(Kevin Beacham, Dessa, Eric Lorberer, Adrian Matejka, P.O.S.) Arguments abound over whether rap is or isn't poetry, with some arguing for its literary merit and others saying it shouldn't have to smuggle itself into the critical conversation tucked in the dust jacket of another genre. This group of acclaimed practitioners of hip hop and poetry alike, including Kevin Beacham, Dessa, POS, and Adrian Matejka, will showcase hip hop lyrics and poems and debate about the spaces where literature and hip hop converge.

Published Date: August 19, 2015


Speaker 1 (00:00:03):

Welcome to the A W P Podcast series. This event was recorded at the 2015 A W P conference in Minneapolis. The recording features Kevin Beam Dessa, Eric Lorber, Adrian Matika, and p o s. You'll now hear a w p Board of Trustees member Jill Chrisman and Rain Taxi editor Eric Lobert provide introductions.

Speaker 2 (00:00:34):

Hello everybody. Can you hear me? Yeah, thanks for your patience. My name is Jill Chrisman. I'm on the board of trustees and I'm so happy to have you here in Minneapolis and specifically at this event, which is going to be awesome Literature and hip hop sponsored by Rain Taxi. So I'm housekeeping. So here's what you need to know. Silence the pesky cell phones, right? You can double check right now. If you're a cool kid and you want to be live tweeting or whatever, that's fine, but just do it in a respectful way. Refrain from flash photography during the presentation afterwards, you're going to want to know where to buy the books and CDs. You can do that near the info booth in the main lobby. And then if you want to get things signed, that'll be right outside this room. But be sure to give the performers about 15 minutes to get to the table so you can make a line out there and they will be there as soon as they can waiting to meet you. So without further ado, have a great time and I would like to welcome the real introducer, Eric Lorber, editor of the Rain Taxi Review of Books. Thanks so much, Eric.

Speaker 3 (00:01:49):

Thank you all for coming. Nice to see a good crowd here. I'm Eric Lorber from Rain Taxi. This is Scott Parker, a k a, the Synthesis. How come I don't have a rap name? Scott got to work on that. We're really delighted to be presenting this investigation today. I hope you caught that this is not a panel, this is not a performance. This is something a little different. We hope if you already know about Rain Taxi, I'm glad. Welcome back to a w p. If you don't, please get to know us. We're at Booth 7 0 1 here in the book fair, and we've got all sorts of good stuff, including good stuff by today's people here. So without further ado, I want to bring out my team of investigators. First up, an astonishing poet, author of Devil's Garden, mixology and The Big Smoke. He's won many awards, he deserves 'em all. Adrian Matika, one of the impresarios behind the Rhymesayers label. Rhymesayers is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, just like rain taxis. So we congratulate them. Also a great DJ and a fantastic documentarian of all things Hip hop. Kevin Beacham writer and mc, she is well, she's, she's a rain taxi author for one thing. I'm awfully proud of that. Her chatbook is a pound of steam. Her solo albums include Parts of Speech and she's a member of the Doomtree Collective Dessa

Speaker 3 (00:03:57):

And one of the most Titanic talents in hip hop p o s. We're going to try to get in the mood by starting this investigation with an invocation by Adrian Matika.

Speaker 4 (00:04:24):

Peace everybody. Can you hear me? I can hear me. This is a poem called Beatboxing that's in the Breakbeat Poet's anthology play into the Home Crowd baby. It's dedicated to my guy c Lux, who was the other half of the rap group I was in in 1985, called The Two Fresh Mcss

Speaker 4 (00:04:49):

Beatboxing for Sea Lux. That day the Breakers started trying to break and somebody broke the radio while snatching a grocery sack from an old lady. That day. The old lady's paper sack broke and Granny Smith's and dry noodles spilled on the street like words bottling a drunks freestyle. Somebody laughed so hard at made a backbeat that laugh loaned muscle. Instead of bringing the knuckle like a beat on a lunchroom table, that beat came that beat huffed like a mad circle of knuckle ups. The wrappers wrapped when that cough huffed up, the breakers broke. When that gruff grumble versed up, it breathed the deep like somebody else's crushing dact tillek and huffed exter where the hand clap should be that breathing beat sied gunshots into a kle dialectic indeed empty grocery sack between hand claps, old ladies wig tilted between back slaps out of breath, this beast rested like a lone shark on Thursday waiting for a Friday payday. Nobody breathed that this beat made metronomes from breaths. The old lady went inside and nobody breathed as a green apple rolled to a bruising stop the last beatless day in our neighborhood ever. The last circle of box bends before cops siren the block like it was Odysseus.

