A Skeleton at a Typewriter

by Rabbi Darkside

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about

“Now I sit down at the desk ready to begin. Nothing but a skeleton at a typewriter.” -Billy Collins from “Purity”

At the beginning of 2019 I set my musical intentions around self-reliance. As Hip Hop tradition holds, I used the resources I had at my disposal. My loop station, my rituals, a dedicated studio space with a westward facing vista overlooking the entire 718 and 212. I made 40 beats in a month and words found traction in these compositions. Songs of necessity, of response, of reflection and of action. For me, a return to the minimalism of rap poetry and magnetic catharsis of creative control. Little did I know my life would turn upside during this process. The songs here capture a moment comprised of constant movement. Not unlike the flow of blood within the body’s casing. Liquid bars in a mason jar replete with cracks and leaks. Here is the emptied vessel and the dried ink of season’s change. The stones on the river bed. A skeleton at a typewriter.

credits

released December 13, 2019

All song written & produced by Rabbi Darkside (S. Sellers for Emcee Scrolls Music, ASCAP)
Additional production and percussion by Willie Green
Percussion on “Purity” by Doron Lev
Cello on “Flashbacks” by Tay Zaro
Beatbox and scratches by Rabbi Darkside

Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Willie Green at The GreenHouse Recording Co., Brooklyn, NY
Assistant Engineer: Sonca Nguyen

Cover photo and photo art by Tafadzwa M. Chiriga

This project was composed using the Boss RC505, a Casio CTK-2300 keyboard, Pro Tools, Technics 1200s with a Rane 57SL, my record collection, a notebook and my voice.

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about

Rabbi Darkside Brooklyn, New York

Rabbi Darkside is a Brooklyn-based Hip Hop Artist/Educator. His new album "Prospect Avenue" reached #4 on CMJ Hip Hop Charts, #1 on College Radio Charts. His global fanbase grows while he obscures the lines between Hip Hop, Jazz, Folk & Poetry. He's shared stages with Afrika Bambaataa, Antibalas, Common, Dres, Fishbone, Rob Swift, J-Live, Rahzel, Slick Rick, Talib Kweli, The Coup & many others. ... more

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Track Name: The Idea of Me
THE IDEA OF ME

Give me a bum mood and a drum loop
A studio to come to some confusion to undo
A bass line to hum to
A microphone to check 1-2
It’s like I lost track on a long path
Recognize after it rains there is a soft patch
And there’s mudslides after shitstorms
That’s why we build a home where we can get warm
Yo the rents high but the view’s ace
Paying dues and the cost of living proves great
Home is heart turf and it’s hard work
It’s car parts on the armoire
But it’s a large perk
When your person is the person
That you say good night to last and good morning to first
I know I could do worse
I know I could be better
Didn’t know if I would question
I know I want it forever
Conflicting like cliques in Heathers
Overlooking gifts and treasures and the genesis embers
It was a September and my temperament was semper contemplative and my pen was moving like my records
18 months later we moving in together
Growing pains are thicke but the commitment is the measure
Sometimes when it gets tough I wonder if you’re happy
Do you see me as I am or only see I’m lacking

THE IDEA OF ME

It’s a construct concave maybe about grown age
Gold plate cold case vision of a soul mate
Hard luck hard love close shaves ghost dates
Co-pays start-ups investing for the heart’s fuck
That plus karma
Feeds into a vision
Of the kind of person
Who you dream of knitting
That leaves me in stitches
Hanging on by a thread
Wondering what I did while trying to be my best
And wonder if it’s my worldview my life path my upbringing
Nights right beside you when I can feel my gut singing
Wonder if it’s actions pinging parts
Wonder if it’s assuming something to feed something dark
Maybe about roles derived from parental modes
Or growing up in the South and growing up in New York
Or wishing that things were different when we’re both feeling distant
Taking time to sit with intent talk and listen
Maybe about exes and the scars that they left
Or maybe about checklists red flags and sex
It could just be stress
If I couldn’t be a mess
I can put it in a song but we can’t put it to rest
Only have one thing to confess
I’m afraid I’m not enough or just not what you expect

