Thursday, September 18, 2008
Grime and Loveliness
Sometimes the cold front just rolls down out of the mountains, blows across the channel or swoops down from the skies with no warning. Such is the current case in Europa. When I left Prague last Saturday it was a steady 75 degrees Fahrenheit. As soon as I stepped off the plane in London, I was hit with the 50 degree brick. Not to say that it’s all that cold, but I’ve been rocking the summer wears and mentality for the duration of this trip, so the chilly welcome was a bit of a shocker.
But warmth was quickly found in the form of good company, crazy cyphers and overwhelming hospitality. My mellow Appl Juic had an action packed couple of days lined up, promptly starting with a late night session at the very dope new Hackney spot called Pangea Project, proprieteered by the very dope newlyweds Rosie & Selim. We broke out the looooooong freestyle cypher for the heads, blazing until early morning, or until the Wild Turkey and pints got the best of me. The epic day of travel and spitting found me grateful to bomb out on the cushiony coze of Appl J & Sarah’s Hackney flat. Big ups to DJ Slepton, Deenal, the Pangea staff, Isaac, Ronald and any else one slipping through my memory…
Sunday brought a slightly warmer London day. We set it off proper with a pint and “”Sunday Roast,” which, if you don’t know, is a solid way to steady to Sunday stomach. It was then on to Café Oto to rock the poetry vibes at Watchwords. Juic held down the hosting, I held down the decks. It’s an upstart poetry reading/open mic at this other new spot. We had a nice crowd and some really ill young grime emcees that ripped the freestyle over drums by Eddie. We kept the evening pretty mellow with some neighborhood pints with the Oxford boys. How British…☺
Monday I got hit with a bit of the sniffles. It was cold, drizzly, the market crashed; kind of a slow day all around. AJ and I starting working on a new track, which would eventually morph into ”The Tetris Effect,” the new banger we laid down. We capped off Monday night by watching Aston Villa score a 2-1 victory over household favorite Tottehham. Downer, but being from Buffalo, I was able to empathize with the sports suckery.
Tuesday was just right: we took a long stroll around the East End, from Hackney all the way to Shortage. It was great to meander, philosophize and see some sites. App Juic is truly my brother from another. Not only is he an incredible writer and performance poet, he has also been working in a school a block from his house, straight MS 88 Park Slope style. Walking around the neighborhood, uniformed schoolkids greet him with a “Good day Mr. Appl Juic” or “Hello Sir.” We kicked some corner freestyles for a few young chaps, which was a nice throwback to the BK block.
The walk gave us a chance to really build on the state of the credit-crunched economy, underserved public schools, life in gentrifying regions, youth in public estates, grime, indy Hip Hop, electoral politics, football loyalties, international collabing and The Tetris Effect.
Yes, The Tetris Effect. Wikipedia it for yourself, but basically, the Tetris Effect is a physical/psychological product of playing too much Tetris. As in, seeing block shapes everywhere, unconsciously thinking how real-life shapes fit into one another; really bugged stuff. So this became the topic for our new joint.
Here’s my half of the lyrics (we trade 16 bar verse twice) below. This is gonna be a sick track.
Much love to Appl J and Sarah for putting me up for the stay, to all the venue owners for holding us down and to the good peoples I met along the way. And wait till the NYC schoolkids peep the Grime DVD (“Barcode”) that the Juic hit me off with. Talk about young kids spitting fire, on some straight skills. Woooo…
Back in Praha it is. Kid Lucky, Tah Phrum Duh Bush and Dyalekt touched down yesterday, with Farbeon, Hired Gun and Core Rhythm on the way. We hit national tv this Saturday on the Pavel Andel show, warm up to Hob-n-Nob with a Prague Subway Series or two. But before that I’m heading to Czeski Bujdovice with Philip TBC tomorrow night to rock a Drum and Bass Party! TBC is an original head and basically regarded as the illest d-n-b DJ in the Czech, so this shit is no joke. We have been working on some tracks together and I have been freestyling over so much 150+ bpm beatbox beats that it is prime time to set it off for the dance crowd.
Send some East Coast Indian Summer to Central Europe. We need some sunshine.
Starve a cold, feed a flu,
The Tetris Effect
As the climate changes and the crime is contagious
I maintain and still rely on the kindness of strangers
Lie on the pullout couch and chillout for days
Record raps with Appl J and be jacks of the same trade
While the Union Jack mastheads manufacture blame
Till you think every Hackney schoolkid is packing a blade
All this crap on the brain is a capital gain for the
cackling cash registers with a catheter’s aim
And that’s to redirect the piss and moaning of the brick-toting opponents
Who tip toe towards the moment of overthrowing
I build Brooklyn Bridges like John Roebling
Have charges ready to roll like time zones phones and roaming
Fine combing the grays relaying the layman’s struggle
4000 miles away from the rubble of Lehman Brothers
Among the toppled blocks are stairways to new heights
Maybe it’s just a question of rotating the shapes two rights
Blocks keep dropping
Lines keep locking
Heads keep nodding
That’s the Tetris Effect
Trapped by the habit
Always trying to stack it
Trying not to panic
It’s Tetris Effect
An exercise in lifestyle sacrifice call me Lil Dap
Trying to get my group holmes with scarcely little cash
Carrying a cache of brash statements
Dirty socks Turkish kebabs
And the weight of American hatred
If you thought Marion Barry was scary with cocaine
Then he pales in comparison to Sarah Palin and McCain
The calendar might say we have 44 days
Left until the polls register we voted change
But blowing my brain is the American way
Coupled with arrogance merriment and general disdain
My hope hangs on good faith and the need to prosper
And the time I took to read Obama’s “Dreams From My Father”
And I’ll tell you I’m too cynical to claim he’s apostle
But I’ll be damned if I the vice-president’s a blanking Pentecostal
Speaking in tongues is my job and I’ve been rocking the road
Opening doors wondering if I want to go home