CES Cru and Wrekonize take no prisoners in this track from CES Cru’s Codename: Ego Stripper.
What quickly turned into the fan favorite from CES Cru’s new album, “Blindfold” features three murderous emcees going in on any and everybody. Over an incredibly catchy-yet-brooding production (by none other than Seven), Godemis, Ubiquitous and Wrekonize lay adversaries to waste in the coldest of ways.
We talked to the three emcees to get their perspective on what the track is about, how it got made and what their lyrics mean. To be expected, the explanations behind the incendiary track are just as compelling as the song itself.
GODEMIS: If I’m not mistaken, I think that was one of the ones that was in a really primitive state when we picked it and Seven played it for us. Of course he then filled in all the guts, putting all the nuts and bolts and shit in it and made it work.
UBIQUITOUS: We just knew the beat was going to be on the record. It’s infectious. You hear the song, you’re not listening to the song, you can continue to hear the song in your head.
WREKONIZE: Whenever I hear Seven’s producing on an album It think two things, I’m always like “He’s so dope and talented” and at the same time “He’s such an animal with his work ethic,” because he produces so much material and the ratio of beats that I hear from Seven that I love to the ratio that I hear that I’m like “Man, that’s not really for me,” is ridiculously high in his favor.
GODEMIS: I think the beat really framed the topic if you will. I wrote that shit at Ubi’s crib, the hook and my first verse, and that shit had to take 45 minutes or an hour maybe.
UBIQUITOUS: This one came about because I deeply encouraged Godemis to take the reins on this song. I was like “This needs to feel like your song that features me, so go.” He was actually irritated and stressed out by that at first but after being challenged to come up with a song concept for this one and write that shit he banged it out in my bathroom. I think the reason he wanted to be in the bathroom was so he could rap it to himself and hear himself but not have me witness it.
GODEMIS: Immediately he was like “Oh yeah, that shit goes.” It was like “Oh yeah…that’s what you do.” After that everything just came together.
WREKONIZE: I was really glad to be put on the album because when CES first signed we jumped at the chance to work with them because everybody at ¡MAYDAY! felt very akin to them. Even though they’re from the midwest and we’re from the east coast we felt that they’re the closest artists on Strange that are in the same vein as us. They like a lot of the same inspirations.
UBIQUITOUS: They’ve always been real cool. Way back in the day Tech put out this video and he was talking about building the Strange Music roster and he listed off all these people that he wanted to sign, Stevie Stone being one of them, ¡MAYDAY! being one of them, CES Cru being one of them – all before we were signed. He was telling everybody that this is the future of Strange, which was kind of crazy. I was tuned into that shit but naturally since CES Cru was mentioned in the same sentence with ¡MAYDAY! and Stevie Stone, I felt it necessary to research these people. They were the first ones other than Tech, of course excluding Tech, on the label to reach out to us to do music together and we did the “Strange March”.
WREKONIZE: They’re into the same things that we are. We just felt very relative to them so we put them on “Strange March” on Thrift Store Halos and that was the beginning of our working relationship.
UBIQUITOUS: Wrek’s super dope. He’s super talented. I think he and I share similar flight paths as far as our careers through hip hop, meaning that we’ve done it for a similar number of years. We’ve been in and out of a variety of configurations of groups. We’ve been solo artists and group artists. We both worked battle circuits back in the day. Now we’ve both landed on this label and the only difference is he’s all the way down in Florida and I’m in the middle of the country in Kansas City. We have a similar flight path and ¡MAYDAY!’s real hip hoppy. Them and Wrek by himself are real hip hop influenced more so than some of the other artists on our label. I feel like CES Cru and ¡MAYDAY! and probably MURS are really holding it down for the more hip hop side of the label.
UBIQUITOUS: The song is a goddamn execution. It’s a firing squad. It’s execution. That’s what we’re doing here. We’re lining motherfuckers up and executing them.
GODEMIS: I think creativity is suffering. When I can predict what’s shit’s going to sound and look like before I even see it, that’s really gay for hip hop. That’s kind of what I’m getting at in “Blindfold” to where I’m like “Maybe we need to thin this out a little bit.” Throw a black bag over motherfuckers’ heads and line them up against the wall and execute them, musically of course – lyrically of course.
WREKONIZE: What I love about CES is that they have such a great spectrum of content and emotion. They can go from really giving you some flip side science shit and going really deep and introspective and then they can go real aggressive and just keep it super visceral which I think “Blindfold” is like. To me “Blindfold” is like “Take them out to the firing range and just let loose on them.” I love that. Coming from a battle background and coming from the hip hop era that we came from, that was such a prevalent thing. I love that aggression. I thought it was an opportunity to take out the people standing in the way. Blindfold them and put them in a firing line.
