse 3 too..that's Tiff's uncle who passed away.
3. Bring You Light
This is off an Alchemist instrumental project. I wanted it to feel like an interview. I remember recording this because I didn't have any of the speaking parts inbetween the verses written down so I had to make it up on the spot. I also remember performing the 2nd verse acapella at S.O.B.'s and the reaction people had after the "Saddam Hussein in a hurricane" line. And Sha Stimuli shouting me out afterwards when he got on stage. That was a good night.
4. Not Fair
Anytime I hear this track I think about being in Dan Da Man's Studio (PRO! Engineer/Producer extraordinaire) and him asking what the track was about and me saying about oppression and stereotypes Blacks face. Dan, a White man, proceeded to tell me that's old and been done. And me thinking, he's absolutely right. And that the song isn't just about Black stereotypes, but stereotypes in general. The idea is relative...its not fair to be boxed in but views and ideas people choose to assign to you because of race, gender, etc. And this is a Dilla beat. Nuff said.
5. You Ain't Neva Scene It
This joint is off MF Doom's Special Herbs instrumental project from a few years back. It was pretty dark and gloomy. I actually wanted it on the Reaganomics Mixtape/Album project but it didn't make the cut. Basically, talking about the dangers and perils of life on the street. Also telling us not to judge, cause somebody may not know any other way.
6. Gota Gun?
Beat is off the J-Dilla and Madlib (Jaylib) "Champion Sounds" album. One of my favorites. This was during the time when it felt like emcees were really getting on their "shoot em' up bang bang". Just felt like everyone was talking about killing or shooting somebody in their songs but ain't none of em doing time. I wanted to tell real stories of what happens when people get shot and people die. Death is real. No coming back from that.
I love this Madlib beat. I heard it and was like I need a NY anthem, for me. Something I would perform and New Yorkers would go crazy. The actual title is from a verse a dude had on a Jaz-O song when he said something like "I'm so NY like Sony" or something like that. Its just me getting on my gritty rhyme scheme. No real subject matter. Just a lot of lyrics.
This joint was supposed to have Torae on it. But his schedule was crazy and I was leaving for Florida in a few so it didn't pan out. Another Madlib beat. This was during the time I was just on itunes buying instrumental tracks. I didn't really have beatmaking/producer friends and hadn't discovered beat tape websites so the only way I could get my write on was to download guys like Dilla and Madlib and DJ Babu. And then I'd cross my fingers that I after I recorded the tracks, somehow Madlib would hear it and go, "Man, I want to work with this dude for the rest of my life". I'm still working on that.
9. Check (w/ G.O.D of Pitch Black)
So I think G.O. (G.O.D. of Pitch Black fame. He's also on the "Lego's" track with Skyzoo off the Reaganomics project) said DJ Premier produced this track. I can't remember but I definitely remember being in the session with Tiff and G.O. and Nancy (G.O.'s wife) and having a blast. Might have been my last session before we left for Florida for a year. The hook we wrote on the spot. Half of it was part of a hook I had for another song I had never recorded. G.O. dug it and he came up with some other bars to go along with it. Felt like we were the perfect complement.
10. True Story
A Paul Danjer produced joint. Same session as the "Check" track with G.O.D. Another one of my favorites. The sample is from Mike Tyson's Punchout. Crazy. When I wrote this, it was kinda like me talking to myself and telling myself the move down south is justified and needed. Really, a lot of my songs are me talking myself into or out of a situation. Like explaining it so I have a clearer understanding of it. This track is definitely no exception. Last 6-8 bars? I wound up freestyling cause I only wrote half of the third verse.
This joint is another instrumental off of the 14KT "Nowalaterz" beat tape. Being with Tiff, I have a different perspective on being bi-racial, since she is. And I see Obama differently.The first verse is really an intro to me because I'm not bi-racial but I feel different; and a lot of times multi-racial and bi-racial people are misunderstood. Obama is half black and half white. He's both. "I'm more Obama than a Huxtable" because I'm more complex; we're all more complex. A lot of times, people want to confine you to a certain box; check the one that applies. What if you're multiple boxes? What then? People like to simplify what they don't understand.
12. Ladder of Success
This joint (shouts to DJ. K.O. and Kevin Nottingham) was part of the Picture This contest sponsored by KN.com
and DJ K.O. Emcees were to submit a remix to one of the instrumentals. I had just come back to NYC in 08' and had stumbled upon KN.com
a few months prior while in Atlanta (we've been around lol), saw the contest and was like I want in. Just talking about wanting to be successful in the hook. Kind of trying to get you familiar with me through the verses.
13. Outta Space
This was supposed to be a "I Ain't Goin' Back to Retail!" track. Was also supposed to feature my man Zack Berkman. I just never got around to completing it. That's my moms on the bridge. I love having family and friends on tracks or mentioned in songs. It means they live forever you know? There's audio of that person that will never go away. The song itself is off a Dert produced instrumental project he put out (another itunes purchase).
14. I'm Me
This track means a lot to me. It was produced by Diego Bernal. He put out a beat tape and this joint was a standout to me. At the time, Tiff and I were working with Stage 13, a theater/production company here in NYC. We were helping students at Poly Prep in Brooklyn, a wonderful school, for their annual Diversity Day projects. They use skits and workshops to promote diversity amongst the students. Anyway, they asked me to create a song based around the group discussions we had with the students involving some of the issues they dealt with at Poly Prep. In the song I mention the "kids in the Black hall". That actually exists. There's a spot in the hallway that people called the "Black hall" cause that's where the Black kids would hang out. We don't give our teens enough credit. They're spirited, intelligent, bright, thoughtful, and have a lot to say and contribute. You give the kids the power and incentive to change and they will. We made t-shirts for the day with the hook's lyrics used as the front of the shirts. I felt honored. And yeah, Ann Coulter can kick rocks man. Fa sho.