Speaker 3 (00:06:14):

All right, thank you Adrian. We're going to come back to some of those huff diameters a little bit later. I want to start off with a question for Kevin. As part of the Minneapolis scene here, I'm one of the people who knows about and is getting super excited about a book you're working on, microphone mathematics, which is going to be really awesome. So as far as I know, there's no one who knows more about this shit than you do. Tell us about the roots of hip hop, lyricism,

Speaker 5 (00:06:44):

Lyricism. Well, I think there's one of those things that there's a lot of different entry points you can look at when you talk about that because one of the challenges with hip hop history is how early on a lot of it was documented people outside the culture rather than inside the culture. So a lot of things that got popularized and became the story were not necessarily the things that were meant to be the story. So it is been years and years of going back and people on the inside who were the pioneers and true creators rewriting that story to tell it from their side. So by that, I mean a lot of times you hear people talk about what influenced the mc and hip hop and a lot of things that come up are things that definitely did in some ways, but not always directly.

Speaker 5 (00:07:29):

People make the association that Kool Hurt considered the father of hip hop was from Jamaica, so that must've been, came directly from what they were doing in Jamaica, chatting influence rapping, which it probably did to some degree, but you also have that, where did the chatting come from? People in Jamaica could get low frequency of radio from the East Coast, from Miami and Parts New York. They were hearing soul jocks from the radio who were playing the soul records, who actually influenced the rappers in new. So it's like this circle of things that, and so these different points of what actually influenced the writing. So it's a lot of different things that you can look at many different angles of how that came to be, how we know rap now.

Speaker 3 (00:08:13):

Yeah. Did those influences, as hip hop developed, did they develop with it? I know you've got chapters on some of the tributaries, gangster rap, conscious rap. Are they bringing in different kinds of influences as those develop?

Speaker 5 (00:08:28):

Yeah, I think so. I think that a lot of times and those things particularly that you mentioned, a lot of that is once again, those were labels that got a lot of time labeled from media, like let's call this gangster rap, let's call this conscious rap. And those labels, in some ways they're good at defining things, but there are also problems in other ways. Like one problem for sure, well I guess works both ways, but with conscious rap, you very rarely find someone labeled conscious rap, which is meant to mean positive. That's completely, that's all they do. They have what is that extent? Yeah, they might have very strong political background or maybe they're also very misogynistic or they might have these different contrasts. So I think that labeling someone as a conscious rapper is a very limiting and usually not accurate label. So I think these things did evolve and change over time, but it's really tricky to label those things like label one person or label one kind of hip hop as this thing. It gets dicey.

Speaker 3 (00:09:32):

One of the things I think links hip hop and poetry especially is the sense for a lot of audience that there's a coded language at work. How do you see coded language popping up in hip hop?

Speaker 5 (00:09:44):

Oh, I mean that's what I'm probably the most passionate about. From the moment I first discovered hip hop, it was all about mostly about the words, especially as it went on and on. So I'm always looking to find those coded language and different, there's still things that people who take the time to write, even if it's a basic subject, but find a way to say it a different way. That's what I look for. There's a guy from the West coast Dell, he has a line, he says, find a new way to say whatever's clever. I'm going to say these very basic themes, but find ways to say it that no one has said before to do it. So if you're going to write about anything, the subject, you can do anything, but can you say it different than the person, that same subject than you is what I look for. And you find a lot of that in hip hop if you look for it. For sure.

Speaker 3 (00:10:35):

Yeah. Adrian, do you incur as a poet?

