(Apologies in advance for potentially tooting my own horn)
“Treat my first like my last, and my last like my first…”
In celebration (I think) of one of my newest tracks released from Death of the King, the Daniel Bryan-shoutout-heavy “Do Better,” (lyrics NSFW) and the BIG K.R.I.T.-helmed “Week of K.R.I.T.” I started thinking about my first (recorded and distributed rap) song. Quite frankly, I have only one way to describe it.
It sucked. Hard.
Many artists, they will hold that first song in such a high regard, even if it was horrible? Me, being the perfectionist I am. I used to pray night and day that I could forget that first song. It was a simple enough sort of thing. At 15 or 16, I decided to start rapping after doing the singing thing for a while (gaining and losing deals in the process for a myriad of reasons). I had a crush on a girl by the name of Treeka (yes, the Treeka mentioned in, and shares a name with, my song “#TREEKA”). I wanted to make a song about the whole thing. So, I wrote some gobbledygook lyrics to the “Song Cry” instrumental (See, that Jay quote in the beginning comes back up) and decided to record them.
“I used to liken you Kim to my Eminem…/But we weren’t a couple, not now, not then” is how it started out. And from there, it just descended into a sad sack of 48 bars of wallowing in teenage self-pity of a chick I couldn’t seal the deal with. If you’ve never heard this song, thank your lucky stars. The track was atrocious, but it allowed me a slew of feedback (although breath control still manages to creep in from time to time; I blame my body’s make-up), some internet buzz (back in the early-to-mid-2000s, “emo rap” began to pave the way for the Drakes of the world, as it showed that not every artist had to be “bodying n****z” and all that jazz), and even some buzz. For a split second, I became akin to the William Hung of Internet Hip-Hop.
No disrespect to William, but no one wants to be The William Hung of Anything, even though he made his mark (and kind of trolled music while he existed in it). I wanted to be taken seriously, even if hip-hop wasn’t exactly my career path. So, I took all that advice I’d received and started cranking out songs that were, at the least, vast improvements on “Treeka Song Cry” or whatever-the-heck it was called. One of which, a “tribute song” for my high school’s graduating class over the “Roc Cafe” instrumental, acted as a very unofficial theme for our class (song’s lyrics–specifically the intro–are somewhat NSFW). After that? Well, the rest was history. I became known as “J dot Speed,” then “King Leon,” then (hopefully) finally, Speed on the Beat. If it weren’t for that horrid Treeka-pining song way back in the day, I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today.
Hmmm…maybe I love my first song more than I let on.
As a bonus, check out Big K.R.I.T.’s latest #WeekOfKRIT track “Wolf On Wallstreet” (lyrics are NSFW, but it’s still a VERY solid track; K.R.I.T., in my mind, does no wrong)
Until next time…and I promise I won’t always talk about myself.