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Jay-Z isn’t the only one who can rap about babies

January 10, 2012

So Jay-Z and Beyonce had a baby. The new dad wasted no time in releasing a new song with sincere, personal, heartfelt lyrics about his new baby girl. It even has the kid crying at the end. How sweet. Whatever. I’m over it. I have a new baby girl too! I can rap about babies AND play the ukulele. Where’s your uke at Mr. Carter? Consider this a baby-rap throwdown. If Jay-Z doesn’t have a response to this, I’m going to take that as a concession that my rap was better. Enjoy.

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Busted: The Fan-Made Music Video

April 8, 2010

3 years ago, I woke up from a strange dream about Squidward, hackeysack, and Anne Curry with the sudden desire to write and record rap songs about my dreams. The project was mostly just an excuse to break in my new microkorg synthesizer and do something with myself musically after leaving my band in Maine. 3 years later, I’m back doing what I love; playing guitar in a punk band, while my dream rap project has gone dormant. I still put on my DreamRapper hat from time to time to entertain new friends, but it’s basically just stays as another notch on my quirk card. I haven’t posted anything in over a year, the Switchpod service that I was using to host my songs has folded so none of the songs work anymore. The Dream Rapper project was slowly dying.

Then, out of nowhere, someone contacted me and asked if he could make a music video for my song, Busted (The Unicycle Rap). “Of course!” I replied. I was just happy to see someone else take a little inspiration from something silly that I made. A few weeks later when he finally sent me a link to video he made, I couldn’t stop laughing. He did a great job at putting together the visuals of my ridiculous dream story line. Check it out for yourself and give him some love in the comments. Great job!

-Kyle D

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1 1/2 Years Later – Dream Rap #5

February 4, 2009

I started this project in 2007 and quickly had 5 crazy dreams to rap about. The first 4 songs came together fairly quickly, but the last one needed a female vocalist for the chorus. It took me a little while, but I finally got my friend Lairen to work with me. Once that was done, I just had to sit back down and fix one little thing. Wouldn’t you know that it took this procrastinator a year and a half to actually do it. That’s a long time to be sitting on a song that’s less than a minute and 20 seconds long. Oh well. Without further ado, here is Backwards, the 5th and final Dream Rap by Kyle D featuring Lairen Dicroce.

[odeo=http://www.odeo.com/episodes/24043007-Backwards]

right-click to save

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Return of The Dream Rapper?

November 10, 2008

The dream rap project started well over a year ago. It produced 4 or 5 bizarre little raps about the strange scenes that play out in my head while I’m asleep. Since the project, I dabbled in more legit forms of hip-hop by playing guitar in an indie hip-hop band. After that, the dream project went on hiatus. It was not by choice, but by a lack of inspiration. The content of my raps come directly from my dreams, so when there are no fun, memorable dreams to speak of, there are no raps about said dreams. Perhaps it’s the addition of our pug puppy sleeping in our bed that makes me sleep a little lighter. Whatever the cause, no dreams meant no dream raps.

The past couple of nights have marked a return of Kyle D’s wacky dreams. They are decidedly different than the dreams I was having a year ago, mostly because of my newly established interest in professional sports and politics which has found its way into my sub-conscious. It is refreshing and terrifying all at once. Barack Obama insisting that he shake both of my hands after a hockey game one night is followed by Joe Biden getting his head crushed by a strange treadmill cart on the field of a football game the next.

While I’m not sure these two particular dreams will make it into a rap, I am encouraged by the fact that I’m having story-form dreams again and can start working on the next chapter in the Dream Rapper saga. Stay tuned.   -Kyle D

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Auto-tune Rap is Automatic Crap

October 23, 2008

As a straight-edge suburban white guy who just started getting into rap and hip-hop over the past two years, I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do. Now, thanks to Sirius radio, I think I have a pretty good grasp on the current state of hip-hop. I can now pick out artists and songs that I like and dislike, but more importantly, I’m breaking it down and learning what is is about these songs that I like or don’t like. One major pet peeve for me and major trend lately is the use and overuse of auto-tune.