Speaker 4 (00:10:38):

Yeah, no, Kevin, when you were saying that, I was thinking about that coding, right? The whole thing about poetry, at least it makes it difficult for some of us when we first start to read it, is it's encoded with this literary bent and these tropes and these different ideologies that have been passed in Western Lit. And if you know those things, then it all makes sense and it opens itself up on some level. Rap works the same way. There's a different kind of language involved, there's a different kind of set of illusions and frames of reference, and once you have that coding, once you understand those frames of references, it can often open itself up in really gorgeous ways.

Speaker 5 (00:11:13):

Yeah, that's true. That kind of builds on one of the chapters in my book, it's called Understanding Lyricism and it talks about how there's different things that if you don't have certain information about it won't make sense to you. And I can be even like a regional slang or regional dialect. When I was a kid in the early eighties listening to hip hop, I didn't know much about New York. I liked the music. So when they would say certain things, like for example, there's a group called the Crash Crew and their DJs called Daryl C, his name is Daryl, last name Callaway or something like that. But the way they pronounced it in their east coast slang or dialect, something they were saying Daal, they say da. So I thought it was D A L C. So I always called him DJ Daal C. I learned 10 years later when I was corrected on the internet, I was like, oh, I just didn't understand the way they pronounce things in New York. So these things, if you don't know certain regional dialect, I'm like, for me, I don't know a lot about sports, so I miss sports references and rap all the time. I'm like, oh, a name, that must be a sports guy. I don't get that one. So it's stuff like that. So it depends on what you know before you even hear the song, what you'll get out of it. In a lot of cases

Speaker 3 (00:12:26):

In the literary field, we tend to try to solve a lot of this stuff with footnotes. What's the strategy for

Speaker 4 (00:12:34):


Speaker 3 (00:12:35):

Well, we're going to get to that, no doubt. I want to show the audience a slide. Actually, Adrian pointed this awesome infographic out to me and I just want to talk a little bit about word use in Rattlers. Some of you probably know this, we were saying this is probably the infographic of the year, but Adrian, do you want to just tell the folks about this? Well,

Speaker 4 (00:12:56):

I just want to point out how far over to the awesome side the Wu-Tang clan is. So if you look at this, the idea is it's about vocabulary and word usage and it goes from the left to the right. So the left side you use fewer words, the right side, I can't see how pronounced that is up there, but I guess it's up there. So the further to the right, you get over there where you see the Wu and a big cluster that side, the people who are assumed to have the largest vocabularies and most diverse understanding of linguistics based on the setup that this particular person used.

Speaker 3 (00:13:38):

Yeah, I think we have a closeup, right, Scott? There we go. So Shakespeare would be here.

Speaker 4 (00:13:43):

Yeah, see and you see Dooms right there with Shakespeare too. He is right past him, so that's good living right there.

Speaker 6 (00:13:52):

D M X is like,

Speaker 4 (00:13:55):

Yeah, he's all by himself too. That's barking. He's all alone. There's like nobody else over there on that end with him. I thought too short of somebody would be down there.

Speaker 3 (00:14:04):

Alright, did you guys want to chime in on this topic or should we move on?

Speaker 6 (00:14:09):

Well, I mean I think that lyrics and poetry just are essentially the same thing with rap. Not necessarily with all rap and necessarily with all rock music especially, but good stuff to me is like you were saying, you find a way to say something relatable but say it in a way that nobody else has said it before. And that was the first thing that was cool about poetry. That was the first thing to me anyway, that was the first thing that was cool about rap and that's still what's good in good fiction to me, is having somebody explain something as simple as somebody that was a lot of s's, sorry, getting up and leaving a room but saying it in a million different beautiful or horrible or mean or happy or whatever ways. That's the cool part about writing.

Speaker 7 (00:14:59):

My high school years were not very coy and I remember just wait for it and I was reading some rap lyrics without the accompanying audio. My mom was a Shakespearean scholar, so I spent my teenage years hi on marijuana and reading Othello dramatically by myself in the basement and I saw this lyric and I was like, what's a brick of yeee? It's a fucking brick of ye. But in my universe,

Speaker 6 (00:15:35):


Speaker 7 (00:15:35):

Frame of reference was way more Shakespearean than it was cocaine and

Speaker 3 (00:15:42):


Speaker 7 (00:15:42):

So different references, different strokes.

