HEIGHT - I HAVE A GUN (2003)
Produced by Shields, with help from Jones, Mickey Free and Height.
Additional vocals by Zach Poff
Recorded and mixed by Zach Poff
Art by PSO Design
I had read about Andy Kaufman handcuffing himself to a random stranger and throwing away the key, just see what it would be like… This album’s title was my random stranger. The title has nothing to do with the album, outside of this intro.
Baltimore Bump has stood the test of time, in a small way. People still mention this older tune to me.
Despite how oultra-obscure how my first album was, I had a ton of support in putting it out, and I found a tiny pocket of fans / friends that connected with it in a real way. Some of them weren’t shy about telling me that my simple raps-about-rap over cleaner beats like these weren’t the followup they wanted. It didn’t feel great to hear that, but I was confident in our new style, and I knew that going back to the old thing was not an option.
MR AND MRS
This short accapella comes from reading Be Here Now and wondering if certified assholes like Stalin and Hitler would be allowed to get down with Nirvana. It seems like it would make more sense if everyone was invited, but it also seems crazy that they could come.
I had definitely never done a poppy jam like this before… I felt (and still feel) that these Shields beats were so tight that we could go in any direction and it would work.
TIME TO SLAM
This is the first song that consistently went over, in my live sets. It grabbed everyone’s attention wherever I went, and it also made them chuckle and loosen up. I liked having a song that would break the ice and make people listen, but I resented people needing to hear this jokey, wordplay song in order to enjoy a rap set. I grew to hate the song, but now I like it for what it is.
Touring with Grand Buffet had made me a huge Geto Boys fan. My favorite was Willie D. I loved how he would relentlessly tear down anyone, for any reason. Songs like this were influenced by his taking-no-shorts rhymes.
There are some odd choices going on in this one. I was new to writing melodic tunes, and I think it shows. I can’t say this one totally stands on it’s own, but I think it makes sense as a piece of the album’s puzzle.
This (and Time To Slam) were my first ventures into beat-making. I’m using the term beat loosely here… This one is more of a four track experiment / interlude.
Shields had entered a new phase with his beats. His earlier production took tiny samples of all kinds of things and manipulated them beyond recognition. Now he was cutting up loops in simpler ways, so the feel of the beat would mirror the feeling of the original song. It was similar to a early 90’s hip-hop approach, but with 60’s psych-rock samples instead of jazz and R&B.
If you hate, eat a goddamn urinal cake.
This was supposed to be the remix of an unreleased Cex / Mickey Free / Height collab. This version became the version, although the other version had it’s own charm.
WHEEL IT BACK
This is my breakdown of the life of Height, from 11 to 17.
HEIGHT THE SCARY MAN
I’m not sure why this made the cut, but LET’S GO!
THROWING MC’S IN THE TRASH
Throughout high school, I was working on these recordings of clarinet over samples from porn. I never took the idea out of the basement, but I decided to let it live on the last fifteen seconds of this track.
THROWING MC’S IN THE TRASH TWO
Let the record show that Shields rocked this tight loop a full five years before RZA dug it up for his Digi Snacks album. (No disrespect to The God, of course)
This little part seemed to stick out to people. It’s wild that I stop the album to tell you that I’m “feeling bloated, but it’s cool.”
My man B Rich recently suggested that I should rerecord and rerelease the best songs from this album as an EP called I Still Have A Gun. If I ever did that, this one would definitely make the cut. I think it’s one of my tightest tracks from this period, and I’d like to give it a second life.
(HIDDEN TRACK - A SECRET THING)
Jones made this beat. This was the hidden track, because we were afraid of getting sued for this loop. (Yea Right, Mon!)