Download "Reggie Miller," Super Chron Flight Brothers' Wonder Years-Sampling Stroll Down Rap Nostalgia Lane
Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.
Brooklyn hip-hop boundary-pushers Super Chron Flight Brothers--a.k.a. MCs Billy Woods and Privilege--spit daring, free-associative rhymes reminiscent of vintage Ultramagnetic or first-generation Def Jux, a dusted brain stew of video games, television, and fields of weed. They never met a beat too hazy, and are just as likely to spit over blown-out dubstep as washed-out dream-pop. The third album of the "Super Chron trilogy," Cape Verde (out June 22 via Backwoodz Studios), uses a day watching TV as a way to explore the American experience. Opening track "Reggie Miller" rides by on some powerfully cushiony and suffocating organs, courtesy of NYC-via-Boston producer Willie Green. It's a unique take on the classic "back-in-the-day" nostalgia joints, where SCFB's juxtaposes youthful reflection with the jadedness of old age, feeling like Stakes Is High-era De La Soul in both sound and attitude. Their wonderfully disjointed rhyme style breaks everything into a tangled cloud of rhyme books, paper footballs, mixtapes, sixth grade homeroom, weed and one crushingly powerful Wonder Years sample.
Super Chron Flight Brothers MC Billy Woods on "Reggie Miller"
What is "Reggie Miller" about?
Well, the track is about a lot of things; hustling, regrets, youth, being an artist and weed are among them. But I guess the overarching idea is reminiscing about one's youth and how, as you get older, you get more jaded. It is also nominally about Italy--haha. No, but the opening lines, which is me attempting to pawn my life's work, pretty much sum it up: "Rhyme books, pure gold, greatest stories never told/Pawnshop said 25 beans? Sold!/What can I say, you can't eat soul and it's a fine line between schwag and midgrade/Jail cells and heydays/Classics and stuff that's just old" Like, most of what you think is the shit now will probably just be forgotten down the road. But in the future some shit you never thought was that important will be considered the symbol of that era. It's a fine line.
What inspired it musically?
The beat was actually the first one we selected for the project. It was the first beat we picked from Willie Green and we liked it so much he ended up doing half the beats on the album, with BOND handling the other half. The beat is so rich and textured, it struck me as some testimonial type thing. I guess organs are always good for nostalgia-izing.
What can you tell me about these lush-ass organs?
Not a damn thing but I called Willie Green and he said this: "I am not going to reveal my sample source because the record has a lot more breaks on it but I tend to gravitate towards the organ. It's my favorite instrument." So there you have it.
Your album is written "as a day in front of the television"...
I guess a day spent in front of the television will mostly be judged on the basis of what you are watching and the quality of your spice rack... so to speak. In the case of this album, TV was just a sort of rough framework on which to make an album that was about America, essentially. But really, if you want to know about America, what better way than TV--that's how most of the world absorbs the idea of America. When I was growing up in Zimbabwe we still had G.I. Joe, Cosby Show, all that... So American TV, to an extent, is universal.
Tell me about the Wonder Years sample.
Well, as a song, "Reggie Miller" is kinda like The Wonder Years, in terms of the sentiment and how it fits into the album concept. But of course, I really liked that show--who didn't? I could only really watch TV at certain times anyway, so I pretty much had to roll with what was on in those windows. I did not have a favorite episode but I did have a serious crush on Winnie. It was the bangs.
My editor is dying to know why you called this track "Reggie Miller."
Well, it works on a surface level because when I think of Reggie Miller, the Indiana Pacers guard, I think of the early '90s but really it's a marijuana reference. Reggie Miller is slang for regular weed or schwag--low-grade brick marijuana with seeds. Back in the days, that was what you smoked if you wanted to get high unless you lived in Cali or Vermont or somewhere where people were up on high grade. Back in the day you could have a sack of Reggie Miller, be making cassette tapes, passing some E&J, that would be a fun day. But now, you couldn't get a negro to smoke a Philly full of bush if you paid him, iPod playlists killed the mixtape, nobody sells nicks and, yeah, XO is just perks.
What's the most memorable show you've ever played in New York?
I am a hip-hop fan, not just an artist, so probably opening for the Juggaknots back in like '05, when they hadn't played an NYC show in a while. Breezly Brewin is top five, dead or alive, yeah, I said it. And if not that then Yule Prog in '08 because Masai Bey gave one of the best live performances I have ever seen, and then proceeded to do some KRS/PM Dawn-type shit that still amuses me to this day.
What's your favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?
Fatty 'Cue in Williamsburg. Anyone else making BBQ in New York should take notes and the drinks are ridiculous. But that's today, because Peter Luger, La Superior and Roberta's are all up there, as well as The Islands, by the Brooklyn Museum. Best Jamaican food on the eastern seaboard, put an L on it if you think different.
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