Speaker 3 (00:15:47):

Your home training may have you a leg up on the other folks, but we're going to play a little game. We sort of thought we'd do park talk show, park game show hope. That's okay. We combed through some of our favorite poems, favorite lyrics, favorite rap songs and pulled some verses and took off the names. So we thought we'd just do a couple of rounds here and see if we can just take a guess. So Scott's going to cue 'em up and read 'em and Steph, you're up first. Oh no, that's never going

Speaker 6 (00:16:21):

To work. That's them.

Speaker 8 (00:16:23):

I start to think and then I sink into the paper I was Ink.

Speaker 6 (00:16:31):

That sounds like some classic rap right there. Is that some Rakim Probably. If I was going to get that wrong, Kevin Hamm would be mad at me. I was going to leave the

Speaker 3 (00:16:39):


Speaker 6 (00:16:41):

I'm out to storm.

Speaker 3 (00:16:42):

We don't have sound effects, but he's got it right. Do it up. Next one.

Speaker 8 (00:16:52):

Are we going to say who it was?

Speaker 3 (00:16:54):

He said Rakim, it's Ra Rakim. I know you got Soul's. The song. Yeah. So if we team up. All right, next one's for death.

Speaker 8 (00:17:04):

Never met her before, but I think I like her like a metaphor

Speaker 6 (00:17:10):

That's actually kind of clever. It

Speaker 7 (00:17:11):

Is. It's and met a metaphor, which makes it even more exciting. I'm going to say rap.

Speaker 6 (00:17:18):


Speaker 7 (00:17:18):

Yeah. A song

Speaker 3 (00:17:22):

Rap. Yeah, that's it. All two for two.

Speaker 7 (00:17:25):

That's the answer. Why making that

Speaker 3 (00:17:27):

Face man?

Speaker 6 (00:17:29):

You went above, beyond. Oh, above. Beyond. Oh, it's rapper poetry. I just thought, what rapper are we talking about here?

Speaker 3 (00:17:35):

No, that we're not to. That would be hard actually, but yeah. Lu Psco. Yeah. Next one.

Speaker 6 (00:17:44):

Kevin. Oh boy.

Speaker 8 (00:17:45):

Once the sun along Blade divided what was home. Now

Speaker 3 (00:17:54):

Not rap. I guess this game's easier than I thought. Yeah, give it up. That's a couple of lines by Claudia ranking. So pretty cool. Yeah. Alright,

Speaker 8 (00:18:14):

I walk into a room just as cool as you please. And to a man, the fellows stand or fall down on their knees.

Speaker 3 (00:18:21):

Wow. I think it's wrap. Oh, not wrap. Maya Angelou. I think it's wrap. That's wrap. He's sticking with his answer. Do correct. Like Yeah, I'm going to stick with that. I'm going to stay with wrap. One more wrap. Another wrap. Yeah, I'll do let's All right.

Speaker 8 (00:18:44):

Crack mothers, crack babies and AIDS patients. Youngbloods can't spell, but they could rock you in PlayStation.

Speaker 6 (00:18:52):

Is it that most F song about water?

Speaker 3 (00:18:55):

We can't put anything by p o s apparently. That's right. You

Speaker 6 (00:18:58):

Could probably put some poetry past me.

Speaker 3 (00:19:01):

Yeah, we're going to play this till you lose. All right, Dessa. Okay.

Speaker 8 (00:19:08):

He knows why the ant engineers a gangster's funeral. Garish, imperfectly. Amber,

Speaker 3 (00:19:12):

That's not rap. Let's read a dove. Yeah, just gangster.

Speaker 6 (00:19:17):

I say garish in my

Speaker 3 (00:19:18):

Verses. Teasing. Okay. This is why I go down.

Speaker 8 (00:19:25):

I got this killer up inside of me. I can't talk to my mother, so I talk to my diary.

Speaker 3 (00:19:32):

Wrap. Wrap. Yeah, right. Yeah. I have the answer sheet. Do we all agree it's wrap? Okay. Scarface,

Speaker 8 (00:19:45):

I stand beside him waiting, but he doesn't look up and I squeeze the rod, raise it. His skull splits open.

