Es-K x Wombaticus Rex = “Math”

Posted Jan 26, 2014

Es-K x Wombaticus Rex - “Math”

...have you ever drawn back and looked at the raw math?
a hundred million hungry children who ALL RAP?
all dope as fuck, every single city blowing up
three generations getting paid off the same stolen drums
forty years running, something outta nothing
the infinite potential of vocals and percussion
expenses and exposure, FedEx printing posters
the ghost with a street team, legend of the loner
edit when I’m sober, fusing my fractions
and proving that music improves with subtraction
dividing my critics who denied me religiously
the angle of my cadence and the science of my symmetry
graph paper flow, tracing golden ratios
algebra is arabic, but crackers claim it’s made in Rome
like your lil’ druggie bro, fronting how he runs the show
we own the whole production though, ran the numbers months ago

it goes 1, 2, 3, 5, eight
life is high stakes, live fire, live bait
it goes 1, 2, 3, 5, eight
educated primates made of sign language

breaking every law that Johannes Kepler ever saw
your fleshy arms are too short to measure God
...feed to reproduce, murder to survive
sleeping by the fire that’s been burning us alive
not the smartest monkeys on the block, but we got rocks and tools
been going crazy making language training dogs with food
...and building monsters just to watch ‘em move
calculation is the name of the game, thought you knew
proof is indisputable, properly composed
the geometry of growth … it’s the logical approach
leverage what you do know, laugh at what you don’t know
Socrates was awfully weak, Pythagoras? dope, though
...years in the making and it’s over in a moment
the engineering of containing the explosion to control it
getting my precision down, perfected a specific sound
didn’t quit and didn’t doubt, building out a business now

it goes 1, 2, 3, 5, eight
thinking sideways keeps your mind straight
it goes 1, 2, 3, 5, eight
educated primates made of sign language, go

Filed in: The Music

The Merry Yuga

Posted Jan 01, 2014

Blessings of Odin to you and yours, folks. Congrats on surviving 2013; that was a fun & challenging level. I’m just writing to let you know that Uncle Hump is still outchea, with 256 finely articulated bones & three senses of humor still fully intact. We’ve also got an absurd amount of new music almost ready for release.

The holiday update is a proud Vermont Yankee tradition—I mean real Yankees, the primate species, not the decommissioned piece of shit nuclear plant downriver. We compose fine, hand-crafted and usually too-detailed accounts of our family triumphs over the past year, and I’ve long suspected the unspoken logic behind tradition is pure Winston Churchill: victors write their own history. Surely, I can’t pretend to aspire to be Churchill—mostly because I cannot afford to actually purchase that much liquor and I’m not racist—but I do respect our traditions here in the Green Mountain State.

I have mostly been hugely fortunate in my short sweet life; that’s no secret.

In 2013, I was mostly inspired by the classy company I had the good sense to keep. The NEKtones had a great year and released a great album, and I wound up rapping on a real live R&B single. There will be stranger turns in the year to come.

The team at World Around had one heck of a year; a real doozy, a hot ticket. Thank you for going crazy over Live from Vermontistan. Thank you for playing your kids Fortune 5000. Thank you for listening and thank you for talking about what we do. It has been a very strange ride for me, Quan and Lou, most especially because we spent the entire year creating our best shit to date, and almost none of it has been released yet. That induces a funny kind of temporal vertigo I can only compare to LSD. I like it, but it does itch.

So, here’s a rough summary of the meat we’ve got hanging up in the back of the shop right now. The past year has probably been the most responsible & successful year of my life, and I accomplished that through constant, ferocious failure. I learned that everything involving art—especially music—takes longer and costs more than you think, and perhaps more than you possibly could think. That said, we’ve been busy little butchers…

1. FDR. In about a week, we’ll be dropping the first song off a project called FDR. Me doing a straight rap project with Godforbid (check out Alaskan Fishermen and That Handsome Devil if you ain’t hip) is nearly a decade overdue; now we’ve got a brutal EP on the way and an album to follow up with later. Production courtesy of the usual suspects, Dr. Quandary and Lou Mackey.

2. Epyllions. Speaking of “Dr. Quandary and Louis Mackey,” though: have you heard this? Fucking amazing. Apparently a work in progress with more tracks to come.

3. EELRIJUE. Have I ever been more proud of an album? I don’t believe so. This next Algorhythms project is a prime example of why we’re slow cooking our records these days—everyone involved from Boston to Burlington has been studying up on sound science and putting an obscene & obsessive amount of time into mixing, editing, sequencing and polishing. Diamonds take time.

4. The Return of the Rex. Finally, I am landed safely in the verdant motherland of Vermont and have grandiose notions of taking over Burlington. Good old Wombaticus Rex will be my primary project for 2014, which we will kick off with two very different EP’s and a barrage of random singles.

