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… BE ONLY YOU

In my last installment, I mentioned how my initiation year (’06-07) kicked off with nice collaborations with artists who I either reconnected with, or were still cool enough with me to have some kind of bond with. It could be that, or they were still early in their careers and their image of me being the dude who rapped his ass off was still fresh in their heads. I’m guessing that it didn’t hurt that I just made a historic Rap City appearance months before huh?

Anyway, One of these talented folks who I reconnected with is Mr. Lavell “Vell Vegas” Evans. One of the most talented Vocalists I’ve ever heard, I went to middle school with Vegas, and grew accustomed to hearing him croon up and down the halls, trying to pick up girls and even interrupting class with his random singing. You could imagine how glad I was to see that he was still persuing music and following his voice and heart. He even went to school for it, and put me on to a bunch of people who knew a bunch of people who I would come to know later. Talk about networking… I tell you, that Myspace was revolutionary in it’s prime! It’s hard to believe that I have been doing this for 4 years now, grinding, making a name… I have to thank Vell for being one of the first people to believe in me and pull me along with him. I would ride out on those long trips to Rockland County just to sit up and write R&B songs and rap verses with him and a crazy collective of songwriters, instrumentalists, and producers called TopScale Entertainment. Out of those sessions came this song, which I witnessed Vell write with Nick Slay literally in 45 minutes, bridge and everything, as the beat was being tweaked and enhanced. I was more than happy to be apart of it, even though Vell didn’t think it needed a rap verse. It was more of a TopScale decision (Shout outs to Woody, Pierre and Co.!!). Vell later thanked me after he marinated with the song for like a year, and it finally saw the light of day.

So a little after “The Cross” remix dropped that placed me next to Nas on a Tapemasters Inc. Mixtape courtesy of then-producer John Shotti (Another connect made through Vegas, who was a frequent producer for him back then as well), came this song – “Be Only You”. Now my verse is simple sounding, but a little more complex once you really listen. Which is why it’s here in this section today. I think it took all of  us a second to catch some of the slickness. You be the judge.

“I got this girl,

she got that stuff,

she make her man come get it,

(But…)

I got One girl, that I just can’t get rid of.

Am I wrong cause I’m with keisha,

Tamala, Anna and Janae??

I keep a different girl just to occupy my day!

Or maybe I’m addicted to sex like Eric Benet,

Cut my hair off over the stress like Eric Benet.

And got the nerve to call myself getting away…

From the memory,

but the mirror tell me I’m fake!

cause even though now, I heavily date,

I find myself comparing every girl to you – counting every mistake.

So it’s me that got a problem,

cause I still might need and want ya,

so my feeling teeter-totter,

– like a building seated on a…

shaky foundation…

We was on the rocks,

like tequila or some vodka – think we need another shot.

Or should we just leave it alone and move along?

Instead of that tequila – upgrade it to Patron.

And Velli – he should know, cause he hitting them models,

just to keep his mind clear,

then he hitting that bottle!

-And it got him throwin’ up,

got him torn up,

and it’s all cause of this thing,

tryin’a keep thoughts of,

how he lost love, away but something’s missing.

It got him throwin’ up,

got him torn up,

and it’s all cause of this thing…

So if you gettin’ gone,

go on with the gettin’ on,

This a song I wish you was never even mentioned on!”

Hope you learned something…

You can hear this song and download it free on my music page; http://malik-16.bandcamp.com/track/be-only-you