Speaker 3 (00:19:55):

Is it my turn? Oh yeah, because I only answer rap, but that doesn't seem like rap. No, it's your turn. Yeah, so that's poetry. Yeah, I was trying to figure out who it is. Yeah, I ai, is that how you said that? Also, we don't have indent buttons in rap music. Yeah, it kind of helps, doesn't it? We have a smaller keyboard that was just so the audience could read it. Yeah, I should have said that. Alright, let's do one more round. Come on. I got to see if we can stump stuff.

Speaker 6 (00:20:25):

I'm sure that you can.

Speaker 8 (00:20:27):

I can mingle with the stars and throw a party on Mars. I'm a prisoner locked up behind Xanax bars.

Speaker 6 (00:20:34):

I mean that's got to be wrapped.

Speaker 3 (00:20:37):

Lil Wayne. Lil Wayne,

Speaker 6 (00:20:40):

The sad little Wayne song, the one where he is like, it's hard to be on drugs all the time.

Speaker 8 (00:20:51):

The rage I release on a page is like a demon unleashed in a cage. Rap.

Speaker 3 (00:20:56):

Eminem, you're quick. You just like

Speaker 4 (00:21:00):

My decision.

Speaker 8 (00:21:01):

What you know about my ice flight. Wiggle tell you figure Harajuku thoughts, not rap.

Speaker 3 (00:21:11):

It's wrap. Yeah, I know we might have to go to the judges, but Well, I found it in a poem by Latasha and Nevada Diggs. So did Nikki. But she does sample an awful lot. She quote it. Yeah, we'll have to, we'll have our judges get back to, I was

Speaker 6 (00:21:23):

Thinking Mina

Speaker 4 (00:21:25):

20 for sure.

Speaker 3 (00:21:28):

Alright, and one more for Adrian.

Speaker 8 (00:21:30):

Racism and greed. Keep the people in need from getting what's rightfully theirs. Cheating, stealing, and double dealing as they exploit the people's fears.

Speaker 4 (00:21:39):

That sounds like Gil Scott Heron or something. Yeah, that sounds so I think that that one could be either one. Is it Gil Scott?

Speaker 3 (00:21:46):


Speaker 4 (00:21:46):

I didn't, is that Gil Scott Haring? Is that who it does? Oh, am I supposed to say rapper poetry? I'm like the dimmest bulb up here. I'm like, oh, I trying to figure out is it B is poetry. I mean it's rap music, but it's poetry, right?

Speaker 3 (00:22:00):

Yeah. I actually think you're right. We threw that one in a ringer by the last poets.

Speaker 6 (00:22:09):

That's very

Speaker 3 (00:22:09):


Speaker 4 (00:22:10):

See, so it sounded like I was fronted, but I wasn't.

Speaker 6 (00:22:14):

The last poets are like rappers that only rhyme when they want to.

Speaker 3 (00:22:19):

Well, other poets do that too, right?

Speaker 6 (00:22:23):

But not rappers.

Speaker 3 (00:22:24):

There you

Speaker 6 (00:22:25):

Go. Except for there's, sorry,

Speaker 3 (00:22:28):

Whole other panel. Thanks for playing. I wasn't keeping scores, so I think they all won.

Speaker 4 (00:22:34):

I think we made it so that's got to count.

Speaker 3 (00:22:38):

So the other thing we get into a lot in the poetry game is interpretation. Exegesis. Exegesis.

Speaker 6 (00:22:48):

I like that.

Speaker 3 (00:22:49):

You like

Speaker 6 (00:22:50):

That? I like both pronunciations.

Speaker 3 (00:22:51):

Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, it's funny because the Site Genius, which was Rap genius, was originally Rap Exegesis, but no one could pronounce it, so they changed it to rap. Genius. We've been talking a little bit about Rap Genius because there's some pretty hilarious comments about some of your tunes. We took some screenshots and we're going to invite you to take the mic. You got a monitor there and walk us through some of this stuff.

