Hot 16…Or More…”BEYOND THE SKY”

‘Yo, you’re a deep guy’ Are the words that my homie Sol-Leks told me after hearing the first incarnation of this song in his fabled Wet Paint studios. I heard this beat that he made from a sample of Sam Cooke‘s A Change Gon’ Come” a year before and pretty much ignored it until it stayed in my head after hearing it a bunch of other times visiting the lab. It eventually ended up on my computer and I decided to record something over it. I started to play with the words in the sample about elevation and what’s beyond our human visibility. Then I wanted to get metaphysical. The verses were broken down from pondering on space missions and what we really know about what astronauts actually do, to observations on what people do for religion while searching for God and what they believe to be a heaven above the clouds, and finallY, to ghosts based on two recent deaths of one of Sol-Lek’s boys and my homie J.D.‘s boy who lost his daughter.

I put that version on Myspace in 2007 and wasn’t pleased with it. My voice wasn’t right and the verses were wordy and made the heavy subject matter sound even more off-putting by sounding more complex and nerdy than it needed to be. I left it alone until I was about to put out the deluxe version of my Crazy 8’s mixtape. I realized that I didn’t have any guest features and wondered if I wanted to make that a conscious choice in the spirit of the first 8. But I knew I couldn’t attack this song without throwing my boy Moser on it. Mos is a really deep dude and all of our conversations around that time were about seeking truth and conspiracy theories. Since I had upgraded my approach to the song now, I was headed in a more succinct direction and I knew he’d hit a point that I wouldn’t. Plus, with Sol-Leks on the beat and me and Mos on the verses, it was a certified representation of my crew, The Balance – so their presence could be felt on the project.

Mos came up with 2 verses and wound up recording both, but I kept this one because I split my long verse into 2. It was one of my earliest recordings with my GemStars family. He chose to discuss the threat of an impending bill that would allow government intrusion upon what they deem as ‘homegrown terrorism and violent radicalization’ and question the mysticism of the alien/God idea and the Mayan’s predictions of the world’s end. I took this opportunity to question the roots of American racism, the transatlantic slave trade and it’s feasibility and the faulty cause that’s attributed to the AIDS epidemic. In the second verse I go deeper about my wariness over religion, the environment and ancient history. Deep shit. People love it. Even better when I perform it and start off with the actual Sam Cooke song.

Now for the breakdown…

Beyond The Sky

“Still, get on that other shit,

cause they love it when I spit that government,

– I heard the Ku Klux was just set up to keep us fucking with each other over race!

So that sheet over the face…

Ain’t the ONLY cover-up,

it gets,

deeper than a mutha – and can anyone show me a picture of a slaveship??!

Even the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria get depicted in paintings!

While all we ever see is that same shit,

look like a diorama – tied up hands and feet – I wonder how I they lived,

on that transatlantic – hundreds of days spent,

how many slaves DIED up on the way compared to how many made it??!

And nowadays they give us this AIDS bit,

claiming African plainsmen fucking chimps and eating baboon brains man…

I’m all for evolution,

but how we went from being apes, to human beings

-wait!

Who eating apes??!  It’s confusing.

While we feuding over the word nigga – please!!

All the major cities finna drift to sea,

God if you listening…

Intervene…

(‘beyond the sky’)

I mean, lift us please…

(‘beyond the sky’)

Or at least…Send a beam”

(‘beyond the sky’)

 

VERSE 3

 

“It’s safe to say I’m a sinner,

cause your favorite religions,

got too much pagan shit in them,

for me to stay and it’s twisted…

Man made up them sentences

And ain’t it ridiculous homie?

When astrology’s the only thing making sense and it’s all based on the stars….

Exactly what I want to be,

but just the thing that scares me the most when the sky is sitting in front of me!

And since the gold is no longer backing the money – think the Federal Reserve got nerve,

look at your currency (word!)

Word to Number 5,

they just changed the number 5 on the fuckin’ $5 for like the hundredth time

-what’s the signs?!

When they start advertising shit on the moon?

And “going green” is now the cool thing to do…

After all the cancerous plastics and aerosols,

nuclear Arab wars,

smaller countries packing – we attack them,

what we asking for?