GODEMIS: My verse has more of an introverted outlook as well because I fucking wear snapbacks, I have tattoos and I like fat asses. I can be what I can be but that’s whatever, I need that. So yeah man it’s like, that shit gets mad redundant. I think that’s why when you have that sort of view of the game, not that the shit needs to be abolished or that it’s whack, but I would just challenge someone who’s making music, especially hip hop, to fucking do something different.
Like, you can do whatever you want, especially in this day and age. You can do whatever you want so I feel like why fucking fit a mold, especially if you have a format or you have listeners or a following? Why the fuck would you do the same thing over and over? And that’s cool man, that’s why I make my music the way I want to. To each its own and shit, do what you want to do, but it’s just weird to me how motherfuckers don’t see that it’s redundant.
I don’t watch music television on any of the channels for the most part because I already know what that’s going to be. When I do end up with that in front of my face by chance it’s exactly what I expected will be there for me and I think there’s a serious problem there. I think creativity is suffering.
UBIQUITOUS: That’s for whoever wants my spot, and there’s a lot of them, so many. I absolutely feel encroached upon constantly. There’s a lot of people who have a lot of shit to say that want to quantify and qualify themselves to me as accomplished in whatever way they may see fit and that should essentially lead to them to a record contract with Strange Music, sometimes that they should have been had their record contract with Strange because of XYZ thing that they’ve done, or that they know that in so much time that they will have that record contract with Strange because of XYZ. These are real conversations that people have with me and want to sell themselves to me, which is crazy because I’m just an artist on the label. I don’t work a desk job. I have no sway over any of this shit, but it’s a very, very consistent conversation that I have.
Sometimes people are very congratulatory and have a lot of positive things to say about me and about what it is I did to get where I’m at and they’re not very congratulatory, but then they will tell me that they’re going to be where I’m at very soon so to just watch out for them and remember their names and shit. So that’s a situation where, because I have dealt with people that are very happy for my position and what I’ve done and are congratulatory, this other type becomes very transparent as to what they’re true motives are and how they actually feel. It’s not a congratulations type situation, it’s a “What did you do to get where you’re at because what the fuck?” This is a situation where they think they have everything that I have, maybe even more so than I do, so how the fuck did I get my spot? Because they’ve been deserving a spot, so what makes me so fucking special to have my spot? That is the subtext of the conversation.
This happens on tour everywhere. Understanding that I’m opening up a lot of shows for Tech, a hundred shows and I’m dealing with local openers at these shows and to them I’m still unknown. A lot of people, when I was going out with tech in 2013, they didn’t know who CES Cru was, so they’re looking at me like “Who are you?” So I’ve been co-signed and I’m with the label and I’m with the entourage but they’re like “Who are you? I’ve opened up for Tech’s show here for the last six years? Who are you? I’ve been going to Tech shows since blah blah blah. Who are you?” So I get that a lot. I get that a whole lot and I don’t have time to tell the story that I’m from Kansas City and that I witnessed the Anghellic street movement as it was unrolled when Tech went independent and watched Absolute Power happen and I was there when the first Tech N9ne billboard went up and I was at house parties with Tech N9ne and I went to Mardi Gras with Tech NINE and we were freestylin’. They don’t have time for that shit and neither do I.
Yeah, and basically what I’m saying is that people who feel that they’re qualified for this thing or whatever are not qualified. That’s what I’m saying. I can see how they’re not qualified a lot of times and I can see right through them. I can see it in the way they talk and in everything about them. When they hand me their demo I can see how they’re not qualified. I can hear how they’re not qualified when they rap for me. That’s why I say “I’m wide awake, y’all taking naps.” That’s the other thing, they don’t have the work drive for it. They’re not ready to sleep for four hours a night consistently. They’re not ready to work six or seven days a week with a lot of times no pay just because you’re just doing it, because you know there’s going to be a payout later, or you think there’s going to be a payout later. They’re not ready for it. “Try to join our ranks, I ain’t takin’ apps.” I don’t know why people come to me and they think I’m the guy because I’m in or on Strange Music – and that goes for CES Cru too. Nobody’s joining CES Cru, period.
That last part is an open question to all these people that feel like they’re deserving of whatever. Now I’m exercising my self-control and my strength, but while we’re talking about it, who helped me out? I’ll wait. Everybody that needs some shit from me, which one of you guys helped though? I’ll wait. It’s kind of a rhetorical question that I already know the answer to.