Written by Library Helpers Library Helpers
Category: RPM Blogs RPM Blogs
Published: 18 February 2018 18 February 2018
So this is sort of a procrastination blog as I work on more mixdowns. Mixing is one of those things that sometimes takes a little more force in initiating on my part. That said, progress is good and I expect to finish on time.
But what I wanted to talk about today is lyrics.
I've found that I've gotten a little better at lyrics and I have a bit of a story as to how I got to that point.
At some point in the future, my now-unborn children will probably find out that I used to be a Soundcloud rapper. I doubt that will have the meaning it has now then, but it's something I used to do. (& I'm assuming some crazy privacy destroying robots will reveal to them every fact about their dad.)
But I hope they don't cringe as hard as I do admitting it. I wasn't really talking about the things most Soundcloud rappers seem to. I wasn't really fronting like I had money, any sort of success really, & I didn't put on a violent front. I knew those things would be seen through easily. It wasn't really me.
But, I made a greater sin almost, imitating my heros too closely. I got into rap because of a hero of mine; a rapper called milo. He immediately struck me as great when I heard him. He raps about things like existential crisis & growing up not fitting in (he grew up black in Maine, I grew up white in a 98% Hispanic school.) But above all his rap was truly poetry. That's what I liked about it. And having been inspired by other poets like Allen Ginsberg & Bukowkski, I started to rap in that vein. Half copying milo & half copying Ginsberg.
The results were strange and not very appealing to most listeners. My lyrics were sacred to me. My songs were about me specifically. And because of that, I didn't ever invite any listeners in.
It took me a long time to realize this. I'm thankful for having done so. It seems that most of these scoffed-at Soundcloud rappers don't have and will never get the sort of self awareness that turned me away from that. And that's unfortunate. With this RPM challenge blog I've sort of surprised myself at how poppy I can write lyrics. I'm not sure they'll connect with any particular listener.
A man called Ralph Murphy taught me a lot about lyrics. He said that musical artists are ultimately mostly dysfunctional. He said that artists do what any dysfunctional person would do when given a platform; whine, complain, & blame their situation. That struck a chord with me. It was something that definitely turned the mirror on what I had been putting out on Soundcloud. His lectures taught me a lot about how to connect with an audience (a skill I will continue to work on.) But more importantly they taught me why. He taught me a rule that all great songs follow: A song shouldn't be about the person singing it, it should be about the listener.
If you'd like you can check out a Ralph Murphy lecture here. I hope he's as useful a resource to you as he is to me.