Archive for the ‘music’ Category


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


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.


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?

…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


Live Philly Hip-Hop Tonight!

November 26, 2007

So I joined a hip-hop/alternative band recently. I’m playing guitar, Dave G is on drums, and DuPont Menage is on the mic with Dave 2 adding backup. We’ve only played together as a group twice now, but tonight will be our first performance out in the wild. Every Monday night, the World Cafe Live hosts a Philly Rising open mic competition sponsored by Discmakers. We’re just playing 2 songs tonight, but it should be a good time. It’s been 2 years since I last performed with a band, and already it feels good to jam again. Dave G’s got good jazz-funk sensibilities on the drums, but knows how to kick up the rock when the time comes. DuPont’s lyrics are smart, creative, and focused. My guitar playing is a little rusty, and I don’t have 5 other instruments and distortion covering up my inadequacies, but it’s sounding good. So if you’re in Philadelphia tonight around 9:00pm, come to the World Cafe Live at 31st and Walnut to hear our groove in Serenading The Culture.

Philly Rising


Dream Rap Drought

November 9, 2007

It’s been quite a while since I posted the last Dream Rap. October turned out to be a pretty crazy month, like needs drugs and shock-treatment crazy. There’s a new addition to the Dream Rapper’s Wild Kingdom in the form of a little pug puppy. Her name is Beatrix Kiddo “The Black Mamba”. Nevertheless, having a puppy eats up a lot of free time, and shoelaces. She’s just starting to sleep through the night, so perhaps I can get back to dreaming and rapping.

Beaatrix Kiddo

Halloween has come and gone. Nature’s taken the cue and finally turned down the thermostat here in the Northeast. We threw a small party at our place, dressed as zombies, and ate a lot of cookies and brain cupcakes. For the office, I went as a Zombie Johnny Cash. I like the idea of going as undead musicians. Next year it’s either Joey Ramone or Freddy Mercury. Now even though October did not yield any new dream raps, I did manage to get some guest vocals recorded for an old rap that’s been in the works since the beginning of the project. I should be able to finish it up and post it in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

Zombie Johnny Cash


Unicycle Rap inspires other one-wheeled rappers

September 11, 2007

So the last rap that I posted has been my favorite song so far in this project. I like the beat that I worked out, I like the steady flow, and I love unicycling, so the subject matter was something I could definitely get into. To see if it was just me or if the Unicycle Rap could resonate with other unicyclists, I posted it on the forums. It wasn’t long before the other creative and somewhat goofy unicyclists turned it into a mock rap battle. 17-year old UniSteve from Ontario, Canada posted the following rap-battle story between myself (my handle is Booji Boy) and Chexjc:

BoojiBoy and MC Chex were gettin’ ready to fight–
they brought their unis and their posses on this musical night–
Booji started off smooth with some “yeah, yeah, what”
Then the old school MC prepared to kick his butt:
“You need more than smooth lines to rule in this game;
Don’t be dissin’ all my homeboys, cuz that shit is lame.
If you wanna prove your worth, you gotta wait in line;
Pwning [owning] all these posers always takes some time.
OMG BRB, mang, I gotta grab my ride:
My favourite unicycle, name of Wheelius PRIME.”

Booji watched with raw amazement at the wheeled contraption,
Noting well its proper usage through leg contractions.
“Yo, MC Chex, I had a dream about those.
It was a tool of unmatched power for pimping all my hoes.
I’d wear a fancy wig and a purple coat,
Juggle coloured balls on a big parade float.
They came from miles to see me ride,
I was a super big hit when I promoted gay pride.”

MC Chex was impressed with the newcomer’s vision,
But like a jealous rapsurgeon, Chex had to make the first incision.
He told the Booji bout his motto of the thug way:
“Lesson one is RESPECT–for stuff people say.
Lesson two is BALANCE–to keep you standing all day.
The final third lesson is one that needs repeatin’:
In the unicycle world, there’s no such thing as being beaten.
We all live together in a happy uni commune,
Not sipping cognac in our limos selling red balloons.
The true uni life is when you don’t try to impress,
You just hop on up and do your best.”

Even though my character got schooled a bit in the fantasy rap battle, it was delightfully geeky with a nice universal message at the end. Great job UniSteve. Chex and I have worked out our differences and may collaborate on some Uni-themed songs in the future. Click here to follow the rest of the thread.


Dream Rap #4 – Busted (The Unicycle Rap)

August 12, 2007


right-click to save

Well I finally finished a new song. In this dream rap, I’m on my way to a party when something terrible happens.