What changed

A few days ago I wrote a blog post about rapping and lyrics, and I mentioned that when I was younger lyrics never mattered much to me. I would just listen to a song if the instruments or the beat sounded cool, the lyrics didn’t really mean much to me.

In college I had a friend named Luke who was a pretty decent rapper, I honestly should reach out to him and encourage him to write because he was legitimately really good at rapping. His words and messages were also stellar.

But the one thing I always remembered was how he hated jack Johnson. Yes he hates jack Johnson. And he told me why. It was because jack Johnson makes the chords and the song and then finds the words that fit.

Luke worked the other way.

He found the words first, and then made the beat to the message.

I don’t think there is a right or wrong way, but I do understand the difference in the method of writing. And I think it is worthy noting.

I find that I work the jack johnson way. If I hear music then it will stimulate my mind and soul and I will feel an emotion and then I will find words to express how it makes me feel or the memories that it makes me draw on.

And I like it that way.

Sorry Luke, if you are reading this please don’t hate me lol. But I will say that I have made a change since the olden says. The words are extremely important to me now. I can’t do songs that I have messages I find repulsive. And my definition of repulsive is very unique to me lol.

I know it when I see it.

Or hear it. You get the idea. But the song or beat is equally important to me. It all has to come together. I can’t have great lyrics but a crappy beat or the other way around.

I guess that makes me picky.

But again, I am totally fine with that. I just have a higher standard for making a song, and I think that is good. Aim for the stars, because you are going to miss anyways but if you aim high then you get a decent result in the end.

So cheers to everyone out there that writes their own music, it’s certainly a fun experience at the least, whether the sound turns out good or not. But aim for the stars everyone, and make a great song, regardless of which method you use.

Keep Smiling,

Nolan

Sunday Studio Session #2

img_2105

Today marks the second Sunday that TOPSHELF and I got together to make a track in his studio. And man it is a ton of fun but it is also a ton of work. This week we are working on finishing up the song from last week. Tweaking some lyrics, some deliveries, changing the beat, etc. Just cleaning it up and making more of a finished product.

I can say that I know understand what it is like for musicians when they make a song but they have to keep working on it because it isn’t perfect. That is exactly how I feel with my raps and the song write now. I honestly am very proud of what we have done so far, especially with my rapping, because this is the first track I have ever recorded.

Factoring that, I think it is really good.

But I have to remember that this is really the first thing I have ever recorded. And as such, it is not going to be anywhere perfect. It would be absolutely ridiculous to assume that it should be. And also really arrogant too. Namely, that I could just come in and make a rap and make it supposedly perfect without ever doing it before.

Yeah, no. That’s just not how it works.

Just like my twitch stream, my past and current jobs, school, and everything else, it takes time to get any good at what you do. Sure, you might have talent that is obvious when you start out and that it is clear that you can be really stellar at something in the future, but no matter what you need to put in some work.

Nothing happens instantly.

And that is totally okay, but that is just how life goes. Life is all about progression. As long as your craft is improving then that is a good sign. However, if it isn’t getting any better then that might be a cause for worry.

But, I think will keep getting better. In fact, I can already see how much better my raps are this week prior to last. My voice exudes so much more confidence than it did last week so I am quite excited to see where it will be a in a few weeks and then a few months. Especially when it comes to breath control. That is proving to be the hardest part. After you rap a lot of bars I start to get out of breath and then it gets so much harder to finish the track, or even sound good. And on top of that TOPSHELF always wants two takes from me when he records me rap, so after I finish the whole song then I need to do it again.

And I purposely record the whole song in one take. I want to make sure that I can rap the whole song to my twitch show live. Using studio magic is really good at times, but at other times it can be really bad because if I rap all my verses seperately where I have full breath before each verse, it is going to come out perfect and fast on the sound file, but when I perform it for my show or live then I won’t be able to do that.

And fuck that. If I record something I am damn going to make sure I can spit the whole thing live.

And if I can’t do that, then I won’t record it. In my opinion this is where real rap skill is, and if you cheat here, you cannot say you are a good rapper. I would rather not have as crazy raps but be able to say that I am being real then have it the other way around.

