MM: Oh, I turned thirty in November, so.
ST: Damn, you’re gonna be thirty, bro?
MM: I am thirty.
ST: Oh, you turned thirty in November?
MM: I. Am. Thirty.
ST: So, you’re gonna be thirty-one this year?
MM: I’m gonna be—don’t say that. Oh.
MM: Yeah [Laughs]
MM: Thirty forever, now.
MM: Time to count down.
[MM and ST laugh out loud]
MM: The old people rule.
ST: It’s a beautiful thing, though.
MM: Yeah, no, it’s nice.
ST: Like, I’ll be thirty-two this year.
MM: Nice, yeah.
ST: Yeah. My lady [Mufasa Bastet] just entered into her thirties as well.
Mufasa B.: Thanks.
ST: Yeah, it’s definitely been, like, an eye-opener for her in a lot of ways. For me, in a lot of ways, too.
MM: Do you feel like a cognitive difference? I feel like I’m hitting a new growth in my brain cells.
ST: For sure, for sure.
MM: I hope it doesn’t reach the point where I’m forty and I feel like my plasticity is down, and I’m not learning anything new.
MM: Like, that’s the thing I worry—’cause I see a lot of the older generation, I don’t know, it might be a generational thing, and maybe the area that I’m just in, but it just seems like a lot of the old people, they just feel like they’re right, or something. Or they don’t want to hear it from you.
ST: Yeah. Woo!
MM: Maybe it’s ’cause you’re younger, but, like–
ST: We literally just did an episode on our podcast [The Authentic Hippy] about bridging the generational gap. About, like, the elders just being so complacent within their stance, of their truth, and not even allowing, like, the younger generation to have a voice, to be listened to, to consider what they’re talking about, so we can come together as one. And again, I don’t want to always blame that on age, sometimes it’s just the – I don’t wanna say ignorance – but sometimes it just comes from the placement of, like, where the people are, how they were raised, what they grew up with, like what times that they were in when they were younger, uh, because even a lot of the elders when they were, like–let’s say if you have an elder that’s sixty-years-old trying to have a conversation with, like, a thirty-year-old, sometimes they look at themselves when they were thirty and compare it to how the kids are at thirty now. It’s like, “Oh, I would never do what you’re doing right now, so I’m not gonna even listen to you because when I was your age, or back in my day, like, this is what we had to do.” But not even take into consideration of, like, how the times are different. Like, how things are different for this generation, for last generation. It’s like you have to allow yourself to be open to at least have the conversation to hear them out, to meet in the middle, to like—“These are our differences. I’m this way because of this.” “I’m this way because of this.” “Okay. So, how do we meet in the middle?”
MM: And it’s like now in this day and age, it’s like there’s no excuse for the gap in a way.
ST: It’s not. It’s not.
MM: Like, back in the day, I mean – when I’m talkin’ about back in the day, like Sixties, you know? That was the same thing happening then, like the thirty, twenty-year-olds in the Sixties, like, you know? The older generation was looking at it like, “They’re ruining our society.” Well, is society that great right now? I mean, look at all the, you know, race problems, and segregations, and violence based on race and everything, like, that was crazy and outright back then, you know what I mean? Like, in front of your face. So, that generational gap was harder to bridge because people were stuck in a mindset already, but you could still compare it, though. Alright, say like when jazz came out, right? When jazz music came out, it was like, “What’s this noise? I want my classical—” whatever popular recorded music was before jazz, I guess even.
ST: Yeah, I wonder, like, was it—mmm. That’s actually a good question.
MM: I mean, jazz is one of the first recorded forms of music. One of the first recordings I think was, like, Dixieland, or something like that.
ST: I believe so. Man, you’re right. But, what was before jazz? That’s a good question.
MM: Like, what was the first recorded [forms of music]? ’Cause there’s sheet music, folky kind of, or classical music.
ST: Classical, for sure.
MM: Ya know, and upper echelon kind of mentality about music, so like, when jazz came out, it was this dirty, grimy club music, “What is goin’ on?” And now, like, I’m thinking about it – me being thirty, and I’m looking at the music now, and I’m like, ugh, the music that’s coming out is kind of trash right now, but it almost seems kind of like on a more, I’m sorry, but on a more objective level. Like, you can scientifically study that, ya know, there’s something going wrong in the music industry, ’cause it’s, ya know, popular music I’m referencing.
