Brain Rapp

Dream in your sleep, never sleep on your dreams

In a hip-hop climate dominated by trap beats and self-aggrandizing, Brain Rapp goes against the grain to offer listeners a chance to hear something different. Old school lyricism and smooth, jazz-inspired production combine to form an assortment of tracks reminiscent of the genre’s “golden age”. Instead of rehashing tired subject matter, Brain shines his spotlight on important themes that rarely receive the attention they deserve. Feels Good is for those who have grown tired of the status quo and yearn for an alternative.

Produced exclusively by Koja Nc 
Mixing and scratching by DJ Amen Ra 
Mastered at Lineup Room, Parkville, MD 
Album art by Jeff Kollins

The latest and greatest addition to the video line up, BOOM BAP! 

The way the song came about is rather simple; I had a bunch of one-liners in my phone that weren’t doing any good just sitting there so I decided to throw them on a track. The beat, produced by Aroon, with its gritty, crunchy texture, was the perfect foundation for the wordplays and punchlines. I wrote the first verse as kind of a joke but when I finished I really liked what I came up with. It was then that I decided to scroll a little deeper through the notebook and bang out another two verses. 

The video itself was actually shot in the summer of 2012. However, due to technical difficulties and all that whack shit, it took over a year to be released. In fact, my initial reason for downloading FCP in the first place was to edit this video on my own. Which I did. 

Half of the visuals were shot on a bridge in College Park while the other half was shot in this crazy abandon warehouse in Baltimore. We, me and the director, Jose, rented studio lights and a gas-powered generator to shoot inside the building at night. Unfortunately, the building has since been torn down. In its place are the new casinos. So, if you ever go to gamble in Baltimore in the future you will know where I was when I shot much of Boom Bap. Like, comment, share, enjoy! 

Whoa, whoa, whoa, sorry it took so long for me to post my own video to my own blog! 

As you can plainly see, me and my partner-in-rhyme, Nenjah Nycist, teamed up yet again to bring some of that old school flavor to your ears. 

The way this song came about is pretty simple: I was in NYC for the weekend and Nycist was like, “yo lets get on this beat together”. We both took some random verses and threw them on this smooth ass beat produced by Lab Ox. 

A few months after we finished the track we finally got around to do the video for it. Instead of paying somebody to shoot we decided to tackle the project ourselves. So, with my camera and the help of Nyc’s brother-in-law, we did the damn thing. The video was shot inside and outside of my girlfriend’s apartment complex in DC. 

Once the video was shot, I took my recently acquired copy of Final Cut Pro 7 and got to work on the editing. It was my first time using FCP so I had to watch a lot of YouTube tutorials to make it happen. It was a steep learning curve at first but I soon got the hang of it. After a countless number of hours editing we decided the video was good enough to post. I’m happy with how it came out and look forward to doing more in the future. Enjoy. 

My first project is finally out and available for download! More Than I Am is a short and sweet compilation of tracks that I’ve created over the past three years. In eight songs I take you on a journey through my life experiences—from playing sports and conversing with the girl of my dreams to dealing with depression—there’s something for everyone. So, if you have 25 minutes and 37 seconds please take the time and take a listen!

My first project is finally out and available for download! More Than I Am is a short and sweet compilation of tracks that I’ve created over the past three years. In eight songs I take you on a journey through my life experiences—from playing sports and conversing with the girl of my dreams to dealing with depression—there’s something for everyone. So, if you have 25 minutes and 37 seconds please take the time and take a listen!

Long time no post! Here is my second music video! This time around, however, I did not edit the video myself—and it shows. To bring “Ques Peas” into fruition I linked  with the up-and-coming videographer, Jose Carpio whom I first met Jose after a show I performed at back in April. You can check out some of his recent work on his YouTube channel.

As you can see from the title, the song features myself as well as Nycist and Ariana Smith of The Rising Sun All Stars. Nycist came up with the idea for the hook and flipping the old, “mind your Ps and Qs” saying into “stay on my Qs and Ps” (if you don’t get the reference I suggest consulting Urban Dictionary for some clarification). Once we had the concept for the song and the hook ironed out I got to work on crafting my verse. I decided to incorporate popular sayings and adages that I’ve heard throughout my life to give off an educational vibe. Because I’m not Nycist, I can’t speak to the exact origins of his verse. But what I will say is that his verse has a more street smart sensibility about it but still ties in nicely with the sentiments expressed in my verse. He kills it, in my opinion, with the line, “flow is rare but out there like single fathers”. 

