Every now and then a guest verse will come along and make you nearly forget about anything else except how sick the emcee is coming with it. There’s certain masters of this art: Busta Rhymes, Method Man, and our good friend Tech N9ne to name a few. Add Wrekonize to this storied list with his verse on CES Cru’s “Blindfold”, a song that took hip hop by storm upon the release of CES Cru’s sophomore Strange Music album Codename: Ego Stripper.
Not only did we talk to Wrek about what went into the verse and have him break down his lyrics, but we also had the track-slayer write out his verse word for word so that we could all keep up with the masterful display of chopping which he employs. The result? Another Strange Music Exclusive Track Breakdown.
You with the BS you wanna be Wrek you dropping demo discs I’m hitting eject
I wanna tell ya the bottom line is a typical topic and I’m pinnacle profit of time thee best
Watch me closer now line em up in a row
Blind fold the crowd line em up in a row
Rhyme hold em down line up in a row
I’ll warn ya now clown here we go
If ya gotta get a weapon then get to stepping I’m wrecking every second that I’m checking the fricking record
It’s Wrek and I been kicking it incessantly Jin In Tekken
My 22nd beckoned for the deepest of women get em
If ya gotta get a get Cru get a CES one
Ya make a motherfucking move for the next run
Checks come only when the best drum flex huh
Better be getting ready for the moment that flesh bumps
I been talking to myself bout the honors on the shelf get ya head spun
need a place to pray or a better god to hate shit I probably can erect one
I been rocking with the Ces since the prophets of Tibet gotta leg up on the next sun
Every time the brothers speak you just know it’s getting deep when ya wake up with the dead ones
You being on a CES Cru record, it seems long overdue. How did you get approached to be on this song and on this record?
I was really glad to be finally 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. 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.
We went to Kansas City for awhile for a video trip and they were playing us tracks and they had those tracks picked out and we just took them home with us and knocked them out.
Were their verses already on it?
Yeah they played us both tracks in the studio. When they played us “Hope” they had their verses. I think the song was done except for a verse. In “Blindfold” they had a verse each but in the final version I think Godi kicked another verse at the end. That verse got added after if I’m not mistaken.
What is this song about to you?
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 aggression was such a prevalent thing. I love it. I thought it was an opportunity to take out the people standing in the way – blindfold them and put them in a firing line.
“Demo discs I’m hitting eject.” Why did you start off with that line?
They had that whole hook already laid out which I thought was dope and I just wanted to integrate myself into that hook so I started with flipping it – and obviously our names rhyme: CES and Wrek, so I was like “Okay cool. I’ll modulate the lyrics they have for the hook and then jump in on that.”
Because we’re in this aggressive state and this song is so going for the throat, that was just the first place I wanted to go. A lot of the people that approach us – and I think one person took it personally on Facebook – but I just feel like if you’ve done anything or if you’ve ever approached someone or if you’re handing out a demo then you’ve got to come with it. If you don’t come with it then you have to expect to take the criticism or expect to be told to go back to the drawing board. It’s not an exception for anyone, that happens to anyone that puts out any art into the fucking world. You’re going to get people coming back and saying “Oh, this album sucks.” Everything is out for justice. That’s my swipe at people that are just out there trying to throw anything out there that’s just not hitting at all. It gets ejected. That’s just so clutch in hip hop I feel though, that people who can’t bring it get ridiculed.
Yeah and I know you don’t want to put anyone on blast, but I imagine anyone that’s on any tours or signed or doing anything at that caliber gets approached very frequently.
Yeah we get approached all the time and I don’t mind it at all. I take demos and sometimes when I get the chance I throw shit in. I’ve listened to people’s stuff before and there’s been stuff that I thought was cool and there’s stuff that I went “Ehh…” and I personally don’t feel it. I try not to be a super-judgmental or negative person. For me I just more often than not try to not be the person that’s like “Oh your shit sucks.” I’m just going to be like “Oh this isn’t for me,” and I’m going to keep it moving. But when it comes to putting someone in the firing line and blindfolding them and going to war basically or executing somebody, that’s where that line comes from. When I’m the executioner and expected to be that then I have to drop the axe.
Your approach on this verse is very percussive and rhythmic to where you have to wonder does a flow pattern come to you first or do the words come first? How does that work?
I knew that when they played me the beat and the way that it was formatted when it was first played to me was one of those things where I knew they wanted me to come in and go high on the intensity scale as far as rhythm. They were expecting me to come in and do some chopping and have my verse have a lot of movement to it. Immediately I knew that’s where they wanted me to go.