ST: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. ’Cause it’s the trajectory of it is, like, off. It’s like, it should have hit this certain plateau of sound, and sonically as well, but it’s kind of like–
MM: Yeah, the growth is hittin’–
ST: Yeah […] it’s reach its peak. But, listening to how we’re speaking about music right now in our thirties, same thing they were doing back in the day.
MM: Right. It was like, “Oh, what’s that noise?”
ST: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Like, we’re literally saying the same thing. So, it’s interesting how that goes.
MM: But, the comparison is that, now, in jazz music, it wasn’t like it was promoting—like, it was promoting something in your consciousness ’cause it was mostly instrumental music, improvisational music, like it was breaking out of structure, so that’s where the first thing was like, “Well, there’s no structure. They’re just riffing for days out here.”
ST: Like, “This note, why is this horn sound here, like just blatant?”
MM: Yeah, like, “That’s a wrong note.” Like, ya know what I mean?
ST: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
MM: Like, “They’re not playing in a scale, proper scale. They’re not in the major scale.” Like, ya know? That kind of analysis of music, which I guess, is even more of an analytical argument that you could put to [jazz specifically]. But, now if you read popular music lyrics, it’s like, “Pop a xanny,” ya can’t even understand what they’re saying sometimes.
ST: Ya really can’t. Ya really can’t.
MM: And that’s what people were saying about rap music even in the beginning, but nnnno, you can understand what they were saying. Like, you know, it wasn’t like that. Like, ya know? Now it’s more of, like, promoting something else. You know what I mean? I feel like it’s promoting something else and it’s not from the streets, this is [supposed to be] the sound of the streets, this is what the industry thinks that should be the sound of the streets, promoted back to the streets. Ya know what I mean? You’re not gonna have your, uh, someone that’s tryna break everyone out of the mentality be popular music, like, you know what I mean?
ST: That’s true. And again, it goes back to–
MM: Unless you have a sound that just–
ST: That’s what I’m saying, it goes back to the sonic, like how it sounds sonically. And–
MM: ’Cause the music itself could be complicated, could be complex, or at least even the minimalist makes you think, “Wow, there’s not much really goin’ on, but this is interesting. It’s doing something to my mind in the music,” but the actual—what the words are saying, that’s the thing I’m talkin’ about, the analysis of the words. It’s like the content. Now, jazz music was instrumental, so how do you–?
ST: True. And when voice was on jazz – and this is sometimes when I can compare it to how the music is now, because I also think at times we give it too much power in regards of, like, what people are saying or not saying when they are saying something – ’cause even back with jazz, like remember, scatting was a whole thing, too.
MM: Right, right.
ST: Like, you really couldn’t make out what they were saying when it was scatting. Some people were using actual words, but it rhythmically, it sounded beautiful. But, think about what was, like, really transforming at that time, ’cause a lot of—and also, a lot of times scatting was like a different language for people to understand each other. Like, kind of like some coded language, coded verbiage.
MM: Yeah, exactly. Coded language is a very important thing when talking–it’s the reason why it was instrumental, it’s like, ya know?
ST: Exactly. Exactly. Like speaking through the music. Like, um, ’cause even my foundation of a rapper, MC, or lyricist, you know, like, that comes from scatting. Like, putting actual words with the rhythm of a scat. So, it’s like–’cause like, if anybody ever asked me, like, “Yo, what kind of music do you do?” As far as me rapping, I would say scat rap. Or, like, jazz rap. Because, bro, I say Jazzy all the fuckin’ time.
ST: That’s my foundation. That’s the idea–
MM: Jazzy with the trademark. [Laughs]
ST: And I still need to trademark that shit. I do.
ST: I definitely need to. Uh, but, yeah, that’s with me enjoying jazz, with me just listening to the different waves of where jazz took you, like you know, Thelonious Monk. That’s why I named myself Sir Thelonious. His music – just how he is on the piano, bro.