I don’t like those hieroglyphics,

undecided if I’m thinking ancient Egyptians was paying alien visits

-Since it’s the writing on the wall,

I been wrong before,

but I’m sure if I even believe in dinosaurs!

Sure it’s a great science of modern lies,

Greek shit on them dollar signs,

on my R. Kelly – I’m really believing I can fly…”

 

Hope you learned something…

 

To hear or download this song, click on the pic of the cover below

Hot 16…Or More…”LIKE ME”

Ahhh 2006. What a crucial year. I first reconnected with my boys Killa and Sol-Leks at the end of ’05 and began this journey as a professional solo rap artist. Sol-Leks had this dope set-up in his room and used to do these preliminary recordings until he got the place that our crew, The Balance, would eventually wind up calling Wet Paint Studios. Between these times, I was reintroduced to Sekwon, who would be up in Sol-Lek’s room and have some of his beats playing. I heard songs that Sol-Leks had recorded over his beats and it always seemed like he had picked all of the good ones to rap over. I had jumped on a Sol-Leks track that Sek had produced, but he wanted me to rap over a few of his beats for myself. I had initially heard a beat he did early on called “La Lupe” and did something over that, but it went nowhere. He used to have this real choppy production style that skipped and was dependent on samples with hi-hats everywhere, so they didn’t really jump out at me. But like every other month, he’d come thru with a new cd of beats. He was real diligent with his. In early 2006, he had brought one of his beat cds and it had this track sampled from a Clint Eastwood movie. Just the fact of where it was sampled from alone made me want to take it. The other thing is that at that point, since not alot of his tracks hit me, I was real excited and I wanted to make sure I claimed it before Sol-Leks could. I took this track and wrote to it almost immediately. I recorded it in Sol-Lek’s room, but I didn’t like the mix. Sek said I did some real 50 Cent-ish type rhyme. I wanted it to be catchy tho. Where as most rappers would’ve tried to make it hardcore, I saw something else in that guitar and whistle run. But I still wanted to show off. So I chose this rhythm that rode the beat perfectly and lead into the hook each time. The first incarnation of it sounded more wordy in the first verse. So the song sat for a year after the Wet Paint era kicked in and the first Crazy 8’s and Moonlighting mixtapes took precedence. I re-wrote it and re-recorded that song about 3 times because Sek lost his original version of the beat. I just wanted to still let it be heard because I knew it was a dope song at the end of the day. Especially since I re-wrote it with more swag. So he finally re-made it correctly and by the time Wet Paint was done and I was recording with my GemStars crew in 2008, it was time for me to re-release the Crazy 8’s as the deluxe version with 8 new songs. I included this final version and it was well worth it. Sek has gone on to become one of my favorite and most reliable go-to producers. He’s come a long way and is a beast behind the boards now with respected rappers getting tracks from him. Watch out for the kid. So here it is…My first real song over a Sekwon beat….

LIKE ME

Verse 1

“Hey!

you can smoke a spliff,

on a cliff, (reference to the opening line borrowed from “Uptown Anthem” by Naughty By Nature)

but the difference with the 6…

Is I really Jump-Off, (Double entendre. The jump-off. Cliff. See?)

Like I’m suicidal with…

What I spit;

This that wrist-slit – quit the life you live,

cause it’s Bleek – but that Memphis,

mean I’m on my Grizz

ly! (alot of people hate when rappers stretch a word to carry it from one sentence to another, but what I did here was made a triple entendre out of the whole suicide, wrist slit Bleek reference and made it connect to the Memphis line which can fit the Bleek and Grizzly references. And it all fit within the diced up rhyme pattern. Hence, the stretching of the word grizzly)

I’m the other kid who’s name contain a hyphen, (feeding off of the Memphis Bleek line, this is an allusion to Jay-Z; the other kid with a hyphen in his name. ha!)

ya’ll just wasn’t cutting it, so I’m bringin’ the knife in.

I’mma write til I can get my girl Canary diamonds,

all about that yellow– you can call her jewelery lightskinned!

But I ain’t colorstruck…

I’m from the westside where they throwin numbers up,

bandanas on their ups! (This was back when the gang culture in NYC was still a little bit new and more lively so the kids would be more outlandish and do stuff like wear bandanas in random places to signify their sets)

But get right, or get doubled up,

cause that sheet come in one color,

– it’s white! when you covered up!

