What the FOKSUP? Welcome to Free Oldschool Kyprios Sh*t Unreleased Previously. This is an exorcism or cleaning out the closet of sorts. Over the years a pile of songs have accumulated without a proper home and it’s time to set these orphans adrift. Nothing is mastered, few songs are even mixed but in the age of listening to music on Youtube through computer speakers, who really gives a shit?
Up first is a swinging little piano ditty called ‘My Own Thing.’ This was written by myself, Tawgs and Rich More, during my brief tenure with a major label in 2003 while I was recording my album Say Something. Denise Donlon was the president and Mike Roth was the A+R who signed me. Mike wasn’t from the world of hip hop and didn’t think that I was really either. His idea was for a Kyprios acoustic style album (upright bass, guitar, live drums etc) with songs that could fit onto either pop or rock radio format. Everlast had a hit ‘Might Know What It’s Like’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gZEox8Crwc and I think that this would have been their idea of the ideal instrumentation for me. I was white, I was from the world of rap, I had a deep voice and someone from the U S and A had just done it successfully, so why not do as Canadian art so often does and imitate it?
Tawgs had just produced the Kazzer album (now known as Red Light King) and Mike had paired us up. I immediately loved Tawgs because he had jokes, was an animal and was also a beast in the studio, he could play everything and sing amazingly as well. I knew he wasn’t a hip hop producer but I always loved working with live instrumentation so I was into that.
I think I only ever had a problem with having to define the box I was being in and having to treat music mathematically (formulaically) to keep the label happy. The more they wanted me to be one way, the less I would try to be the way they wanted. I was stubborn, gambled a lot of money that wasn’t mine, and really I was scared and didn’t know what I wanted or what I was at the time musically. I wrote This Is My Hit
during a demo deal I had with the label, just prior to writing ‘My Own Thing’ as kind of a fuck you to the major label process I was enduring at the time. I thought that would have been my walking papers but they loved it, so I in turn began to trust them. I also adored Denise Donlon and had an incredible amount of respect for Mike Roth, and wanted everyone to be happy.
My Own Thing for better or worse was an effort at a radio single. Although it wouldn’t even make the album, it didn’t knock anyone’s socks off at the label either. I was asked to sing on hooks and as much as I loved singing and had already sang on a bunch of my earlier shit, I didn’t like to be asked to do anything with my music. I honestly thought that just by singing a hook, we had ourselves something we could take to radio… hahahahaha, not that easy apparently.
I still love the feel of this tune though. There’s foreshadowing lyrically that really sticks out to me. The first verse I talk about losing the deal (which I did), dancing with the devil and learning his steps (which I have), and feeling like I had already put too many sleeps into this dream to find an alternative (which is now also very true). It’s kind of funny that you can tell I was struggling with what to be, and just hoped against hope that my shit could be universally liked “I want the heads to bump the music and a song my grandma likes.” My grandma was still alive at the time I wrote the tune, I never got to play it for her but I’m pretty sure she would have thought the tune was shite anyways
I did recycle one of my lines from this song a couple years later when I thought it was never coming out. On our third Sweatshop Union record United We Fall, on a song called Hit The Wall I pinched the line “I ain’t the stereotype, I’m just the type of MC your stereo likes.”
I will try to rescue lines or bits of songs I like and place them in later material, you will see that again if you keep playing along.
I also got a quick shout out to a friend of ours who passed away in this song. Our buddy Norik passed and my song Never Say Goodbye
was written with him in my mind. Never Say Goodbye was more of a concept tune so I didn’t shout out Norik and it was also written after My Own Thing which I did think was going to make the album anyway. The homey now officially gets a remembrance on track from me.
Sill trying to think of the pianists name, it’s killing me. Lenny De Rose engineered (beautifully), C-Lap is on the drums, Tawgs on guitar, Enuka Okuma on the backing vocals and Rich Moore is on the upright bass. Catch you in two weeks with another FOKSUP.