Li’l Wayne is probably the best example of overusing the auto-tune. That’s like his signature sound, and I’m here to tell you that his signature sound is complete shit. Auto-tune has its respectable applications in music recording. When used in moderation, it does exactly what the name implies; it takes your already decent singing and just subtly fixes all the pitch imperfections. Now if you crank it to 11, you get the dramatic electronic voice effect with bubbly steps between notes. It sounded awful when Cher did it back in ’98 and it sounds even worse today.

It’s unfortunate that todays rappers have to resort to gimmicky audio tricks to make themselves stand out. Li’l Wayne, T-pain, even Kanye West is starting to use it. You might not even notice it enough to give a damn, especially when the the effect is applied to the whole song. But take the all-star ensemble track “Swagger Like Us” and it’s easy to pick out the weakest link. I love the M.I.A. sample, I love the verses by Kanye and Jay-Z, but as soon as Li’l wayne starts slurring his way through elctronic auto-tune world, I’m ready to change the station. The reason artists like Jay-Z and Kanye command such respect and staying power is because they have obvious raw talent. They’re more than a catch phrase or gimmick effect. Hearing Kanye’s “Love Lockdown” was a total disappointment. The hook is there, it’s definitely a catchy song and it’s nice that he’s doing some singing as a break from the rapping, but he’s smart enough and talented enough to pull it off without the auto-tune. Instead, he overdoes it and the song is ruined.

I can only hope this is a short-lived trend and we will grow out of it soon. The only good thing I can see is that, with the current hip-hop scene so watered down with terrible music, it will leave room for some truly talented artists to rise up and blow us away. I like what I’m hearing from Lupe Fiasco, and I think eminem is coming back at just the right time. Now we just need a new Outkast album and we’ll be set.

In other news, Matisyahu and Flobots are coming to Philadelphia next week. You might scoff at the orthodox Jewish reggae rapper and the kids behind “Handlebars” after I just ranted about gimmicks, but they’re both amazing. I’m looking forward to some real positive, danceable tunes. If you have not heard Matisyahu’s “Live at Stubb’s” album or Flobots debut “Fight With Tools”, do yourself a favor and start downloading today.

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Can You Pop a Wheelie?

May 22, 2008

I have a new blog for my unicycling team. I’ll try to keep this one focused on music, rap, and original tunes. All the unicycling posts (unless it’s a dream and turns into a dream rap) from here on out will be at teamunicyclemax.wordpress.com. My dad, brother and I are racing against 34 other teams from all over world starting June 16th in Nova Scotia. I started a team blog so you can keep track of your favorite U.S. Unicycling Team as they gear up for a truly epic race. We’ll try to post updates while we’re on the road. Check it out and wish us luck.

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Mixtape Mythology

May 19, 2008

I’ve seen a few blog posts recently about a new site called muxtape. Even my friend mistrust was getting in on the digital mixtape action. I left a comment on one such blog which led to an e-mail from Matt Phillips at the Wall Street Journal, asking questions and continuing the conversation. Of course I didn’t end up reading Matt’s e-mail until a month and a half after he wrote it, so whatever article he was writing is probably old news by now. Nevertheless, after seeing the topic mentioned again on mistrust’s blog, I decided to post my response to Matt. Besides, with all this unicycle training, I haven’t posted about anything music related in a while:

What I loved about mixtapes was the amount of time and dedication it took to piece it together just right. Recording a good one would take hours. I never found it tedious or laborious, it was theraputic. Rarely do we just listen to music these days. With our ipods we can listen to music while riding a bike, working on the computer, washing dishes – it’s become a secondary experience. I think the effort in listening to songs over and over again, fast forward, rewind, how does this song sound after that one, finding the perfect songs with the perfect lyrics and sound to help send your message, it takes a lot of time, and that’s what makes it so important and meaningful. It’s like a gift that’s handmade vs. something storebought.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that 90% of the mixtapes I ever made were for girls, and any that I received myself were also from the opposite sex. Mixtapes were part of the mating ritual. I’ve tried to capture the same ritual with digital music, but burning cd’s has cheapened the whole mixtape experience. We don’t always listen to songs in order anymore. My itunes playlist is always on random. With tapes and vinyl records, you listened to them in order, start to finish, the way the artist intended. Now I don’t know if artists these days even care about that sort of thing anymore, but with mixtapes, I was the artist, and the art was in the order.