Call for EMT,

round here, niggas eating spoonfuls of TNT…

Don’t let the waves fool you…

Cause Harlem’s known for gettin’ pretty and fly,

but you can check Youtube;

even Loon throwin C’s – you see! (Back then, Loon had beef with Dipset rapper 40 Cal. and appeared on a video clip claiming an L.A. Crip set)

I keep my frequency,

on FM,

for instance’ if a nigga’s hatin – F ’em!

He don’t really wanna see that FN,

unless you throw an A in between it

-then,

we can be best friends! ( because throwing the letter A between F & N would make him a fan – get it? Instead of seeing the FN, which is a gun. Which would be an extreme outcome)

And it ain’t even me to be threatin’,

-but I’m from a zone where the dudes known to toast more than the Best Man

And I don’t mean Taye Diggs,

this is Harlem where they got ’em sayin “A!” and “Ya Dig”! (phrases popularized by Dipset rappers Juelz Santana and Jim Jones at the time)

Spot me at a House Party – ain’t no Play or no Kid,

but still a Class Act, (duh, Kid N Play movie titles from the early 90’s)

-cats act, but they ain’t like him…

(Lord…)”

HOOK

Verse 2

“That’s enough about where I’m from,

let’s get into where I’m goin…

My career’s speeding up!

Your careers’ll be slowing…

Down, like in the dumps!

I dump your stuff where the hole is,

couldn’t find a line if your rhyming came with a clothespin – oh! and…

Before your rhyming hit the store,

shellack that wax, (“wax” is old school slang for an album. It originated in description of the texture of vinyl records)

or you won’t be shining at all!

These rap cats wack…

Waving a 9 in all your songs,

but anh anh anh!

Survey says; you’re lying- you’re wrong

Zero!! (allusion to the game show Family Fued)

Reolad,

Lik is gassed – he know,

my head is too big for my face like, Ne-Yo

I’m So Sick, (Ne-Yo break out song. Also the bridge of a double entendre sequence)

I need some antibiotics,

in my system – jump over fences like your man was bionic

-penisulin…

Couldn’t heal him man,

16 Million Dollar Man,

can’t stop him but,

“we can rebuild him!” (This quote and the ‘jump over fences’ line are allusions to the old TV show The 6 Million Dollar Man a.k.a. the Bionic Man)

From scratch,

but scratch that – it’ll be a minute until then,

I walk up just like the kid who did in Lenon and killed him.

Critics ain’t spoke much,

you ain’t neither,

-it’s thumbs down like Roeper,

and you ain’t Ebert.

But soon as we get these ropes up,

you ain’t leaving,

so what he’s a New Jack?

Leave that New Jack Swingin‘! (Double Entendre like a muthafucka!)

And yeah I know that’s wrong considering Black History,

-but he been talking long…

Consider Black history!!

I’m the shit that means;

simply I’m the shit to me,

your opinion means shit to me,

are you shittin’ me??!

(Lord…)”

Hope you learned something…

To listen to or download this song, click the pic of the mixtape cover below.

Hot 16…Or More… “FRIENDS”

This is a track that I had been wanting to write since the inception of the very first Crazy 8’s mixtape. Don’t ask me why….I just always wanted to flip the “If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)” instrumental and take it back to it’s original sample from Whodini‘s “Friends” and their original subject of discussion. I had Nas‘ version of the beat sitting around for 2 years, then I finally wrote and recorded it. I wanted it to be simple, just like the beat – because let’s be honest, it’s not a crazy mindblowing instrumental or anything. It’s just a casual 80’s hip-hop break with an unassuming thump. What was most important to me was getting my thoughts across about how I felt about friendship in general. I had just experienced some fallbacks and fallouts with some homies involved in music as well as an unecessary confrontation with a jealous boyfriend of a former female associate of mine who I was catching feelings for. This was all pre-Facebook Malik, so I had lost contact with alot of folks and regained contact with more than I’ve ever had at once, all via the Myspace era. It was a great atmosphere for this kind of track to come out. So on the deluxe version of The Crazy 8’s, I gave you

“Friends” (here I’ll share verses 1 and 2)

VERSE 1

“Fuck friends, relationships and everything with it, (A nod to Nas’ opening line on his version of this song)

I think different…

Dj Q45 (as in the dude who hosted Rap City when I appeared on it and told me to take his information down only to never respond when I reached out) witnessed…

How the boy made history (I was the first unsigned rapper ever to get a whole interview and booth time on BET’s fabled and now defunct hip-hop video show)

-simply a born winner at winning things,

but even Q45 switched it!