Speaker 6 (00:23:19):


Speaker 6 (00:23:21):

Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I was going through Rap Genius once just for fun. I hadn't looked at it in forever and I had never looked at my lyrics, so I was going through it. It's amazing, amazing how wrong some of the lyrics are, and it's really easy for me to just go there and be like, Hey, these lyrics are wrong. I'm going to correct this stuff. But there's some really old songs on there where people have, they've pulled their own meaning into words, whether the words are written down wrong, they thought I said something entirely different, whatever they've made out of that, I can't do anything about it. I feel like as an adult rapper, once you write a song and put it out, it's out. It's not yours, it's whatever. So who really listens Precision with a verse draws a crowd is the actual line that's really there. The comment says a commentary on the fact that most people don't understand the meaning behind the words. They're only interested in the rhymes and whether or not it sounds good, that's not what I meant at all. That's cool and that's fine, but I was being way more just bragging, just straight up, just like I am sharp on the page and therefore people will come to my shows.

Speaker 6 (00:24:37):

I feel people can, I can really make stuff work a lot cooler than I intended, is what I'm saying. What do we got next? Oh yeah, this is a great example, but so Happy to be alive is a fragment of four bars and they decided that they're just going to take this one, right? The whole line goes, I'm looking through dirty lenses, but so happy to be alive. That death thinks I would've ruined the vibe. They say, oh, I have a screen right here. Here. P o s rejoices in the tremendous happiness He feels simply by being alive. This happiness remains with him despite looking through dirty lenses, which can be read as a metaphor for the pessimistic worldview one has when depressed. I got a really good way of explaining this. Can you see that these are gray and you can't see through them? That's all I meant is I was actually looking out through my dirty glasses and I am really happy to be alive.

Speaker 9 (00:25:47):


Speaker 6 (00:25:51):

Can't choose to stop us. Bad news, Moroccos. Okay. Can't choose to stop us with some bad news. Barocas, another rat brag pretty solid. No, putting 'em down. They're going to keep going until death. I don't know where that came from. I was thinking if you watch an old gun smoke type show and the bad guys show up on the scene, it's like, that's all I meant by that. Oh no, this one, okay, they only temper is cold probably because they only listed that everything they told we critical kicking thermometers hot. This is a perfect example of somebody who has taken something that I said, we're critical kicking thermometers hot, and it doesn't really make that much sense in the context of a song. It's at the end of the song. I'm rapping really fast. I'm

Speaker 9 (00:26:48):


Speaker 6 (00:26:49):

Trying to sum up everything I've said in this whole song, and this is what this guy has. These lines suggest an interesting relationship between critical thinking and temperament. Those who don't critically think and do what they're told, behave coldly or dispassionately careless about what is happening in the world around them. Those who do not critically think got thermometers hot, which suggests that they're angry, agitated, or energetic. These lines echo the popular phrase. If you're not pissed off, you're not paying attention. I mean, I guess that's honestly most of what he says in that paragraph is true. That's how I think about things, and that's cool. I don't pull that from that line at all, but again, I'm not going to fault somebody. That's what poetry is all about. There might be one more, right?

Speaker 9 (00:27:45):


Speaker 6 (00:27:47):

Thought the culture. Yeah, this one was my favorite one I was going through.

Speaker 6 (00:27:53):

I'm getting Malcolm X in the last line. Yeah, the line before this is looking out the window like Malcolm Super, there's two photos of Malcolm X that people remember, right? One where, and one where he is like, and he is looking out the window and he's got an AK or whatever gun. Yeah, Justin op. This culture was open. They go and doubt him. Again, it's just me being a rapper talking about me, but since the line before it was about Malcolm X, somebody was like, well, him could be Malcolm X from the last line with that interpretation. It's a comment on continuing racism in our culture and the lack of respect frequently shown to Malcolm X as opposed to M L K, which is a great song all by itself and somebody should tackle that shit, but that is not what I'm doing at all. I was making reference to Malcolm X just in the, I don't know the right word to use to explain it, but just giving you the imagery of how that guy, that revolutionary was standing at the window with his gun. That's how I'm feeling right now. And then I moved on to the next line.

Speaker 6 (00:29:00):

This is somebody else's interpretation of the next line, and it's truly better than the one I wrote. Oh, cool. Wagon on him, reference to the wag movement in the Minneapolis underground rap scene. You guys ever heard of that?

