A Peak inside an emcee's notebookGreetings, Lime Nation!

Oh the Summer of music it has been! As suits my soul, it is the season of live music and I’ve gotten to see Phish, Billy Joel, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Playing Dead, and a few others over the past couple months. In addition to dancing in these aisles, I’ve also been hard at work on new JP Lime music for your eager ears. In the previous editions of A Peak Inside an Emcee’s Notebook, I’ve already shared lyric selections from ‘Professa Strange Vol 1Phish, Billy Joel, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Playing Dead’ which is nearly complete and will be making its way to you very soon. I’ve also been working on another musical side project with my friend D+ (aka Dave, to ye mere mortals). D+ is the bass player for a band called A Night on the Sun and a few months ago he reached out about potentially collaborating. He’s played in several groups, though never anything related to Hip Hop, and was eager to try something new. He messenged me rough recordings of a few basslines and I began writing. We had several jam sessions and in between Dave taught himself to compose drum beats on Garage Band. It is certainly an odd dynamic – two people, one live instrument – but I really like the flavor of it.

In an exciting development, we’ll be hitting the studio this Sunday to record our first EP. As a special preview, today we’ll be taking a look inside my notebook at some of the lyrics I’ll be laying down.

We turn first to a song called “The Underground”, a smoky track about the thundering rhythm that bubbles just below our everyday life.

The Underground, verse 1

There’s word in the street
There’s birds in the sea
That sing a simple song
That speaks to me
Of a time and place that may never be
Or may never have been, it’s hard to see
Hard to say
As the sentences decay
Tales past along
Like shadows on the wave of the cave
A marker on a grave
An etching on a stone
Yeah, Stories of the bones
And where they lay

Where the skeletons are buried
There are signs that say
10 There are certain messages that never fade away
‘Neath the sands of time
And the dunes of May

12 [:54] That spring to life from the dust and clay
From the rust and the must
The rubble and the rake
A rhythm coming up
Like a ripple in a lake
rising with a purpose
it bubbles and it breaks
It buzzes and [reverses]
Rips through the wake
Peak below the surface
Where it really lays
Underneath the dirt there’s [a brand new day]
16 So grab a shovel and a spade
Can you dig it?

A whole new bowl of Trix when D+ is set to rip

A whole new bowl of Trix when D+ is set to rip

I find the process of naming a band or other artistic enterprise odd and interesting, like an experiment in esoteric marketing. D+ and I are still nameless (A Band Has No Name), but we’ve thrown around many ideas and some made their way out of contention more quickly than others. We like the idea of something to do with explosion so “Fuse” was an early idea, and if it were not already a delicious beer made by Lord Hobo Brewing Company I also liked “Boom Sauce”. More bizarre ideas like “Halloween in Rome” and the uncomfortably strange “Squiggle” came and went, as did “Joe Friday”, “Jigsaw Jones”, and “The Bandicoot Quartet” (yes, I’m aware there are only 2 of us). With any luck we’ll discover our name in time for the EP’s release.

This next verse is from a song called “Filterless”, possibly my favorite of ours so far. D+ flexes on some funky and varied bass lines while the hook calls for us to “Hit ‘em with that bass and that real Hip Hop!”

Filterless, verse 2

(Now I’m) Standing on the staircase with my hand upon the railing
Trying to catch the sights
And a little understanding
Static on the airwaves
Shoot across the canyon
Like a student driver Studebaker
Stick shift clamoring
I’m taking to this mountain with a nail and a hammer and
An axe for the climb
Jagged rocks and some seraphim
Spitting out this gravel
As I hit the edge of sin
Like a candle in the wind
Stick of dynamite or licorice
suffering like succatash I’m sick of this
Suicide is painless
Like a pseudo acetaminophen
I’m stuck in the middle
Of an adult and a little kid
Up all night
Like the Riddler on Ritolin
Ripping off myself
With some lines I’ve already writ
Looking to the past for the real significance
[Eyes on the prize, open wide] but I’m Hit or miss
No truth coming through but I itch so I give them this
Little bit of cynicism mixed with cannabis
Sentences I’m flipping like an acrobatic syllabist
A whole new bowl of Trix, when D+ is set to rip
And I highly suggest you get in the midst of this

Though it’s obviously early and we’re still chipping away at what our sound is supposed to be, I am enthused by where we’re currently at, somewhere crossed between Rage Against the Machine and The Talking Heads, distilled down to a bassist and lyricist. We’ve gone into this with little in the way of expectation and there is a great freedom in that. Part of the excitement of this kind of early stage is the unknown, the open possibility. Who knows what we’ll become but I know I’m eager to get… whatever we end up calling ourselves in front of an audience. This shit is going to rock.

Today’s last verse comes a song called “Circular Logic”, of which the bass line above is a central part. It (loosely) deals with repeated patterns of thought and features hard-hitting drums and a flanged-out bass.

Circular Logic, verse 1

Give me just a minute
Of your angst and attention
Apoplectic apocalyptic visions
Of a world around us burning
A disturbance in the rhythm
And tell me in a minute
What the fuck is it I’m missing
I’m a puppet on a string
Sitting in the kitchen
Picking at my brain
And tearing out the stitchin’
Set to take the stage in this pantomime/play that I’m living
And show you all the depths of my cranial incision
I’m a maniac maybe
But a maven with a vision
[10] Inter-generation messaging
If I can make ‘em listen
Sitting here and spitting this
It hits me like a sick-a-ness
I pick apart these sentences
A picnic of ridiculous
Impatient and I’m ill
Sick of waiting with a wishing list
Trying to tune ‘em in
And wondering what the station is
[15] From interface to in their face
I innovate the current state
Of hip hop, rock, don’t stop, [we just keep on rolling on]

That’s all for today’s Peak Inside an Emcee’s Notebook. I’ll post some pictures and updates of Sunday’s recording session so be sure to stay connected on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. And the as-yet-unnamed EP from this as-yet-unnamed dynamic duo will be coming your way sooner than you think so stay tuned for information on that and all things Lime right here at #JPLMagazine.

The Underground, outro

There’s a land where the rhythm is the only way
Beneath our feet and beyond our fray
Under the waves and underneath the rubble
(So) Grab your spade and your shovel
Can you dig it?


For more takes on music, culture, politics and more, visit JP Lime Productions.