MM: Yeah, he was an interesting case. Somebody would look at Thelonious Monk, and be like, “He’s crazy.” Like, he was yellin’, probably was dressed like a madperson on the streets, like yellin’ some days, maybe, I don’t know [editor’s note: There’s really no evidence to suggest he would have these sort of outbursts – on the contrary, Monk had extended bouts of silence]. But, like—and the music he made was, like, jaunty almost […] and people would say he was doin’ it wrong, or something. He was playin’ weird and offbeat, but listen to that.
ST: It’s amazing.
MM: Yeah, like you gotta hear him out, ya know? And I understand that—but was Sir Thelonious—I mean…[MM meant to say Thelonious Monk] [Laughs]
MM: What was Thelonious Monk’s intentions, and everything like that? That’s also another thing, I really feel like jazz music – of course there was the cats that were like, “I’m tryna make the quick buck, I’m tryna play and get these gigs goin’,” but the people that stood out and, like, the legends of the time that were influencing the people that were like, “I gotta make the quick buck and follow the trend, make the quick buck,” the people that were making that music, I don’t even think they were thinking of it in a sense of like, “I’m just tryna make money.” Like, I’m sure Thelonious Monk wasn’t making that much money. Like, I think he was one of the jazz musicians that probably died without a penny to his name kind of story.
ST: I would love to see his story ’cause there’s lots of things I don’t know about him. But that’s the thing with music and artistry as well, so even with everything you just said, that can still be said for these artists nowadays, like the mumble rappers or people saying anything just to like—because it like, sometimes – and I’ve learned this a while ago too – a lot of people make music because the beat is so good, it doesn’t even matter what they’re saying.
MM: Right, yeah.
ST: So, a lot of people would just put words together as if they, like, just freestyled.
MM: And that’s cool. That’s cool.
ST: Yeah. The art of freestylin’ – ya already know. But I don’t think a lot of people think about it to that degree of, like, what I’m saying can translate in a certain way. It’s like, “Fuck. This shit make me feel good, like, when I hear this beat, so I was like, I’m up in the party / shit, I’m sippin’ Bacardi,” ’cause, like, you can get lost in the rhythm of that, which is also like an undercoating, like language too, getting lost in the rhythm. So, that’s why I don’t mind a lot of mumble rappers.
MM: Nah, I don’t mind mumble—like, I don’t mind the genre of mumble rap. I think people would say, “Mumble rap – that sucks.”
ST: Yeah. Nah, it’s—it’s fire. But, yeah.
MM: Yeah. There’s things where it could work. But what is coded in the music, and popular music, when you turn on the radio, what the kids are listenin’ to? They think that’s the life you have to live, and they look up lyrics, and they take the lyrics to heart. It’s like, you could make the argument, “They’re only doing it for the fitting-in-the-rhythm – kinda like scatting,” but, nah, they’re looking up the lyrics, they think that’s cool to do, “I’m gonna take Xanax now and listen to this music to really understand,” because the interesting about drug culture is it’s very intertwined with counterculture, music, and stuff like that, so, “I wanna live the life of the counterculture, so I have to take these drugs to truly get it, to understand, and if I don’t, then I’m not authentic in what I’m listening to.”
ST: Or, “I’m not cool.”
MM: While meanwhile, the actual person that made the song, they just said it on the track, they don’t even do any drugs. [Laughs] You know?
ST: And that’s the thing too, ’cause even if you go back in the day to someone like Jimi Hendrix. Like, he was talking about all the shit he was doin’, like taking all those psychedelics, ya know, like acid and all that shit.
MM: And literally took it every day of his life.
ST: Every day. Yeah, so, it becomes this line, this barrier of like are you trying to implement the music that you hear? Are you trying to implement the lifestyle of the artist that you like? And sometimes, like, they don’t exist within the same realm, they don’t exist within the same space, because what you said, the artist sometimes is not really about that life, but they’re causing an influence on people who are influenced by them, or they are living that life but they’re also tryna tell you not to do it, because this is like, “I’m expressing to you my demons for you to get it through your head, like, yeah it may sound good, and yeah I might make a song about, like, doing xannies and poppin’ pills and shit, but I’m also telling you, like, don’t do this shit. Like, I’m still battling with myself. You don’t know what this industry is like. I’m trying to be the medium of the industry, me, and then my voice to you.”