There are moments, just like the thing with the hook, where you’ll just throw some scat at the wall or just some nonsense syllables that aren’t even words and try to start and mold a pattern that you can fill in with words. I definitely like to do that. It helps a lot. Then it’s a mixture of that and building it word for word and mixing it with the pattern. I’d say 50 percent of it is subconscious and 50 percent of it is trying to have a bit of a plan.
So what were some of the things that you’re talking about in this verse? As an executioner, take me through some of the things in these lyrics and how you’re conveying that.
After I break free of the hook and go into the verse the first thing “If you gotta get a weapon and get to steppin’.” That’s a simple line to me but I thought it was cool in the double sense that if you need to go get a weapon then go do it, do it now because it’s about to happen, but at the same time if you need a weapon then you might as well not even compete because we’re in there and we don’t need weapons. If you need a tool or anything else other than yourself to be a threat then you might as well not even enter the Terrordome basically. That was my subtle double entendre which I thought was cool. It’s one of those things that’s rap nerd shit that maybe somebody will never even pick up but that was what I thought was cool about that line.
How about the following lines?
I’m a huge gamer so I had to throw in the “Jin in Tekken” line, which I know a good amount of gamers will appreciate: “Because I’ve been kicking it incessantly like Jin in Tekken.”
Then “My 22nd beckoned for the deepest of women, get ’em.” That’s basically a nod to my 20s. Coming into my 20s I was a problem. I was definitely coming out of a long-term relationship I had in high school and I was in a dark place, which was basically that relationships didn’t mean shit to me at the time.
You were sport-fucking basically?
(Laughs) I was fucking without a cause.
That makes sense that it’d be after a long relationship.
Yeah and if you feel like you’ve been hurt or you’ve been wronged, you know, that’s when all those things that you held high and all those morals and respect factor for life in general is just at an all-time low. You’ve got to go through those places to rise out of it and I did in my early 20s and that’s how I balanced out the shit without going over. It’s a little easier to get away with when you’re younger, because you can claim ignorance and you can do some dumb shit. Once you get into your later years you’re like “I should probably know better,” but you know, emotions have a funny way of overriding logic.
“I’ve been talking to myself about the honors on the shelf, get your head spun.”
That’s me saying that after this last year and all the things that we’ve done in ¡MAYDAY! and producing for Tech and having “Fragile” be so successful and ¡MURSDAY! be such a great album that there’s moments where I feel like sometimes to really continue to go on and know where you’re going you have to appreciate the stop along the way and reflect. I feel like I know a lot of people that work so hard that they never do that and that’s unhealthy. I get why people do it but I feel like it’s a little more rewarding to look along the way and go “We did this, we did this. That was great. I know how we got there. I know what we needed to do and we have to continue to do it to rise and keep progressing.” So that’s me saying that I’ve been reflecting on the things that we do for the last year and there’s so much shit that we’ve done in the last year or two that it’ll make you dizzy.
“You need a place to pray or a better God to hate, shit I probably can erect one.”
I’ve said it in “The Noose” before and I’ve said it in a bunch of other records and a lot of people that know my music know that I’m pretty much what you consider a textbook atheist. I feel like that line is me poking fun at religion saying that if there is something that you need or a place to make you feel better, which man has erected for centuries, I’ll fix you up one. What do you need? If you’re feeling shitty and you want to throw stones at the sky I’ll set you up with a God for that or if you’re feeling like you need to rebuild and you want to go forward and shape up your life then I”ll fix you up with a place to do that. This is just my way of saying that we can accomplish things that they’re saying we need religion for.
“When a brother’s speaking you know it’s getting deep when speak and you wake up with the dead ones.”
That’s saying basically that every time we get busy that it’s deadly and if you’re on the wrong side of the blade you can end up under the ground.
What kind of response have you been seeing on your end from this appearance?
I’ve been home for a few days and I was online sporadically when I was on vacation. When it came out I saw a bunch of people shouting me out on Twitter and on Instagram as well about the verse. I could only see things that were being aimed at that song but it definitely seems like it was getting good reaction. I didn’t realize how much of a reaction it was getting in terms of verses on the album because obviously if someone’s giving props to CES Cru on the album I won’t see it unless it’s in my feed. I’ve definitely seen positive reactions to the song and it seems great and people love the verse. I was so hyped and excited to be on the album that it was enjoyable to see people really enjoying the record.
— ¡Davey No! (@DaveyNO) August 22, 2014
How cool is it for you to be on this record?
To quote the general, at the end of the day he’s still a fan and I’m still a fan of CES Cru since the first time I’ve heard them. It’s cool to be a part of something like that. When you do music for your occupation there can be moments where you feel like you have to dig deep for passion because you have to continually do things to progress, grow and to eat. To be a part of a project that you feel passionate about you have to really indulge because they don’t always come along all the time. I was hype.