After all, rapping is probably one of the, if not the most pre-eminement, music genre that is all about live performance. After all, when you rap you are only using your voice. No instruments necessary etc. So in my opinion, if you want to say you are a really great rapper you should be able to spit live everything you record in the same manner.

With that said, I am extremely excited to see where this all goes. TOPSHELF and I are committed to meeting on Sundays and making a track a week so that we can bring it to not only the stream, but also to SoundCloud. At the very least this stuff will make the show much more fun, but who knows maybe it could get more popular, and if it does then that is just awesome for both of us!

But, we cannot predict the future, so we surely aren’t getting ahead of ourselves, but rather working on having a good time and improving our crafts, me as rapper so I can be a better entertainer for my twitch stream, and he so that he build his resume as a music producer and get his name out there to work with other artists as well.

And this track has really gotten better from last week. It is much more polished. The beat has been tweaked to be harder and as TOPSHELF says,

“more icey.”

Yeah that’s right, icey. (Because we are so cold.)

 

Well, I was originally going to post the track tonight, but in the end we changed some things up and it’s not quite finished. We have a much better track but there are too many things that just aren’t polished enough for me to post the link. But when, I do post it you will be able to listen to it at the Soundcloud below.

Soundcloud.com/countandtopshelf

So sorry! I wanted to have it done today, but that’s just how it goes sometimes. I would like to have posted it, but I would rather wait and then release something that is a bit more polished. I need to practice the new raps so I flow better. There are a few lyrical stumbles in the current track I have so I need to work on those before I’m comfortable posting it.

I will have it by next Sunday though, that is guaranteed. Thanks again for reading.

 

Keep Smiling,

Count

Writing all Day

adult-artist-audio-935959

Today I had a sort of half day at work. Got up, took care of work and then I was get started on the projects I wanted to get on to. And man its time to write.

First, I just finished writing all my thank you letters to my fans as well as addressing their envelopes. So sorry to everyone that it took me this long to get to this. I really was slacking, but now I am back on it. I got a little bit disorganized for a bit there.

Jordan Peterson would be ashamed that I didn’t clean my room for a few days.

So sorry, getting that straightened today.

Now that I have the letters all taken care of I’m moving on to todays blog post. Getting this up right now as you read, and once this is done then I will be on to writing raps until the stream tonight.

Hell, with all the rapping I am doing I wonder if I should start writing a weekly article for the paper or something. I honestly think that I could fit it in, I’m already working in overdrive anyways. Besides, I like having no time to nothing but work.

A busy Nolan is a good Nolan.

I also have a hypothesis about my raps, as to why they have started to get much better, especially my free styling. I think all this writing is getting my brain working on another level and that it is remembering more words than I used to. I really don’t have any other explanation. It isn’t like I suddenly got a lot smarter and read a ton of books or something, I think the usage of more words on the daily has been increasing my brain’s mental bank.

I also think that it could be due to the fact that I listen to intensely to lyrics now whereas in the past I did not. That deserves a blog post in itself. When I was in high school I could care less about lyrics, but now it is almost all I care about. If the lyrics are super trash, I cannot listen to it. Now, by trash this does not exclude party rap or turn up music, just things that I find offensive or wrong: which is a wide variety of which many of you would be surprised to find what is and what is out.

Most likely, it’s not what you all would expect.

It was really funny the other day I was chatting with 80purppp and I told him my favorite lines from his songs and replied,

“you listen so well it’s scary.”

I fucking love that hahaha! And I think it is good to listen intensely to lyrics, especially if you are working on your own raps. You can get so much inspiration and technique from the people that you listen through absorption. When I really think about it, my flows summed up would be a mix of Too Short, Tyga, Big Sean, Pouya, G-Eazy, and most definitely Logic. His rapping has had a huge influence on mine. And it totally happened subconsciously. When I was listening to myself freestyle I thought,

“Oh shit I’m going logic mode right now!”

So I recently I started listening to a lot of Logic to study his rhymes so I could work on mine. And dude I fucking love logic’s new album. It’s an absolute masterpiece. But that is its own blog post.

