MGM3: The 20/40 Experience by the Ma’Gentlemen
New song out. “Leaving in the Morning” produced by Joey Heartattack. Check out Joey Heartattack’s “The Debut” mixtape.
The final song on “Escape” is “Lead Me Home.” This is probably the simplest, most straightforward song on the CD. Honestly, I think that is the reason the mixtape has gotten positive reviews across the board. On previous tapes, I’ve ended with more complex ideas with no resolution at the end. This is the first time I’ve given some acknowledgement of the endpoint. So when people listen to this as the ender, they get that it’s over and they get why it is over. I wasn’t aware of this effect until after the release, but it’s almost like cheating.
This beat was originally supposed to be home to a different, more morose topic, but I’m happy I changed it. That would have gone over heads. Instead, I think “Lead Me Home” wraps up the story while also leaving the explanation for a continuation. In a way, I’m coming to terms with where I’m from. But too much time in the familiar place, old problems, and reoccurring memories caused the crisis in the first place. That was the motivation behind “Felicity.” So if you go from tracks 1 to 16, I thank you for listening to the stories on my CD. But if you allow it to go from 16 back to track 1, you’ll see that it’s a repeating cycle. To always gravitate back to the miserable place that in certain circumstances appears like a safe haven is not healthy. It’ll just lead back to you isolating yourself until you push it away again. There really is no learning from mistakes but there is always an acknowledgement of them. So “Escape,” in a way, is the song that never ends.
One thing I pay attention to is the music in commercials. Oftentimes, I’m sitting with one ear in the headphones and the other listening to the TV. Commercial soundtracks are meant to penetrate the mind and stay there and remind you. That’s the goal for any musician. The beat for “Lead Me Home” was inspired by a song from a Taco Bell commercial. I did a quick search to learn it was by a band called St. Lucia and then I downloaded it. I listened to that song a butt load of times. I didn’t want to sample it but rather come up with my own rendition.
Since I can’t differentiate between guitar sounds, much less play the dang thing, I spent a lot of time looking for a loop that sounded like the St. Lucia song. This involved a disgusting amount of blind downloading and frustrated listening. Luckily the excavation paid off and I cranked out the beat fairly quickly. No regrets, playboy.
Follow me @maxcaster
Download “Escape” for free at Bandcamp
Roy C - A Woman Needs a Whole Lot More
Public Enemy - Rebel Without a Pause (Live)
“All Night” is a cool song to me. The beat is pretty laid back and the lines weave in and out of each other. I can’t say this song had a specific purpose in the spectrum of “Escape,” but I wrote it and liked it and it somehow fit in the track list. To me, this kind of sums up the mission statement of the CD, which is being your own enemy. There are a lot of lines where conflicting ideas lead to self-hindrance.
The beat mashes up a lot of genres. The main sample sounds like some MF Doom loop to me. The drums are super dusty and old school (which is now new school again). The arpeggio gives a more electronic feel. The horns are somewhere between ska and Macklemore. The majority of my music is genre-mashing. I never want to make a beat because it would be true to someone else. There’s no challenge in making something because it’s hot right now. I can go on YouTube and watch a tutorial by some kid using FL Studio making the same beat. Anyone can replicate a sound. Not everyone can make their own sound; the thing they want to make. I do that. My beats can be soft or unorthodox but they’ve never been called bad because they’re genuine.
It took me a while to record the final vocals. I went through a lot of takes for this just for little things. Sometimes my voice would crack or it wouldn’t be in tune the whole way or the energy level would be wrong. I tried standing, sitting, lying back… I don’t know when I knew I had the final cut, but I was happy to stop doing this one. For some reason, I have an obsession with doing long raps in one take just to prove I can. Admittedly, it’s probably better to break things up and edit later, but one of my all-time favorite rappers Phonte said he only does verses in one take and it inspired me. That’s not to say I don’t create portmanteaus of different takes, but I’d prefer to do it in one.
This song is probably one of those great songs to hear done live. Songs like “Nightmares of the Bottom” and “The Food” were proven better live than the studio cuts, so much so that Common used the live version of “The Food” for his “Be” album. Luckily, the hook of “All Night” has a lot of crowd interaction aspects. If I ever wanted to do a live recording for release, this song would be on the set list just because I’d want to hear it.
Follow me @maxcaster
Download the CD "Escape" for free.
Samples: Regina Spektor - Blue Lips