5. SQUIDTAPE. This has grown from an in-joke into a hot mess into an actual damn album. Thank you for being patient during that three year growth curve. Thank you for checking in every so often.

We’re lucky to exist. Make the most of what you’ve got.

Filed in: The Music

Ask Hump Jones 2013 | Halloween Movies

Posted Oct 30, 2013

Hump Jones | Bad Advice You Can Trust

One question this time around and I won’t even quote it: basically, I was asked this morning to recommend some fucking awesome horror films. I would definitely like to do that, but first, we should get about thirteen things out of the way.

I am assuming you’ve already seen Cabin in the Woods, Event Horizon, Slither, The Devil’s Backbone, Cube, Intacto, Descent, The Abandoned, Butcher Boy, Jacob’s Ladder, The Cell, Silent Hill and Dead Ringers, right? If not, write those down, too. However, I know that by majority, the few mammals who still check this site are some excessively smooth and cultured motherfuckers who are hip to a lot of great cinema. What follows is exclusively for you.

1. Frankenstein’s Army. I have watched this a lot and really grown to appreciate the fantastic, Kubrick-level, amount of detail work that went into almost every frame of this film. No surprise, since director Richard Raaphorst started with doing art direction and this is his debut as an auteur. In my estimation, the man is a genius and needs to make more movies as soon as possible.

2.  Evil Dead (2013). Since approximately 1988, every film ever released has been accompanied by breathless hype horseshit, so it was hard to take this seriously. I put off watching it for a long time. This lived up to the praise: it is absolutely one of the best horror flicks I’ve ever seen. Sure, they could have cut 20 minutes of character development, but you know how it is: you have to make actors think they’re doing something other than modeling.

3. John Dies at the End. Holy shit, this film was basically made for me. Alternate dimensions, alien intelligence, psychedelic drugs and severed limbs flying in all directions. This is a gleefully unhinged masterpiece I will be re-watching for years to come and, you know, probably making a concept album about at some point.

4. Saturday Morning Mystery. A small story perfectly told, this indie gem is a triumph of tone. It takes a very simple premise—basically a live-action adaptation of Scooby-Doo set in the real world of actual cops, crime and death—and grows into a tightly-wound yarn about the hubris of youth. The highlight of the film is Paul Gordon’s understated work as the most polite cop in the world, definitely the funniest performance I’ve seen this year.

5. The Revenant. A weird convergence: out of all the zombies films I’ve seen so far—which is “most of them”—this was the most realistic & well-written, and also one of the funniest. As a fan of screenplay writing, it weirded me out how funny the film was despite the lack of overt setups: most of what goes on in this film is heart-breaking stuff, and the humor is crammed into tiny moments. The film is a hot mess and 100% worth your time.

6. The Bay. Found footage movies are mostly irritating but this one was plausible and brilliant. The “plausible” part is what makes this such a damn effective horror film, because this could happen anywhere in America next summer. Much like Slither, though, you better have a high tolerance for spectacularly disgusting special effects or you will not survive the second half of this movie.

7. Pontypool. The most creepy film I have ever seen. Most of the scenes in this film consist entirely of spoken dialog with long sustained close ups. Most of the horror in this movie is delivered through the words of actors who never appear onscreen. Just the same, I don’t think I’ve ever been so physically tense and stressed out watching a least since I was way too young to watch The Exorcist. Worth watching a few times.

8. Beyond the Black Rainbow. The first time I watched this I thought it was a hipster music video, sad but true. I wasn’t ready for this. Since then, I’ve seen this film probably fifty times and consider it a masterpiece, which is the second time I have casually tossed that noun at you today. I don’t even know if this is a horror film, but it will give you some lucid nightmares and you need to see it.

Remember, Halloween isn’t about candy, safety and regrettable hookups at theme parties. Halloween is about primal fucking terror and I recommend watching all eight of these films on psychedelic drugs. All these films are also great for little kids.

As always, if you disagree—leave a comment!

Filed in: Dear Humpasaur

Ask Hump Jones 2013 | Rap Nerd Shit

Posted Oct 07, 2013

Hump Jones | Bad Advice You Can Trust

Side Note: If you’ve got time for 5 questions, please consider taking my annual marketing survey, Questions for Sexy People. Thank you billions.

Dr. Phil: “What is the first rap song you ever wrote and did you record it?”

There is a track on the next Wombaticus Rex EP where I come clean on this: my first rap was written as a diss track, aimed at a really awesome and brave kid whose only offense was needing crutches to walk. Well, that and masturbating in class. That really bothered me, too.

