March 20, 2016

Liner Note: The Calendar

As promised, I’m including the liner notes for our newest labor of love, The Calendar

Peace fam…

Serendipity: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for

As a rule of sorts, I do not use the term “I am blessed” when describing fortunate events or circumstance. That’s basically because I choose to believe that for the most part, we all are. It’s simply a natural part of being on this plane of existence.

And therefore I’m choosing to dedicate this album to serendipity.

As I’m sure many of you are aware, my home team; Little Egypt, has been on an extended hiatus to put it mildly. I’d pretty much resigned myself to not going hard on the tunes any more and just doing the domestic home life thing. Thanks to several serendipitous events and the persistence of my Wife (much gratitude for that btw…) I find myself back on the boards. And once again, deep in the composition notebooks.

Somewhat random events came into play to find my Wife and I at a Melanie Stormm (ever-present friend to the room) performance. I now look back at this event as The Intervention as by the end of the night my Wife and Melanie both were barking at me (in stereo) for not being in the studio making music.

My Wife will tell you that she’d been urging me to get back in the lab for years before that – definitely true, but this is the first time maybe that I’d heard it in stereo…

Flash forward a bit to find me writing a little something for a single Melanie put out later that year. After listening to that butter little track 1000s of times and getting some love we began conceptualizing a collaborative project – look out for it soon (and that’s the Phase 1 of my own Intervention Ms. Stormm!!).

And the cap was once again off the pen.

Happy Mother’s Day was the first song completed chronologically. In fact, it was written before the album was even a distant thought. I basically wrote the song as a way to pay homage to single moms I’ve known and to give thanks to the fact that my Brothers and I were lucky enough to have a solid family life coming up with both parents actively involved in our well being, education and development into adults.

Conceptualized and framed the track during a random get up with Khordz (hardest working man in NYC these days) and then got some (much needed) soul input, revamping, paprika sprinkles and a touch of oregano on the track from my man Trae Sevn (Tracrobats fool!!).

Definitely need to take the time here to send a shout out to the enigmatic and incredibly talented Madd Mary who blesses HMD with her intro vocals. An Intervention is already planned for you Ms. Mary, you are way, waaaaay too skilled not to be out here grinding.

And I really can’t thank you guys (the fans) enough for all the love you’ve shown me for that track. Whenever I get letters/emails/shouts from people (especially outright hardcore Hip-Hop heads) saying they were moved to near tears (or just to call their Moms) by something I put on a page, it really does mean a hell of a lot.

Real serendipity also accounts for me running into a cat who has since become my “main mix dude” (Noble Sense) during one of my morning trips to a Starbuck over in Greenpoint. It’s all about how some dude randomly hears you talking to a co-worker and sets it off by asking “Do you do stuff?” Big thanks cousin for adding, subtracting, hemming and basically handling all that behind the scenes musical tailoring that my mind is way too cluttered to focus on these days. And more importantly, for handling it all with vigor and enthusiasm.

Same goes for one of the more recent friends to the room; Steve Sperry, who I’ve yet to officially meet and break bread with but is responsible for the magic that is Return of the Classic. I’ll tell yall the full story behind that at a later date but suffice it to say I look forward to hearing the mixtape and working together more in the future dude. And I’m using you as a bit of a catalyst to organize a Little Egypt reup of sorts…I’ll keep you posted – you keep those tracks coming fam.

Shouts also to Wordsworth (a fellow long timer) – not only for blessing the album with bars but for the constant pep talk and words of wisdom (I know, horrible, unintentional pun…). I mean it when I say you dudes are crazy inspiration for a brother.

And big thanks go out FERA, PNO, Aliano (we gotta actually meet and break bread one day fam) & my man Seb-El for their short notice contributions reppin all corners of the globe. Much appreciated for real.

Johnny Lindo…for always, always making the artwork jump (did you catch the second shout out yet fam??).

Before I forget, the concept for the album itself gets credited to my Brother Forge who actually came up with the idea of expanding the Mother’s Day song into an entire year’s worth of holiday magic. I know, now I’m sprinkling paprika and oregano around…but real talk, much thanks to you Big Forge and to the unstoppable, highly prolific one, Taajwar the God.

Taaj, my dude. You have no idea how much listening to your joints keeps me on my game making sure my sword stays sharp.