Ari came into the fray when we were in the studio recording the track. We just felt as though her beautiful voice would just add a little something extra to the track. The “Team Whooooo the Fuck” at the beginning sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the song.

As far as the concept for the video went, I originally had the idea of filming it in a classroom where both me and Nycist would be acting as professors/teachers. I felt as though a classroom was the appropriate setting for the song because both of our verses seemed like something a teacher may tell his or her pupils. When I came to Jose with the concept he felt it was best (me and Nycist agreed) that I would act as the professor and Nycist and his brother-in-law would be the somewhat unruly students. This worked perfectly because my verse sounded more like something a teacher might say to his students whereas Nycist’s verse sounded like something a streetwise student may say in response to his teachings of his book smart professor. Thus, the concept for “Ques and Peas” was born. The final shot was just for fun and represents us putting our minds “at ease” after a long day in class.

As always the lyrics are provided below for your perusal. I hope you enjoy!

***

Verse 1: Brain Rapp

My life story full of morals, can’t rest on your laurels/

Be the bigger man, don’t invest in the quarrels/

Learned that birds of a feather flock together/

And if it counts for anything, then its not forever/

Loss it like the weather, when it rains it pours/

But you’re only getting stronger when pain’s endured/

What doesn’t kill you rebuilds you more fortified/

So the next time you fall down, you’ll be sure to rise/

Get back on that horse and ride, you know the saying/

Gotta move it or lose it, there’s no delaying/

Time waits for no man and haste leads to waste/

Beware of the hare even if it leads the race/

Keep it steady and slow, when you’re ready to blow/

Be the maker of your own and see plenty of dough/

Watch it rise in size deep inside the best oven/

And never fall asleep ‘cause sleep is death’s cousin/

Chorus 1: Brain Rapp and Nycist

Stay on my Ques and Peas/

Dot my Is and I cross my Ts/

Can’t get no Zs while I’m chasing Gs/

So mind my Bs and put your mind at ease/

X2

Verse 2: Nycist

Ayo either you’re a visionary or a martyr/

Mandela’s face on my hundredth dollar/ 

Warm blooded, yet I’m cold-hearted/

Young lord eating angel hair with a goddess/

Devils not fully blossomed, they looking orange/

Me, I’m playing possum to both cause my soul is guarded/

Thoughts like Malcolm X as soon as he departed/

From Mecca, misunderstood and a little modest/

What if the people saw this?/

Racism’s harness couldn’t tarnish foreigners/

Love was love and it was honest/

Flow is rare but out there like single father’s/

Tre’s dad warned us, an ounce of freedom could never be sold to you on corners/

Or in a contract, or by going to combat for a country that bomb threats/

Put out arms men, start contained wars then/

Burn down the farm fence, but see I’m just an artist that/

Chorus 2: Brain Rapp, Nycist, and Ariana Smith

Stay on my Ques and Peas/

Dot my Is and I cross my Ts/

Can’t get no Zs while I’m chasing Gs/

So mind my Bs and put your mind at ease/

X2

"Sporting Goods" is yet another autobiographical story that is very near to my heart. The theme of the track, as is made obvious from the chorus, is that as a kid/teenager I was never really good at sports. Growing up I played nearly everything; soccer, basketball, gymnastics, hockey, lacrosse—you name it. 

However, the real inspiration for this song came from my experience playing JV football during my freshman year of high school. At the time I was about 5’ 6” and weighed no more than 115 pounds. Needless to say I did not see much playing time. The thing that bothered me most was coming to the realization that no matter how hard I practiced or how hard I tried I would probably never be the star athlete that I dreamed of being.

During the countless hours I spent standing on the sideline waiting for my chance to play I found my mind constantly wandering, thinking of rhymes. It was after this experience that I gave up my athletic aspirations and decided that I was better-off applying my mind to reach my goals rather than my body. The line that summarizes the theme of this song best comes near the end of the first verse: “Had to learn use my brain due to my lack of brawn/ So I practiced writing lines until the crack of dawn”.

As always, feel free to read along with the lyrics as you listen.

