HEIGHT - SELF-TITLED (2000)
BURNING BUSH INTRO
This is me dialing a random phone number and kicking a rhyme. I think this moment captures the exuberance of being a teenage rapper. I was thrilled to be rapping to people, even if they didn’t want to hear it. The woman gets props for staying on the line.
I was inspired by bands like US Maple and Arab on Radar. Their music was harsh and confusing. It wasn’t rewarding in the way I had come to expect music to be, but it added up to something that made feel alive. If I had a mission for this album, it would be to make rap that made me feel the same way.
At this time, I was against telling stories, against having a message and against telling the crowd what to do with their hands. This was my no-wave approach to talking to the party people. “If you know your TV’s on, when you’re outside, make a static noise with your mouth.” During my first solo show, a room full of people actually responded to these commands.
The idea here is that my man Jones has brainwashed me and is making me say crazy things. I struggle to regain control, and we battle for my mind.
I SHOT THE SHIT OUT OF IT feat. Plural
This is the debut of the Plural MC. I had my rap crew on the album, and my older rap brothers, but it seemed that it wouldn’t be complete without having a new, unknown dude making his debut.
AND WE ROCKED IT OUTSIDE feat. Kid Icarus
This is a field recording of a semi-guerrilla performance, done outside Bill’s Music House in Baltimore County. We planned to do one take and leave without being noticed by the Bill’s staff, but we couldn’t find a place to plug in the Tascam 8-track. Our man Rob Girardi, (who ended up helping mix the record) was working at Bill’s that day. He somehow got the okay to run an 100-foot extension cord out from the inside of the building for us. We laid down multiple takes right outside the front door, as people entered and exited. It felt embarrassing and exciting at the same time.
STRING GAME feat. Grand Buffet
I believe this is the oldest Grand Buffet guest appearance that hasn’t been lost to history. As a huge GB fan, that gets me pumped. In my imagination, this collaboration was as monumental as Jay-Z and UGK coming together. I was so excited to do this, and felt lucky that they agreed.
GET AIR IN YOUR LUNGS
I think this one gets to the heart of what I was trying to do.
Contrary to the song title, this is me listing a series of things that had just happened or were happening at that moment… Going on my first tours, getting lost in Pittsburgh, trying to get with these gals. I wasn’t trying to paint a picture or tell a story. I was just trying to say a bunch of things. Jones had done beats before this, but in my opinion, this was the birth of his signature production style.
WAX WAILS feat. MC Dogg
The guest MC here is Isaac Ramos, of Dogg and Pony. Their act was DJ Pony (aka BARR) spinning hip-hop instrumentals while Isaac freestyled without rhyming. Both live and on record, the no-rhyme policy was enforced by a referee, who would ring a bell any time Dogg rhymed two words. To me, they were sort of mocking the lameness and showiness of hip-hop, by revealing that it’s harder to not rhyme than it is to rhyme. Their non-rhyming system led to cool / funny non-sequiturs like the ones he laid down here.
STRAIGHT OUT THE PIPES
I think of this one as the catchy single. (relatively speaking)
STORMY VEINS feat. Wounds
Wounds was becoming less of a rap group and more of a loose collective, but we had hopes of reforming like Voltron. We produced this record as a team. When you took the CD out of the case, the inside panel said WOUNDS FULL-LENGTH - COMING SPRING 2001. That album never occurred and this song ended up being the closest thing there is to a final Wounds posse cut. I think this tune serves as a good, last snapshot of us. I’m glad this song happened.