Speaker 9 (00:29:17):


Speaker 6 (00:29:18):

All right then. Yeah, but you live here. Yeah, that's exactly what I mean. I just included it. I like this picture a lot and this little kid holding the wag sign,

Speaker 6 (00:29:36):

This is one of my favorite parts about rap. Genius or genius. If you look up any lyrics from song, you're going to find somebody that comes into it. Like this right here is an ad-lib in the song between a chorus and then a louder version of the same chorus. I'm just like, I ain't kidding. I got this brick in my, and then I just keep going. He just breaks it down. I wish that I said this isn't rhetorical flourish. I have the means I am ready to embark on the struggle to over stro this rod this. While sometimes I feel like that's true, I feel like that would be an awesome ad lib in a song. And I feel like I have to say sometime in the middle of a verse, this isn't rhetorical flourish. I mean it y'all and it's hot too. That's it. That's good. It's good. This was actually an inside joke. We were on tour. We all had watched Pootie Tang. It's a movie. In that movie. One guy's always making a point, and then his buddy's always making the exact same point right after like, man, it's hot outside and it's hot too. Right? Direct quote from the movie. I just put that in there because I like the movie Pootie Tang. There might be one more.

Speaker 6 (00:31:01):

Oh, okay, cool. No meals worth mentioning. All unsettling is another way where somebody has taken a line, and this is likely a reference to strange ingredients in the food we eat, whether it's flavor enhancers like M S G, genetically modified livestock produce, all that weird shit is enough to make someone feel sick,

Speaker 6 (00:31:27):

And that's really true, but this is just taken so out of context. The line before this is celebrity fed, no meals worth mentioning, all unsettling. Essentially. I'm commenting in the song, I'm commenting on how a lot of us spend a lot of time obsessing about people we don't know who are cool for reasons we don't really understand, and instead of focusing on our friends and the good life we get from talking to people we actually care about, we'll dive into US weekly or whatever and worry about what those guys are doing. And I find that to be unsettling. If all you're eating is celebrity culture, you're probably not super healthy. But I'm not talking about flavor enhancers or M S G. Again, a song someone should tackle, but I did not with this one.

Speaker 9 (00:32:22):


Speaker 6 (00:32:24):

Oh yeah. We'll just let's skip this. Yeah. Big fish, bigger hooks. Yep. I meant it just like that. Just a line. It's a passing line in the song. Big fish, bigger hooks. What do you think about? I think that's a cool image, this accepted comment that a genius annotated is meaning that the more your tolerance grows, the more you need to feel the thrill. As with many things like drugs, love and fun as per the hook, this is also reference to the hook as part of the music. The bigger you are, the bigger your names will have on your hooks. That's talking about the music industry, which I almost never do in my music. And I don't know, man. I think the ultimate point of talking about this genius and rap genius stuff is the fact that whatever you write after it leaves you. It's just not yours. People can interpret it how they want, and it's so tempting to go to this website and go through 10 years of my music and fix the lyrics, first of all, and then comment on these comments. Actually, this is what I meant, but I kind of feel like that would be taking the fun out of it.

Speaker 9 (00:33:35):

Thank you. That's great. Okay,

Speaker 3 (00:33:40):

So be careful when you analyze poetry, want to talk a little bit about the remix, but in poetry, A little rarer than in rap. It's a form though that my man Adrian knows how to do. Can you lay on us maybe the Doom remix?

Speaker 4 (00:34:03):

Okay, so Kevin Young remixed to Repel Ghosts, and I stole that idea from him. So I'm just, because he's here. He's not in this room, but he's somewhere, so I'm not going to pretend like I made it up. Wait a minute. If he's not in here, I'm going to act like I made it up. Nevermind. Take back what I said. This is a poem called Wheels of Steel, and it's a persona poem in the voice of the turntables, and it's in mixology with a lot of different samples. And I rewrote it just to quote Doom because he's one of my favorite rappers. So wheels of steel, metal face, villain mix. I got me two songs instead of eyes all swollen and blacked out like the day after a lost fight, two chop saws spinning, buzzing the backdrop for wood shop mc bar mitzvah or after set, I read the fine and print and be like, what's the big deal?