***

(Chorus 1)

Growing up as a kid I was never good sports/

I was always too small, too slow, too short/

The athletic type, I really wasn’t that sort/

So rhymes became my ball and beats became my court/

(Verse 1)

Pigskin in my hand couldn’t throw it ten yards/

Instrumental in my ears, throw you more than ten bars/

On the soccer field I never kicked one goal/

But I can kick a rhyme over an ill drum roll/

Freshman year football I played the sideline/

Third string corner back what a waste of my time/

Little number twenty nine just waiting for a play/

Wishing for a quarter man that will be the day/

Only got in four downs, never got to make a tackle/

Sitting on the bench I thought of words to rhyme with castle/

Had to learn to use my brain due my lack of brawn/

So I practiced writing lines until the crack of dawn/

Now the track that I’m on pits pen against sword/

Where similes and metaphors are all I need to score/

I’ve been playing this game for years and a victory is overdue/

So I chuck nouns for touchdowns get eight when I go for two/

(Chorus 2)

Growing up as a kid I was never good sports/

I was always too small, too slow, too short/

The athletic type, I really wasn’t that sort/

So rhymes became my ball and beats became my court/

(X2)

(Verse 2)

Instead of doing drills and practicing plays/

I was working on my skills, head trapped in a maze/

Cause it had always been my dream to be on a team/

And become the star that everyone would see gleam/

But it wasn’t in my reach so I turned in the cleats/

Traded in my jersey for these words and some beats/

I swapped the mouth guards, exchanged the jock straps/

For a chance to spout bars and flaming hot raps/

No leather Letterman’s, playing games I’ll never win/

Hip-hoping over hurdles now on tracks I get it in/

Wasn’t built for catching passes, running in end zones/

Had to put on these glasses and get in that pen zone/

I write offensive lines that can stop the hardest of rushes/

When I do with words what artists do with brushes/

I’ve been playing this game for years and a victory is overdue/

So I chuck nouns for touchdowns get eight when I go for two/

(Chorus 3)

Growing up as a kid I was never good sports/

I was always too small, too slow, too short/

The athletic type, I really wasn’t that sort/

So rhymes became my ball and beats became my court/

***

"More Than I Am" is an autobiographical story about having unfilled goals and aspirations. At the time I wrote this I was about half-way through my senior of college and finally realizing that not pursuing my dreams was taking a drastic toll on my spirit. Within the words of this A capella I explain my fears and loosely outline my plan to overcome them.

Feel free to read along with the lyrics as you listen.

***

I’m just a young man trying to be more than I am/

Grasping for my dreams while they’re slipping from my hands/

All I want to do is flow but these exams are like a dam/

My quest for higher-learning has left a fire burning/

Deep within my chest how can I rest with dire yearning/

Suppress my aspirations for the sake of the feasibility/

Convinced that I’m going nowhere with these abilities/

Belittling myself is like a disease that’s killing me/

Front like I’m secure when in fact I lack confidence/

I care what people think and worry about the consequence/

Of being who I want to be and doing what I love/

I want to be a rapper but too many are quick to judge/

The minute they hear rapper all they think about are drugs/

Guns, money, and murder, hoes, gangsters and thugs/

So I kept my rhymes a secret to escape their criticism/

I don’t need that cynicism find me deep within a rhythm/

Thats where my inhibitions disappear like a magician/

Free my mind, free to rhyme, and I don’t care who listens/

The things I could have accomplished if I was never afraid/

To grab an open microphone and step up on a stage/

Maybe make a few fans hands wave if I were more brave/

But under pressure I cave and run from what I crave/

Back to my comfort zone, a bowl, a beat, a fresh page/

In my room solitarily searching for solidarity/

Among these instrumentals, writing rhymes for my therapy/

So I can think with clarity and speak with sincerity/

Make make music for myself damn I’m my own charity/

It helps me to deal when I jot down what I feel/

Collect my thoughts and heal when my emotions congeal/

Weld these bars together and wield a lyrical shield/

To fight the army ills invading my brain’s battlefield/

In this war I will never yield in the war to become a better person/

I’m immersed in searching for the newer greater version/

Of myself and its unnerving but I remain determined/

To finish this quest for high-learning then address the fire burning/

Deep within my chest and put to rest this dire yearning/

Grab ahold of my dreams before they slip through my hands/

Then maybe I can become more than I am/

***

I encourage anyone with dreams and aspirations to strive everyday to be more than who you are.

If you like this song please listen to it at www.soundcloud.com/brainrapp

Peace.