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!!!