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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mister Master - "Gloves On"

This week's featured rapper is "Mister Master", a 16 year old rapper. You can find the answers to how he writes his rhymes below, and check out the song "Gloves On" at the video above. I just love how much heart this kid put into the song, rough edges around it be damned.
When you start writing rap, do you start with the rhythm or the text (the words themselves)?
1. Rhythm, definitely. When I start a new track, I always start by just babbling, like saying doobity dabada doo, and then trying to find a good rhythm to the notes. At the same time, I am trying to think of words that could go there, but I feel the sound is just as important. I usually start by doing the doobity dabady thing and then filling in words after. The start is always the hardest part though.
How/when do you write your rhymes?

2. All the time. Like ALL the time. Haha. If I'm not dedicating free time in class to just sitting and thinking, I'm always just doing the doobity dabady thing and thinking of things that I could turn into similes and whatever. Especially in school. Being in high school helps 'cause I'm always being hit with new things to learn, and new things to learn means more things I can mention in my lyrics. In ninth grade, when I wrote Gloves On, I had this notebook that I'd whip out whenever I happened to have an idea. Teachers wouldn't care 'cause it just looked like more work. Now I mostly do the same thing but with my phone. I have this app, Colornote that I've been using pretty much since I got my smartphone in the summer between ninth and tenth grade. I'm thankful for lenient teachers who're okay with phones in class.
What musical training do you have?

3. I don't have professional training at all. I just paid attention to rap that I listened to and took it from there. I also dabble in producing sorta. On of the most viewed videos on my channel is a remix of the Andy Griffith theme song. That somehow got traction and people have done songs with the beat. But yeah, I taught that to myself too. Everything I do with music is on Audacity. That means with beats, importing songs, cutting up sections of tracks, layering samples and drums on top of each other, speeding up and slowing down to fit tempo. Whenever I start telling people about beats, I always point to my remix of a song called Broken Brights by Angus Stone. That was completely done in Audacity. Took the longest out of everything I've done, I think. I digress. Point is I taught myself. Haha. I mess around with the piano. I tend to use it more for trying to make up my own songs then learn other people's. I can barely read sheet music. I like singing. I'm huge into the Sinatra type of swing music. But I normally keep my singing in the shower. Haha. People who have heard me sing say I have a good voice. But I haven't gotten the balls to record myself on a track with it. I also try to write actual sing songy songs, which is where both singing and piano come together. Emphasis on try though. I don't think I've ever finished a song completely.

Who's your favorite rapper? Who's your favorite producer? 
4. Picking one favorite is hard. One huge dude for me is this guy Wax on YouTube. When I started writing, I only listened to this subgenre of rap I found called nerdcore hip hop, which is basically rap for nerds by nerds. I stumbled onto Wax and his video 2010 'Til Infinity and it helped cross over from nerd rap to rap as a whole. Since then, I've never stopped listening to him and his music. He's a singer too and that made've played a part in me singing, maybe. Haha. That's the biggest dude for me, I could name so so so many others. When it comes to producers, I like always have to say Premier. I'm huge into boom bap stuff. I also like big stuff, big being the only word I could think to describe it. Haha. Just big. Horn and string samples, loud crunchy drums, that compilation of sounds that turns into a sort of melody. I'm huge into that and Premier is like all about that. I've written to a couple of his beats. Again, could name any others but he's the one that comes to mind.

When you write rhymes, do you always write them to the beat? Or do you write the rhymes, and then try to find a beat to match them?

5. Mix of both. Usually writing for a beat though. That's how it's been, I mean. Now, as I get deeper into high school and free time lessens, it gets harder to just sit down and look for beats. So I usually end up writing and then finding nowadays.
When you put the rhymes and beat together, is that it? Or do you back and forth between the two to make them work better together?

6. For me, I usually one-shotting everything. Like what I write is what goes in, what I record is what goes in the final cut. It's like checkpoints. I work on writing, edit it and then I pretty much pronounce it officially done. Then when I get to recording, I might change a couple words and the tempo because I get a feel for what it's actually gonna sound like with me SAYING it instead of just thinking it. But still. I have my little recording session, record a couple acapellas. And I mean a couple. One song I had, I recorded four one takes of it, like four different recordings of me doing the whole song all the way through. And with those four tracks, I edited them around and made the final track. That's how I usually do it. With stuff that's more complex in recording, like I decide I'm gonna make it more complex in the actual track, multiple tracks and adlibs and all, like one of my newer tracks Don Pianta (self produced, by the way), for example, I do multiple takes. But that's as far as that goes. I just go head on. Something that may be a flaw for me. But that's how I do it.

In your opinion, is rap music, poetry, or both?

7. Both. Especially the way I do it. I'm majorly into English. Not just rap. I write stuff that's specifically meant to be freeform poetry, I take pleasure in writing essays for my English class. Just words fascinate me, they're my favorite things to play with. I feel like a freak 'cause all of my classmates hate essays and I'm always like alright, let's do this. Haha. But yeah. My rap, specifically, is really about both. Adding elements of poetry like the multiple meanings and flowery language and good grammar and syntax and wording things nicely, all of that goes into it. And as much as English in general does, music does. Like I said, I always think of the rhythm first. And it can come from anywhere. I might here a little melody in a song that I find nice to me so I might take inspiration from that. And it definitely comes into play with the beat making. Like with Don Pianta. I made sure to go big on the lyrics and I made sure to go equally big on the beat. They were written separately, by the way. Beat first, then lyrics a while later. But still, musicality and finding a good way to turn the original sample, which is this, if you wanted to know, into something that can work as a beat. Because making a beat specifically for a rap is something else. Which says something about rap and hip hop, that making it means making something FOR HIP HOP and nothing else. Like there's a distinct musical style to it. So short answer, for my music specifically - Oh and that too, that I always refer to it as my MUSIC when I talk about it, I don't say it's my raps. But yeah, short answer, for me, it's both. And they both have an equally powerful role in making the whole the way I want to.

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