It doesn’t change the fact that, like most little kids, I was cute, innocent and a sick vicious monster with knives for teeth once the grown-ups weren’t looking. But I’m serious: I wrote about 20 bars to make fun of this kid and went around the playground for a week rapping with some other little animals. All of whom grew up to be really excellent human beings. Well, except me.

No, it has never been recorded. I still remember it verbatim; it haunts me, no lie. Hopefully I will never get famous enough for my early recordings to actually get passed around—they do exist, though. They are also terrible.

WORLDSTARD: “You know I gotta ask! Lord Jamar. White rappers. What do you think?”

He’s completely right, probably? I wouldn’t know, mostly because I don’t care. Look, I just rap. I am a rapper. I am also a white male from the backwoods of Vermont. I’m like a Liger: I am absurd. If you got Big Daddy Kane, Lord Finesse and Rakim to make a video specifically instructing me to stop rapping, I would chuckle and carry on. I would go home, put on beats, and keep writing bars, just like every other day.

I would say I am more offended at white rappers defending themselves than I am offended by anything Lord Jamar could ever say. If you think he is important enough to warrant a response, then you already lost the argument, no? Being desperate for acceptance is fucking pathetic.

Yeah. Please buy my album. Also, tell me it was good.

Owen Meany: “Why do you release music under so many different names? It makes is hard to know when you are actually collaborating with someone.”

Don’t do it. Thirtyseven, Wombaticus Rex, Algorhythms, Hump Jones, Rodeo Shroud, Coal Trane, Danny Brown—I know, I’ve gone by way too many names. It is a byzantine labyrinth of self-referential in-jokes and I’m sorry.  I would strongly advise any young rapper reading this to find a name you like, picture yourself still rapping with that name at 30 years old, and stick with that, for the rest of your life.

Defend that name tenaciously. If someone else is rapping with that name: troll them into schizophrenia, harass them with lawyers, write them diss tracks every single day. I let Thirtyseven go—to a f’ing Christian Rock band—but at least they were from Texas, so they have that going for themselves.

There are all kinds of colorful characters who want to lay claim to “Algorhythms,” and some of them even hold a legal copyright. Shucks. We’ve got two more albums coming your way, and every passing day makes our prior claim case stronger.

Hump Jones, of course...nobody wants this. Not highly contested real estate, down here at the bottom of the barrel. SQUIDTAPE drops in January 2014, and you know what? There’s more after that. Tons more. I’m also going to keep releasing more (tons more) music as Wombaticus Rex, too.

But you don’t want to hear this shit, right? You want the meat—you want to know “Why,” yeah? So if you want an answer, blame Kool Keith and LSD. That’s as close to an explanation as you’re going to get.

Grasshopper: “I need to write more, I need to improve. Can you give a young rapper advice? How do you stay productive?”

Well, hot damn and hold the presses. Yeah, I have a few savory somethings to say on this subject.

I. First and foremost, you are going to die. Understanding that in the abstract is not enough: you need to know, in your gut, that Death itself is stalking every regular-ass day you will ever have...and you don’t have enough.

II. When you sit down to write, accept that you’re going to trash most of what you’re about to create. It won’t be good enough, but you do need to wander down some wrong turns to get somewhere great. Even most of what you keep will probably wind up going over some other beat.

III. Revise constantly. Your verse could always improve, even after it has been painstakingly assembled from a dozen different notebook pages. Keeping a verse on topic is tricky because your brain will fucking lie to you.

IV. Tend a big garden. Keep tons of projects going, because volume means you’ll always have something new to work on. While I do spend entire days with the same beat on loop, that’s about marinating and entrainment techniques, not a formula for productivity. I find I get the most work done when I change it up every 10 minutes, at least.

V. Put hours in, at a time. Do nothing else. Also: Do lots of other things. Clean your apartment, go for walks, take a shower, make some soup. Spending time drilling beats into the actual tissue of your neocortex is valuable and important, but so is getting your body & blood moving and putting yourself in a position to let the Celestial Radio System speak through you.

Finally, I emphatically, hysterically recommend Andy Hunt’s book “Pragmatic Thinking and Learning,” which is 100% not about writing raps, but 100% applicable. You may also enjoy The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield.

Filed in: Dear Humpasaur

Ask Hump Jones 2013 | Breakup Music

Posted Sep 11, 2013

Hump Jones | Bad Advice You Can Trust

I’m making up names for everyone again. No offense intended, but like our greatest president George W. Bush, once I choose a nickname, not even Turd Blossom can make an appeal.

Bro-Tard: Is anything on Breakup Music real?

Well phrased! “Days Before” was actually written during the aftermath of a breakup and recorded, if memory serves, on Christmas, which was a fucking terrible day.