-an,

Fronted on me like he really in that position,

really, he should feel priveleged that his name gettin’ mentioned!

And that goes for any journalist, with any conviction,

who missed it when I was hitting them to get ’em to listen!

And I know that sound bitter but I did it,

cause I knew if I started off dissin’ – it would get your attention.

Now for today’s lesson – it’s the business of friendship;

this can be the beginning of a beautiful ending.

Cause some friendships is kept, cause what it took…

To maintain it, but the strain that it can start up to put,

is just as bad as if you let it fall apart – need a push!

I learned from experience and Dale Carnegie (the esteemed author of the infamous How To Win Friends And Influence People) books about…

Friends!!”

VERSE 2

“It’s hard for me to say I Love friends,

cause I done fucked friends,

and made enemies out of shorty’s husbands! (I’m using this term loosely and literally)

And I would like to tell you that it never happens often, (key words being “I would like to”)

I just lost a friend because her boyfriend was hawking!

Stalking…

Checking messages, sending threats – but since,

I’m a threat to him – he should’ve took that as a lesson in…

Women,

cause if you don’t attend to them and treat ’em like a gem then,

they gon’ get it from the next nigga who’s willing and…

I do admit I overstepped a bit,

talking all that sex an’ shit,

but it all began with being friends and then

Again…

It goes to show that men and women wasn’t ever meant to just be platonic and that’s the end of it.

So to my friend – Ms. – to the death I miss you,

guess we’ll meet again when that nigga’s your ex,

best of wishes…

My best friend in high school was a girl,

guess your friends are reflections of how you view the world

– We was lames!

Ain’t even know how to scoop a bird

– we became,

grown men, pimpin’ – grew some nerve!

-rearranged,

metamorph us out into the world

people change

That’s why I’m conscious how I use the word; (most important line of the whole track)

Friends!!”

 

Hope you learned something…

 

To listen to or download this track, click the mixtape cover below

Hot 16…Or More…”She’s Ridin In My Hooptie”

Back when I thought I was gonna be a a big deal R&B songwriter circa 2004, I started honing my chops by writing ditties over instrumentals of whatever was hot at the time – mostly Hip-Hop. This lead to the eventual composing of 30 songs over such beats.

I was a fan of the revolution that was going on with the handful of innovative R&B producers who were changing the game by not simply crafting songs with singers belting and riffing their hearts out over some hip-hop sampled beat or knock-off of a hit sound. No, what these new movers and shakers were doing was creating a new sound that was comparable to the Hip-Hop club bangers so much so that rappers began freestyling over those beats, and they were coupling them with clever lyrics and melodies that were more dense and nimble. This wasn’t the new Jack swing era. It wasn’t just singing like a church boy over a remix of  “The Benjamins”, it was a genuine marriage of R&b flair with hip-hop sensibilities.

Unfortunately, from these kinds of movements, the bastardization and microwaving has spawned and given us the rap & b subgenre, full of love songs filled with slang, autotune and singers delivering their verses like rappers. This works 2 ways with me; as a listener, I absolutely HATE hearing this kind of crap from professional R&B singers who call themselves artists. It’s disposable. However, because I am a rapper, I applaud it when I hear rap artists expand their boundaries and make these kinds of songs employing vocals and use of melody. I figure if a rapper is going to sing or get melodic, it should definitely maintain the rap nuances and not sound like a complete crossover into sappy territory.

As a songwriter, I’m less discriminating. Whatever gets the money is my motto. I know, it’s bad if I contribute to the very thing that I despise, but I still wouldn’t do anything cliche, eye-roll inducing or wack. It’s always going to have my style in it. Creativity comes first. And if nothing is truly new under the sun, then I will always find a way to say the same old thing differently.