Another rapper whose flows have snuck into my raps is Jay-Z. And dude, I am cool with that. HOV has such a classic sound. I just hope my sound doesn’t sound like a rip-off lol.

And two rappers I wish I could emulate would be Method Man and Mac Miller. Those two are just simply amazing. R.I.P. Mac.

Well, today’s post is a little short as I have even more writing to do, but tomorrow is going to make up for it because it is Sunday. This means it is not the day of rest, but the day of work when Top Shelf and I get in the studio and make a new track. But it’s the most fun work I do, so it’s like rest. I think God will be pleased.

Especially with the messages, the two of us are working very hard to keep our raps real and not full of bullshit.

Time to get at it and like Logic says GET IT DONE.

 

Keep Smiling,

Nolan

Back to Rapping

agriculture-animal-beef-139399

Today, was a slow day at work, so I ended up getting the day off early. I had a good lunch with Tony and then on the way back I decided to give Tyler a call. The two of us recorded a rap track last week and we hadn’t seen each other since. I was really itching to record and work some more because since that track and it being received well by twitch stream and others I had really gained a lot more confidence with my rapping.

So I stop by Tyler’s and we get to talking and I was saying that I want us to work regularly because I really believe that we can make some cool music and that it could go somewhere. I don’t know where exactly, but I know with both of our talents combined we could at the very least, and this at the least, make some really standout music that my twitch stream would absolutely love and with that it could help my grow in popularity on twitch and then I could use my newer popularity to give Tyler a shoutout and get people to listen to him. And honestly, we could even become more popular and then the success would be right there. But if we had only even modest success, it would still be a great win win for us.

Since we both have so much fun recording, we really have nothing to lose. Only success to gain.

Tyler got at it, created a brand new beat, and then the two of us got to free styling in his studio (AKA THE CLOSET.) And man as always it was fun. After about a half an hour of us rapping we then got out the booth, Tyler exported the file over to my email, and then said that we will meet back up on Sunday. By then I told him I am going to have lots of bars so we can hit the ground running right away in the morning at 10:00.

And I am so excited. Sunday is from now on going to be the day we record. This way we have time to prepare for the song throughout the week and that way we don’t get too overextended. And I said, hey if this stuff starts working then we can just do more! To which he agreed.

So let’s see how 2019 goes everyone, but it looks great to me. I speak some Chinese and I have grown up around many Chinese families; currently I am living with one. If you didn’t know the Chinese calendar every year features one of its Zodiac animals and has its own sorts of horoscopes. This coming year in February (When the Chinese Calendar restarts) will be the year of the Pig.

I say this will be the year of work.

Too bad its not the year of the ox yet. That comes in 2021. But, that will be good too because that year will be another year of work.

That’s what I am about reader. Working. And doing nothing else. Five to Six days a week I have my job at a local storage and moving company, every day I blog, every day I stream, and now every Sunday (the day I always get off from my storage gig) I will be recording raps.

I am wasting no time.

And I am excited about that. I was listening to the new Logic album, Young Sinatra IV today and I was really inspired by it. He raps on it about sacrificing his 20s so that now in his 30s he doesn’t even have to worry about money at all. I love that. He talks about no matter how old or young you are, if you have a dream you need to work for it, you need to chase it, and that you need to get it yourself because no one else is going to give it to you. I love it.

Every word of it.

The last couple Logic albums didn’t particularly move me like his really early stuff and the Incredible True Story did, but this album really got me going. I totally love it. Amazing stuff. I bumped Wu-Tang Forever in the car this morning going to work and I was out the gate with some awesome freestyles that I had never wrote, and never spoke before.

Once I got to work I grabbed a piece of paper out of the printer and I was writing them down. The day culminated with Tyler and I getting in and recording so I have to say thank you to Logic and thank you to Wu-Tang for getting me, and Tyler going.

It feels good to get inspired.

I’m extremely excited for tomorrow as I have the day off from work (so far) and I am going to be writing raps all day. I need to be prepared for Sunday when we get at it, like jackrabbits.

 

Keep Chasing &Keep Smiling,

Nolan