“Pub Crawl” and “The Nothing” are both pretty trill, too. The cities of Burlington, VT and Springfield, IL make up the bulk of the DNA there.

Actually, now that I chew it over: everything on Breakup Music is real. Even Susie Lucifer. So the answer to your question, therefore, is ”Yes.”

Smart Cookie: “so fuck what I said/ everything, it’s just in my head/ it’s all a joke that I was just too grumpy to get”—What does this line mean exactly in the context of the song? I assumed it to mean that the speaker lied about the sexual abuse he claimed to have received but I’m not sure.

I dig it: this was definitely the most interesting & unexpected question of the batch. I was pretty confused at first, so I went back and re-read those lyrics with an eye towards interpreting everything as being about “sexual abuse” and I can kinda see it. When most of this track was sketched out, I was hanging out a Bennington in the vast VAPA system of black box stages and thinking about things in thespian termths. However, yeah: if I looked at this like it was “Prison Sex” there is a lot of confinement and a lot of vague poetry about dysfunctional parents. It’s there.

I will say that sexual abuse, based on my limited experience and the stories people have trusted me with—as well as actual documentation and statistics, if you’re into that—is a normal part of growing up, here in the United States, and indeed around the world. Personally, I am grateful to have had many awesome parents over the years, none of whom were creeps. I’ve also never had STD’s and I crack mean jokes about that on this album.

As Buckminster Fuller once put it: “I appear to be a verb, and that verb is clearly an asshole.”

Future MBA: Why wasn’t there any advance promotion for Breakup Music?

You mean...aside from releasing two singles from a six-track project and nearly five years of continuously talking about it, right? Aside from that?

It’s true, though: there was no “advance promotion” in the sense of a release date, tracklist & art leaks, and earnest YouTube videos featuring my fabulous chest hair imploring you to buy my shit, bro. None of that happened.

Part is this is because of the great management rotation at World Around: Louis Mackey has taken over the control room. To allow for all the bumps and SNAFUs that inevitably creates, we’ve not doing any deadlines or release dates for 2013. I can say definitively you can expect a new installment of “We Are World Around” on January 1st, 2014.

William Cooper: Was the Labor Day release significant? I was thinking about it and wondered if you were making a statement about the collapse of the American Republic and the continuous assault on our Constitution by enemies foreign and domestic. I know you have done very political rap before and this seemed like a subtle statement.

The project was finished on Labor Day so we just put it up on Bandcamp. I do prefer your theory, however.

There is ample material for anything you want to read into it, but from where I’m sitting—which is a chair being occupied by the guy who wrote the entire album—the entirety of Breakup Music is about the personal apocalypse, not the larger burning wheels of the Kali Yuga Thunderdome. (That’s No Humans Allowed territory.)

LOL WTF: Are any of your friends mad at you for “Funeral Groupies” because I would be pretty mad if one of my friends wrote a song like that about me.

Damn, that is an insightful question! Yes, and in fact, I was recently shot several times by my former best friend over exactly that. It was pretty harsh. I am currently using an iPad in the trauma ward and recovering well. Once I can stand up on my own, I am headed down to Boston to record “Funeral Groupies II: Shots Fired” at Vault 46. The video will be directed by Hype Williams and it will feature guest verses from Riff Raff and Kool Keith.

EELRIJUE Styles: Why didn’t you and Dr. Quandary release Breakup Music as an Algorhythms project?

Mostly because of my shitty, shitty habit of saying “Hump Jones” in pretty much every Hump Jones song that has existed to date. When the first track got done, we knew we wanted to pursue that vibe into something denser, more jazz and more darkness.

In retrospect, that is the part of the movie where white college kids get drunk in a cemetary, or when someone finally starts reading from the Necronomicon. We had no idea how deep and sharp the line we just crossed really was. Plus Potholes was kind enough to write that up real nice, so whalam, we were already public. One of the longest horror films in the history of English language cinema verite resulted in one of the shortest EP’s of my career.

It was worth it, though.

Dominican Friar: What is the meaning of “Look Easy”?

Just a dumb-ass rap song reference, sad to say. Typical Cats. “We make it look easy cuz it is.” I’m hoping you were asking about the title, because there is no way I’m going to explain that song, aside from the fact I really dig the flow pattern I found for that mog. I will probably re-record every song on SQUIDTAPE with it: fair warning.

Bro-Tard II, The Sequel: Is that actually your girls voicemail on that last song?

Fuck and no, my friend. First off, I have been dating “women” for at least 15 years now—try it sometime, and second, I would never do some shit like that. Not that I’m claiming any moral high ground, because instead we’ve got a total stranger who never agreed to be on my album. In fact, it might actually be your girls voicemail...if you ever called her, you’d know. But you don’t.

As always:

Filed in: Dear Humpasaur

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