THE IDEA OF ME
Track Name: Sacred Space
Flipping through stories and taking a poll
I’m taking a break cause it’s taking a toll
Going outside and I’m taking a stroll
A break in the clouds breaking the mold
Playing in leaves revenue streams
Passive as skis raking in dough
Gravity deems what’s feeling high
Is gonna find it’s way to the low
Mountain chateaux valley Bordeaux
Pres de La Garonne jusqu’a Lyon
Studies are elemental
Journals are my mementos
Journeys are mind openers
Seeing the signs every turn
A beacon to peek in on what is unique
When we be and we speak
Don’t mean bespoke don’t mean couture
Don’t get deterred
Catching a curve kicked to the curb
Back in the saddle like Steven Tyler
Creating is tough when the future is odd
We all online security search
Serving a purpose is intentional
The phone is a tool a tool is for work
You act like a tool when the phone rule your world
It was written in verse
I miss the days of the chirp
At least that was barely a burp
Now it’s disturbing the peace when you live on the stream
From a quiet place Emily Blunt
Lemme be blunt maybe it’s moral
There are new rules where’s the decorum
Dua Lipa to P Isadora
Respecting the silence is heaven to mortals
Maybe you tweet bout protecting your aura
While in your sleep checking the stories
Full of yourself running out of storage
We having a moment the phone can be dormant

The movie theater
Sacred space
The library
Sacred space
When I exercise
Sacred space
When it’s bedtime
Sacred space
In my classroom
Sacred space
At the dinner table
Sacred space
When it’s date night
Sacred space
When the vibe’s high
Sacred space

Could be our saving grace

I’m talking bout time
They ways that i spend it
The ways that i make it
The ways that i waste it
A day in the life and the life in the day
Trying to maintain in the maze and the matrix
0 and 1 back to the basics
Busy as bees simpler cadence
Pen and pad day and a dream
Lil vacation from notifications
Feeling connected without a network
Optimum essence here on the Spectrum
Nothing is tethered light as feather
Not fucking with Fios more telekinetic
Tell paramedics some kind of confession
That you were out hiking to see something special
But had to make sure that the selfie was level
Out on a ledge looking like daredevil
Blind leading blind map on the dash
Hand on app happen to crash
Cop on the phone blocking the road
Now getting home is a rabbit to task
Bumble and Happn paying for credits
Porno is free tickle your fetish
Battery low adjusting your settings
Facetiming friends in the morning at breakfast
Sci Fi prophetic you pick the novel
Library card or VR goggles
Comic book movies or reading the Marvel
Hide and go seek cause I’m losing my marbles
It’s all about balance and taking control
What you take to bed or you take in a dose
We’re losing our self-awareness on the go
While data is mined they can’t touch your soul
Rewind like a rotary phone
Maybe it’s me feeling old
but I like to think that moments can sink into eternity we can hold

The movie theater
Sacred space
The library
Sacred space
When I exercise
Sacred space
When it’s bedtime
Sacred space
In my classroom
Sacred space
At the dinner table
Sacred space
When it’s date night
Sacred space
When the vibe’s high
Sacred space

Could be our saving grace
Track Name: Post Post Malone
Everything is new
Everything is old
Way I take an Uber when I need to go home
Way I hear a song I like on the radio
Pull out the Shazam and goddamn it’s Post Malone
Everything is new
Everything is old
Way I take an Uber when I need to go home
Way I hear a song I like on the radio
Pull out the Shazam and goddamn it’s Post Malone
Muthafuck Post Malone

We post Lin Manuel Miranda, right?
Post Black Panther post musical theater Hamilton rappers
Post market crashes post coastal disaster
Post polar caps and post paying with cash
Post Snapchat and post near everything
People post preconceived notions
And are predisposed to about anything
That’s posted on a feed
Posing then posting and posing then posting
And posing then posting until they bleed
We post post modern
Post democratic myth
Pre-post apoocalytic
Proto-post capitalist
Post Vine post Harambe
Posting lies posting drama
Post Dilla post Mac Miller
Post Lebron and Obama
We in the age of thirst trap and church rap and Chance
Post shirts matching pants post herb rolled with hands
Post aerial zoning rights and post 5 Pointz
I’ll post a muthafuckin book I read to underline the joy
It’s post post office fucking with stamps.com
Chemical warfare everywhere post atomic bomb
Rappers looking like Comic Con yo I ain’t mad at the come up
I’m just over the hype that’s stoked by sponsored posts pseudo humble
The human rubble akin to Game of Thrones the finale
Content is at the helm artistry in the galley
Post face tattoos and viral genre bending memes
Post haste do me a favor don’t tag when you posting please