MM: It’s careful, it has to be articulated in a way. You don’t wanna be corny like, “I do xannies and I’m goin’ out my mind and goin’ crazy and all this stuff–”
ST: Yeah, because again, that doesn’t sell. That doesn’t sell.
MM: Yeah. And like, “Oh, by the way, don’t do what I’m doin’.” [Laughs]
ST: Yeah, but it’s still artistic. And for it to be 2021, bro, it’s no excuse for you not to have a message, and to make it, like, pop for people to really get it, ’cause you can say those things, but if you know what pulls in the kids, what kinda music pulls in the kids – what kinda beats, what kinda rhythms, what kinda cadence – you can still say that, you can still say these things.
MM: Yeah, say the things that are real to you, you know what I mean? And say the things—like, expression is, at the end of the day, the key point of music.
ST: Indeed. Indeed.
MM: I don’t know. Maybe people are just more easily influenced nowadays and [you have] to be more careful with what you say. Can’t diminish what’s happening with music, but the artist has to take more responsibility to break the mold a bit. And, I mean, I know there’s artists that do try to break the mold, but the artist tryna break the mold – it’s the same mentality – they’re not doing that for money, they’re not trying to do it for popularity. It’s hard, it’s a tough game these days, it’s not the same, it’s not the same. I was thinking, like, maybe streaming music, the accessibility to music, and the easiness of listening to music at your convenience is diminishing the value of it, too. It’s, you know—so, it doesn’t matter what’s being said or what you’re hearing now. “I put this on, I put the same playlist of fifty-some-odd songs, because that’s background music of my life, and that’s it.” You don’t realize what those lyrics are doing to you internally, you know what I mean? Like, on the underlying level. You’re just trying to be cool, and maintain–
ST: Trying to be cool, or like, again, the background music. And depending on what you’re doin’, like, you won’t change it. It just keeps goin’ and goin’ and goin’. But, to make another point in regards about influence, I will say that I give kids a lot more credit nowadays as far as, like, kinda just standing in their own truth. It’s moreso like the generation above them that’s kinda still stuck in that wave of, like, really being influenced by these rappers. Like, you’ll see, like, twenty, twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven-year-olds mimicking what they hear in this music rather than kids. Kids nowadays, like teenagers, they’re like, “Oh shit. I just learned about Kid Cudi. Oh shit, Kid Cudi went through some shit, I don’t wanna go through that, but his music is dope. Andre 3000?”
MM: Yeahhh! Yeah, they’re more into older artists, and the 90’s sound, the 90’s aesthetic, and everything like that.
ST: Yeah. Like, the early 2000’s, the early 2000’s hip-hop – alternative hip-hop – is what these kids are moreso, um, kinda influenced by. And, again, that’s teaching them about drugs, that’s teaching them about anxiety, that’s teaching them about depression.
MM: But if you’re really listening – listening listening, like, ya know? You take it all into scope.
MM: Uh, the thing about the early 2000’s and the 90’s is that it’s the albums, so you listen to the album in whole–
ST: Yes, the albums!
MM: It’s like, “Oh, the single’s cool,” of course the single is like a party single, but if you listen to the next song on the album, it’s like, “Careful at the party – wear ya rubbers.”
ST: That’s a fact, like, “Hey / I went to a party / then I went home / I don’t feel good / Yeah.”
ST: [Laughs] Like, shit like that. And that was the era of, like, when albums were really important, too. Like the early to, I would say, the latter years of the 2000’s. Maybe like 2000 to 2007.
MM: Mhm, so funny. 2008, everybody says, 2008 was the turning point for everything.
ST: It was! It was! Because a lot of people’s attention span got shorter. A lot of people wanted to hear music just like the single. And that was kind of in the brink of coming off the Ringtone Era, too. ’Cause, so it’s like, if it’s not like a ringtone song, if it’s not like that catchy, it’s like, “Yeah. Okay. I only wanna hear thirty seconds of this. I wanna hear a minute of this.”
MM: Mhm. Something to repeat at school, like, so you could sound cool in the classroom.
ST: Yeah, and lengths of songs got shorter and shorter and shorter. A song would be, like, four minutes to now it’s like a minute and thirty seconds.
MM: Mhm. Which is cool. I like—I do like kind of shorter songs, like, if you do it well, if you have a lot of changes in short amount of time, but the thing is, it’s not like that. It’s just, like, ya know, you got your hook. It’s a hook for a minute.