So out of my seminal batch of 30, I tried the conventional and the conceptual. In the midst of  this came one gem of a song to me that I thought was so dope, I might just keep for myself.

Inspired by the purchase of my first car, I penned a song over the instrumental to 8Ball & MJG‘s “Look At The Grillz” off of an instrumental mixtape that I bought to help write the 30. It was screaming for a concept. It was street, but I could make it clever. I decided to play up on the car angle and make a cute track about love that prevails through struggling times…The struggling times being embodied and exemplified by a broken down old ride. I lost the beat, couldn’t find that version of it again, and after 2 years, decided since nothing was going on with it, I would in fact use it for myself. So I actually went to one of those crazy mixtape sites to re-find that mixtape that I originally got it from and wrote 2 rap verses for it to fill it out and keep it Hip-Hop. I wasn’t sure what my singing voice would be like for the style that I wrote it in, so I wanted to make sure my rap verses were just as present and memorable.

Since it was one of my first recordings in 2006, it became the song that rounded out my first ever project, The Crazy 8’s. It’s one of my most popular and among the favorites from my listeners. Having that said, here’s verses 1 & 2 from

 

“She’s Ridin In My Hooptie”


“(Look at the grillz)

On them hoopties – you see ’em ridin’ past,

feet on the gas brake – they screechin’, speedin’ and ridin’ fast.

Cause they’re embarrassed – don’t want you to see ’em ridin’ that,

they park 10 aves up from where they need – then they ride a cab…

(Why is that??)

Cause a pinto is a pinto, and it’s hard to stay in pimp mode,

when you can’t get out your car, without rolling down the window!

When the dealer gives you lemons, you should make lemonade,

but you can’t pick up no women when your whip is missing paint.

Ain’t no T.V. screens, DVD’s,

Negro please!

You see these things??!

Those (are) called tapes!

You probably don’t know how they look if you were born past ’88!

And my car…

Is older than my nephews and nieces,

I keep a couple things together with a special adhesive…

Called gum,

call uhmm…

Triple A – guess you need it,

when your car ain’t got no hydraulics – but it’s definitely leaning!

Now I’m sittin’ sideways, and I didn’t even mean it,

but as soon as I fix it – you sittin’ right there when I need it

(now sing it).

 

VERSE 2

 

See?

my 4 do’…

car,

is a Toyoooo…

ta,

and I got old…

Parts sittin’ in the back – that need to be attached, cause the truth is,

I don’t knoowww…

Just,

what they’re all fo’,

an’ that’s why I take off slooow…

cause it’s a habit that if I give too much gas, then I know that the brakes gon’ stall…

And I can’t be crashin’,

cause it just happens,

that they made this car waay-waay back when,

they ain’t install and equip no airbags in the dash yet!

My CD player’s hooked to a tape cause I need a beat…

But my gas light come on, so my car cuts off in the street!

And I ain’t complainin’ – it gets me from A to B and I keep it,

But damn, I’m sayin’ man, where’s Xzibit when you need him??

(Or)

Maybe I can fix it myself,

get a whole new system,

cause my speakers only play on the left,

and I need new rims man!

(Hey!)

This’ for my 10 dollar players – puttin’ $6 on the gas,

who save the other $4 for comin’ back later,

cause it gets pretty bad!

(But back to what really matters)

She know it won’t always be,

like this, and my chic is the baddest, because she ridin’ with me!!”

 

Hope you learned something…

Click the Pic of the cover below to listen to and download this track.

 

 

 

Hot 16…Or More…”MY, NAME’s MALIK; I’MMA BLOW!!!”

This month, since it’s the month that begins everything and kicks off the year, I saw it fitting to set the first Hot 16…Or More… of the year off with the verse that kicked off the very first track on my very 1st mixtape, which began everything for me.

Like most of the material on the Crazy 8’s mixtape, I wrote this in the fall of 2003. I was in college and hungry to make my statement. I can still remember being in my homeboy’s dorm room laying this down. I had just finished with my earlier collection of songs from that summer and I was unhappy with the fact that I didn’t attack every song and that I never released it to the campus. So I set out to record a short set of tracks over industry beats to keep up with the rising trend of artists rhyming over whatever was hot at the moment and in order to reach a broader range of my peers. I also figured the low-risk move of rapping over other artist’s stuff was a good way for me to sharpen my skills and test new flows. And that I did.