Everything is new
Everything is old
Way I take an Uber when I need to go home
Way I hear a song I like on the radio
Pull out the Shazam and goddamn it’s Post Malone
Everything is new
Everything is old
Way I take an Uber when I need to go home
Way I hear a song I like on the radio
Pull out the Shazam and goddamn it’s Post Malone
Muthafuck Post Malone

We def post A OK in the age of AOC
Triple double averages after Durant OKC
Kobe beef is overrated grass fed always in season
Premonitions predilections predicated on scheming
Pre-doctoral and post-graduate
Part-time lecturing post professional presentations for credits
Postal runs for pre-orders
Merchandise pre-sorted
Posit in my pre-cortex
My posterior form is
That off a thoroughbred I disappear for a bit like
Earl Sweat in a fervor to get my mind out the nervousness
In the midst of therapy with different therapists when I can
Afford them
Post-brainstorming pre-recording
It’s process pressure posture presence
Catharsis methods imposters preventers
Preposterous and perplexing the populace and their pensions
The possibilities endless we propped up against the fences
I pop up and I get a pittance that doesn’t match with the penance
Dem Yankees still posting pennants
I grimace Knicks suck forever
Zion was on the precipice paintings post-impressionists
Picture what could have been now figure out how to reckon with
What will be in the post the past stacks prerequisite
Cleaning it up in post-production becomes preeminent
Presidents have set precedents but now we post-diplomacy
Premium on my people who post up power fists globally

Everything is new
Everything is old
Way I take an Uber when I need to go home
Way I hear a song I like on the radio
Pull out the Shazam and goddamn it’s Post Malone
Everything is new
Everything is old
Way I take an Uber when I need to go home
Way I hear a song I like on the radio
Pull out the Shazam and goddamn it’s Post Malone
Muthafuck Post Malone
Track Name: Ayo White Folks
Ayo white folks yeah I’m talking to you
White folks looking uncomfortable in the room
Ayo white folks yeah you part of the group
We can stay part of the problem or start facing the truth
Ayo white folks yeah I’m talking to you
White folks looking uncomfortable in the room
Ayo white folks yeah you part of the group
We can stay part of the problem or start facing the truth

There’s no apparent place to start
With our parents in our hearts
In your classrooms or your block
On your word or in your thoughts
What you learned and what you taught
The myth of the melting pot
If you a teacher or a cop
or read Michele and Barack
Take a moment to stop this apart from your kindness
This is part of our blindness and at the crux of our bias
Whiteness is a fact and a system built on the backs
Of murder and pseudo-science and generations of wrath
Prejudice is acquired inherited and displayed
Discrimination is actions based on it to separate
Racism fathered race to hold humans in their place
Based on what the white man had to say who he enslaved
Foundation of economy is racial ideology that built the 13 colonies
And predicated policy
Dedicated to segregating and perpetuating the feeling that keeps white people
Thinking we better by nature
Check yourself sure we’re all special flowers
But privilege gives us power in what we don’t encounter
For jobs you might compete profiled by the police
Followed around while shopping denied a restaurant seat
The world works in our favor you probably look like neighbors
And probably can get a loan and probably can own some acres
And see your likeness on TV in all of your favorite shows
And get products that you need in every market and store
The thing about thinking white is not having to think twice
Quick to call the authorities without risking your life
Able to trace your roots and taking that for granted
Not knowing why I smack you when you say all lives matter

Ayo white folks yeah I’m talking to you
White folks looking uncomfortable in the room
Ayo white folks yeah you part of the group
We can stay part of the problem or start facing the truth
Ayo white folks yeah I’m talking to you
White folks looking uncomfortable in the room
Ayo white folks yeah you part of the group
We can stay part of the problem or start facing the truth