Speaker 4 (00:34:51):

I spun wheels of steel with broke wheel. Big wheels said, shined up, rim still spinning while the ride stops. Dubs kind of grind like me in their perpetuity because a little grease always keeps the wheels of spinning, like sitting on 20 threes to keep the squealers grinning, unlike the Wizard of Oz. If Oz was a fish fry in July, call me Master of the Cracked Fingers, one song, spin Forward the other Back to Repeat itself Do. That's the audio daily double. That's the audio Daily baby. I'm the layaway payment on a Ferris wheel. My song's Orbit parking lots and rent parties like the craziest Lady's eyes. Once she finds out her lover, man's already left, she's tripping off the beat kind, dripping off the meat grinder, tripping off the beat, kind of tripping off my song, spinning backwards while the other plays forward, like sugar mixing in to make the grape. My joints are the pinwheels in this parade of moon rocks and up rocks. I'm like, hi there. Y'all play the rear this whole year, my year, this whole year. My year.

Speaker 3 (00:35:54):


Speaker 10 (00:35:58):

Many samples.

Speaker 4 (00:36:01):

I just realized I didn't say how many, that whole thing, like half of it's samples. I should have probably mentioned

Speaker 3 (00:36:05):

That. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I, and you already talked about chiming in on Kevin Young's concept there, but maybe in a way, well, first of all, because I'm also a fan of MF Doom, what draws you to his stuff and how did you choose what to integrate into that poem that you already had written?

Speaker 4 (00:36:28):

Well, it's not exciting to talk about the integration of it. I just was looking for things that would fit the narrative that was already there. But I mean, doom I think is fascinating because all MCs have persona. They all have these onstage personas. Names change the whole thing, but Doom's got eight of them. So he continually is playing with this idea of persona and this idea of the different versions of ourselves. I know Eminem did the same thing with Slim Shady and Marshall Mathers and everyone, but Doom has, but there's doom. There's Victor Vaughn who's doom before that. Then there's King Gira, the intergalactic space monster who comes to destroy rap music. And then there's somebody else too. I'm missing another one. But anyway, there are all these different ones that really interest me in the way that you can change your point of view by changing the persona that's looking at it.

Speaker 3 (00:37:23):

Right? It also kind of seems to connect to the very fact. I mean, we have two people here who are self named. It's a little more common in the rap world than in the poetry world, but it has obviously a historical roots. Do you want to talk? Do you have it? What's your self name? Do you have one?

Speaker 4 (00:37:44):


Speaker 3 (00:37:46):


Speaker 4 (00:37:47):

There's the tough guy that we are going to read this poem, that guy, that guy's name's Stan. No, I'm kidding now. I mean, I think about persona as a creative mechanism feels to me like doomed to the same thing. I mean, he went far out though. He's this guy MF Doom, if you all don't know him, has a mask, a Dr. Doom mask that he wears. He never shows his face. So he embodies the idea of persona, like a character in a movie. And so that to me, to go to that extreme, to find the new kind of language, to find a new point of view and a perspective is what I value in it so much.

Speaker 6 (00:38:24):

He's one of my favorites too, for all kinds of reasons. Lyrically, there aren't too many rappers that I can listen to that don't have choruses in their songs, but still have ultimate replay value because every other thing he says is amazing. That's just me commenting on him and putting all the things that deciding that you're going to be a super villain, putting all the things. Okay, some context. MF Doom is a dude who had a rap career and then it stopped, and then years and years later, he showed up as an old dude in the game with a mask on acting like a villain, like a super villain. And then he talks about how he hates playing shows, talks about he hates rap, hates rappers, just trying to get some money, all this stuff. And then he puts that into practice in real life. I hate playing shows. How can I get paid for this show without playing a show?

Speaker 6 (00:39:21):

I will stage a fight between me and my hype man after we get paid and we'll play like half a song and then we'll just dip out the front because we're in a fist fight. So everybody's pissed because he didn't play the show that he said he's going to play, but in his songs, he's like, I'm not going to play that show. I don&#

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