Big things seen on the horizon fellas!!

(Yall have no idea…)

So all that being said, thanks to serendipity, randomness as well as focus and the relentless dedication of people out here that still want to hear/make that Boom Bap, head nodding Hip-Hop filled with lyrics that can only be found in composition notebooks, on napkins and the back of receipts and scraps of paper carried around in non-descript backpacks.

I’ll keep trying to do you all justice.

And to my Wife and A.C.S. – You both continue to be my earthbound Muses and constant sources of inspiration & joy. It always has been and always will be, Love.

Visual Poetics

Thumb - The Calendar

Click to buy

February 16, 2015

Liner Notes: The Crown Heights Affair

I know, nowadays, in general nobody reads liner notes anymore.  and maybe that’s because nobody really buys CDs anymore but I don’t care.  I put actual time and thought into them along with everything else I pen down so I’ll be including my liner notes as they come right here.  And that starts with the old liner notes from Little Egypt’s second full length release:

The Crown Heights Affair – Notes

This project can actually trace its roots back 10 years ago. All the way to the back bedroom in Mom & Pop’s crib that used to double as L.E.’s first recording “studio”. If memory serves me right, we were kicking back admiring the newest, semi-experimental jewel to blow out of the ASR-10 (Ensoniq) and the little Radio Shack speaker that was our only monitor back then.

I hit the crew up with the consummate Hip-Hop lyricist’s plea for approval, “fellas, check this out…” and proceeded to spit 10 quick lines of yet another in the long line of stories I was working out and framing. Usually, nobody but me, the shower curtain and the Most High get to hear lyrics-in-progress but I really wanted to know if I should continue working on this piece (aka I was kinda stuck).

My man Diop (ATL!!!) is the first one that hit me with the consummate NYC Hip-Hop lyricist seal of approval “Yo, that’s kinda hot!!! Where’s the rest?” And then it came to me.

“You guys finish it.”

The rest (depending on whether or not you read liner notes before or after listening to a CD) you know.

I really have to give a lot of credit for the framing of the project as a whole to Diop again as he’s the one who conceived what was going to originally be Part II in our newly formed movie-song saga. It was called “Medina” and its Diop doing his thing. While it didn’t make this project, if you ever do come across it, hope you dig it. Not only is it a jewel in the rough but it’s also Johnny Lindo’s inspiration for the cover (BTW – Thanks Erik, Damian, Emma & Darla).

While I try to love all my “children” equally, I have to concede the third song is my personal favorite. Mostly cause it’s blazing and completely unique conceptually but I also vividly remember the day it was born. I had a track ready and waiting on the VS-880 (Roland) and a concept already started. Brave and Taaj rolled into the crib and we got to work.

I’m guessing only those that have been blessed with the opportunity to build, play sports or those who’ve gone to war with likeminded cats can relate to the special magic of a cypher. We all wrote our parts independently from the others but it was one of those days when I could just look around the room and know where they were going with their “chapters”. Just in the way everything fell into place I could tell they felt it too.

Recording the preliminary version was the usual mayhem. Taaj in the corner juggling one verse across four or five pieces of paper while Brave would drop his piece with that patented start-stop style as he struggled to read the three different verses he’d crammed on half a sheet of loose leaf. This one was a natural.

Since those simpler, humble, hungry days, a lot has changed with the team as it does with all crews. People grow in separate directions and travel different roads as life dictates. ASR-10s, Tascam 8-track recorders, floppy disks and 1200s transform into Reason, Cubase, backup hard drives and 1200s (tell em’ Big Wiz!!!). Skills mature and you find your “spot”.

The other three joints were given life more recently in the new back bedroom of the new crib that has been permanently transformed into our new favorite recording spot, The Crimson Pyramid. It was here that we decided to resurrect the entire project, rerecord outdated takes and finish things up. So you guys get the full gambit. Some of the old and some of the new (for lack of a better cliché).

I promised on the last one to not be so long-winded with the shout outs and such so I tried to bury as many as I could into these liner notes. (All) that being said, much love goes out to all of our family, friends and fans (past, present and future). Thanks for always sticking by us and for making us get back on our grind in the studio and on stage.

Enjoy the adventure!!!

…and Peace from the Planet of Brooklyn!!!