I’m here to keep learning to step aside and shift power to folks of color
And elevate women’s voices till anomalies are abundant
More prone to run with mystics than with critics and pundits
Till the movement of this radius sweeps across the circumference
Trust I understand about growing up in struggle
Been bullied for being jewish rocking hand me downs from my cousin
And having ancestral history fraught with fleeing oppressors
But none of that’s a reason to ignore the systems methods
America the usual truth false testimonials
Coups still move colonial school still quite draconian
Punishments more severe for the black and brown and queer
While Anglo Saxons cheer and have dogwhistling ears
So this is a call to action to my white folks who’re combatting the
The criminalizing of blackness and politicians who back it
And cops who kill a black man then get promoted to captain
Here a few ways you can take action
Have difficult conversations with people that you care about
See a racist in public call em out and stare em down
Show up for collective actions slap a proud boy yapping
Film police use your voice to speak have neighborly interactions
Read intersectional books bell hooks and White Fragility
Watch 13th ignore calls for rule of law and civility
It’s our duty to smash the pattern not be bystanders
If you down with that holler back Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter
Track Name: Flashbacks
The winter New York sky
Is an awful pretty place
Till the clouds start turning colors
And the city burst in flames
Hot soup sitting on the stove
Cold hearts after we’ve been traveling
The windows full of flashbacks
And the flashbacks trying to get us

The winter New York sky
Is an awful pretty place
Till the clouds start turning colors
And the city burst in flames
Hot soup sitting on the stove
Cold hearts after we’ve been traveling
The windows full of flashbacks
And the flashbacks trying to get us

We both been in this town too damn long
To not jump at the sight of explosion
And we both been walking down this road quite alone
To not be carrying cases of emotions
So when December silence becomes Event Horizon
And we’ve barely started unpacking our bags
It’s visions of our twenties
9/11 memories
And it’s wondering if this is an attack
Before there was a feed to check and checks were waiting tables
We were making our mistakes over the counter
On the same streets the same spots and the same surroundings
But never bounded into one another
It took a sister making brother husband their to need discover
The DJ to hold it down think to suggest it
A couple hundred miles from the borough we both nest in
Lay the mountain vista where we connected
But underneath the Gotham sky we’ve been crossing paths
Since before that September never forgetting
I harken back to that day and the classroom I was teaching
When the airwaves started filling up with screaming
And somehow find comfort in the fact she was just across the river
Watching the same harrowing scene from a distance
There’s something in the scars that becomes that of the body
And what’s body is for sure to carry on
So when the Thursday clouds erupted the familiar sight was gutting
And we leapt into each other’s arms

The winter New York sky
Is an awful pretty place
Till the clouds start turning colors
And the city burst in flames
Hot soup sitting on the stove
Cold hearts after we’ve been traveling
The windows full of flashbacks
And the flashbacks might just get us

It’s a miracle we made it to our ages and these stages
Then collided under Virgo constellations
With all of our damaged spaces expectations and sensations
Inhibitions information predilections predications
Complications family traumas stuff with daddy stuff with momma
Suffering then finding ways to get down to the bottom
Maybe with a sponsor or maybe some sort of combo
Of cosmic wondering poetry writing mic in a palm
The point is it ends up one
And bet that shit don’t happen with the wave of a magic wand
Some days are like Babylon some days it’s the garden calm
Don’t change that we till and build not a factory but a farm
Growing something from nothing while the organic substance
Takes root in the bed we nightly lay and love in
And fuck if I’m not tough with all my personal struggles
That teach me when I confront them
In the meantime I can be bugging
As I’m seeking and I’m sulking to be perceived that I’m bumming
About us
That couldn't be further from the truth
But then something out of nothing becomes something
That we’re stuck with from an adolescent umbrage or an auntie or an uncle
And we’ve both got newish nephews and a slew of sleeping devils
The way we work to slay them is amazing on a level
That I never felt or saw
Like that September morn
When the memory is raw
Tonight I could hold her heart

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