The kid who’s dorm room I’d be in was a young rapper going by the name of Blaze, who I called myself taking under my wing. I liked his dedication to what he was doing. He made his own recording set-up at his desk and started putting a few sampled  beats together on his own to start pushing an album he began. He was a little younger than me, and because he lived in the same exact room that I had stayed in the year prior, I felt like it was all kismet  and my obligation to be his mentor on all things rap, dorm and girl related. What was funny is that Blaze is one of the most clever and independent young dudes I had encountered, so he never really needed me, tho he kinda took to the apprentice role at times. That relationship played into that dynamic here and there, when he would find himself asking me for advice, or credit me for putting him on to something. Needless to say, I was feeling myself during that time. My status on campus was that of an O.G. at that point, and new kids were looking to make their mark, bumping me out the way ever so slightly while showing respect. Blaze represented that. And because he was nice with it musically and enterprising, he actually inspired me and provided a kind of friendly competition. A little bit more than my usual partner in rhyme, Brandon Carter, because this was closer to home; 2 New York kids with similar rhyme sensibilities. Seeing the little following Blaze was gathering, coupled with the esteem that the younger cats were holding me to, motivated me to exceed whatever reputation I had built, but introduce myself properly since I had never officially released anything. I wanted to kill it on a high energy beat and showcase the flexibility of my flow. I thought Peedi Crakk‘s “Fallback” was a great choice because the pace matched that hunger. It sounded like something crashing in. Plus it wasn’t a beat that I had heard a million rappers over, but it was still current and garnered instant head-nod reaction. I wanted to sound technical but effortless. I wanted to start off A-typically. I wanted to impress new listeners and validate the beliefs of all the folks who had been looking at me as the man.

I wanted to make a statement. And this was it.

As you can see, the response was so good, that I thought it would still be the best possible intro 3 years later when The Crazy 8’s hit the world.

 

“My,

name’s Malik; I’mma Blow,

change the beat – I been so,

pa-tient-ly waiting for,

ways to lead off – I’m so…

Dynamic – you cannot Hammer the flow,

less the nail is in the coffin – the coffin is where you go!

So close the box,

I can go off the top,

I can blow off your top,

have you with your head in your hands – tell you hold your thought…

Better learn how to swim,

or be floatin’ pon de river – like you Elephant Man!

I put the river pon dem,

Niggas thug, til their Lifestyles go POP! Like them little condoms.

But my style stop, all them niggas flossin’,

Like ‘Lights Out!’ Pop! – got it gettin’ all dim…(hmmnnn…)

And I ain’t tryin’a set the mood,

cause half the time, these dudes homosexual

-but no, I don’t gaybash,

I stay grabbing their girls – bring ’em back; now that ho’s mo’ sexual

-aaanndddd…

I think, therefore Iam,

and cause I think about Pussy, niggas think Iam Pussy!

No young,

I’m a kid who thinks out the box,

Mighty Joe Young,

I Gorilla-Pimp out the box – and oh! uhmmm…

Your girl like the fact I write rhymes,

And when I call her crib, she call it the HOT line,

cause I’m good at spittin’ all of them layin’-the-pipe lines,

we did it in the kitchen – I fixed her pipelines!

With a 2 finger movement,

if she got a leak – bring a tool in, to fix the pipes,

I tie her tubes – get a kiss goodnight,

if it’s plumbing, I’m the Super Man! – No Kryptonite.

It’s no spliffs tonight…

cause I do not smoke,

I do not drink…

But I hope…

That ya’ll do not think…

Cause I don’t drink,

and I don’t smoke,

that I won’t put a piece by your throat!

The punishment’ll fit the crime I figure,

cause it’s obvious that Lik is not the grimiest nigga,

In this business of industry thugs,

no Malik isn’t a thug,

Lik ain’t no dealer of drugs,

Liky is ill – just because!

They say the flow is heaven sent,

so if you wanna test him it’s your death an’ I’ll make sure you’re Heaven-sent!

So keep on bringin’ that bull to me,

and you won’t need Red Bull to give you wings!!

 

Hope you learned something.

To heardownload this track, click on the image of the cover below