I could go on. I’m a bit of an anomaly. I love my ipod and itunes as much as I love my turntable. I buy vinyl records and mp3s and I listen to the radio. I feel dirty when I by a CD, like I’m paying for a cheap one-night stand, a passionate 2 minutes as I rip all the song into my itunes library. Then the CD goes back in its case, back on the shelf, never to be called again.

What do you think of mixtapes then and now?
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…like a wounded animal

April 7, 2008

It’s been a few weeks since my qualifying ride for Ride The Lobster, and my wounds from the heinous crash on day 1 have all healed. I was surprised then to see on the Official Ride The Lobster Blog, a nice funny little post about me and my qualifying ride crash. The blog seems to focus more on the progress of international riders, with countries like Korea putting together internal races of their own to get the 3 best riders in their country to go to Nova Scotia. We’re hardly a USA Dream Team, and I’m probably not even the best rider in Philadelphia, so to be included in a post on a blog that highlights the best of the best around the world is pretty cool.

So we’ve registered as a team and put all of our chips in the middle of the table. All systems are go. Now we just need to focus on getting in shape, getting our gear in shape, and getting the four of us up to Nova Scotia.

In DreamRapper news, I got back together with the band yesterday after taking a month off to focus on moving and unicycling and healing. My hand is still a bit messed up so my guitar playing is a little weak. We’ve got a lot of new songs and we’ll be heading to the studio next weekend, so stay tuned for that. Also, our new apartment has a little more space for my music gear. I should be able to finish up the last of my dream raps soon.

-Kyle D

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Road Rash with a Side of Chips

March 18, 2008

Team Unicycle Max took a beating this past weekend. My dad and I were both riding our 2-day qualifiers and each had a pretty heinous crash. While my shoulder took most of the damage on my spill, my dad described his knee as sounding like a bag of chips. In a third act of cosmic hosery, my brother called to tell me about his emergency room visit and diagnosis of pericarditis, a viral inflammation of the lining of the heart. So while this is something that usually goes away fairly quickly with regular doses of asprin, it does keep the kid off his unicycle with the big race only 89 days away. We’ve all got some healing and recovering to do, but I’m feeling good about it. I still have some numbers to crunch on the 2-day qualifier, but we should all be officially qualified and registered by this weekend.

 unidelphia

So this March has pretty much been the month from hell. Taxes, bills, training, moving…all the worst parts of life decided to get together and have a class reunion this month. I had to tell the band that I couldn’t jam on the weekends this month because too much is going on. Hopefully they don’t bail on me altogether and we can still record some stuff next month. In the meantime, I’m just trying to take it easy, heal, recover, and get ourselves into a new apartment. Stay tuned.

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This is How I Roll

February 4, 2008
New Uni

Check out this new beast of a uni. For all the unicycle gear-heads reading this(all 2 of you) that’s a Nimbus 36″ with Airfoil rim, ISIS splined hub, Magura hydrolic brake, T7 handle bar, and KH street fusion gel saddle. I put a good 15 miles on it over the weekend and shocked many of the locals out walking on the Wayne trail. It looks a lot bigger in person and it’s quite a bit of weight and momentum to control, but I’m doing pretty good. Riding in traffic is going to be a different experience altogether. It’s scary enough on a bicycle, but throw in the slack-jawed what-the-hell-is-that stares from passing motorists, it makes me a little nervous. Not like riding in Maine where you got miles of open roads with no traffic, everything around her is a giant suburban maze of traffic and construction. Maybe I’ll ride out to Amish country to do my qualifier.