ST: Yep. Yeah, it’s like an interlude. It’s like an interlude. Your single is an interlude, which is fire ’cause everybody can’t pull it off, but, yeah. Yeah, man.
[MM and ST crack up]
MM: Yeah. That’s deep.
ST: Very deep. But, ay, you take what you can get from it and you give what you want people to receive from it. So that’s why I’m very conscious about, like, the music that I do, that I have influence on with people, what they take from my music, what I am saying, ’cause there’s a lot of undertones in my music, but at the same time, even me being in a metaphorical state with my lyrics, you still get from it what you need to, and it’s about two to three definitions that you can get. It’s like a, um—wudyoucallit? It’s like a—I just said it the other day, too. It’s like a triple entendre of, like, ways that you can take my lyrics, ’cause I want you to think, like, I rap about shit to make you think. I don’t you to ever walk away from you hearing me rap, and just be like, “I knew exactly everything he was talking about because it made this sense in this one pattern.” It’s like, “Nah, like damn, like, wait, hold on. That shit kinda connected to, like, the first song on the album.” Like–and that’s why, like, I’m big on the albums too. Like, my first album echoes of a (nu)bian soul was connected each track ’cause the whole album told a story. And, it’s like, you can listen to that shit on a single play or, like even if you skip to another song, sonically still where I just left you from the other one. So, intention.
MM: Yeah, that was a genius piece of art, man. I love that.
ST: I appreciate it, bro. I wanna get that album on vinyl, like, so bad. I might make that a gift for myself ’cause it’s gonna be six years this year, just the original release.
MM: Wow. I wanna play those songs live again.
ST: Yeah! Yeah! Aw, bro–
MM: Those were my favorite live experiences.
ST: So, [Mufasa’s] favorite song of mine is cnn..
ST: And that’s one song that we jam hard on.
MM: Woooo! [Laughs] I still feel the energy.
ST: That’s the—that’s the spirit! Yo! That energy takes over all of us, man.
MM: Feel the build up. [Laughs]
ST: Yeah! Like, right? Like. We jus’ perked up when we said it, like. That song still holds so much power, man. So much power.
MM: Yo, but, manumission..
ST: manumission is the jaun, too. Aw, the bassline on that one when you play the bass?
MM: All credits to Tamen [Hade] on that one, but playing that bassline, the intensity of that bassline, and playing that song – yo, I’m not lying – when we were playing with the Max drummer and everything, I swear I was about to cry, man. The song was touchin’ my soul.
ST: Like, that’s what it’s about, man. That’s what it’s about. From, like, the instrumentation that goes into it, from the lyrics, from how it gels together, how it’s being performed, how it’s being received. Like, it’s a trance. It’s like a necessary trance. It’s like you’re still in the full embodiment of what’s going on, but at the same time you’re allowed to, like, escape that for a second to kinda see yourself outside of that experience for you to really have control over what’s going on. It’s like–that was the single for the project, bro. So, that song means a lot to me. That was the—I think that was the last song I recorded for the album. And, yeah, manumission.. into cnn.., like, those two songs, they’re parallels, like. But, yeah. But definitely working on some new music this year. I’m pushing myself to release an album this year. I’m gonna do a very, like, “Oh shit! Sir Thelonious got a new album out?!” […] I’m just gonna release it, and, um, there’s gonna be a build up to it. Like, I’m gonna make it aesthetically creative.
MM: Are you gonna have some of the others songs that you put out? Like, the one hits that you put out? Like, se7en transits?
ST: So, that, if I do, it’s gonna have to be on a different beat because that’s a J Dilla beat that I recorded on.
ST: So, a lot of stuff that’s on Soundcloud is on somebody else’s beat.
MM: But that’s cool, I mean, to have those tracks just floatin’ around and have the project be an entirely different thing.
ST: That’s true. That’s true. So, even with that, se7en transits ago.., the second part of the verse was the last video I did for Thelonious Tuesdays. So, I’m rolling it out, slowly but surely. Like, I’m tryna see how long I’m gonna do Thelonious Tuesdays every week. Uh, I’m gonna kinda switch it up soon, maybe do some’ with beats, and just get real creative widdit, man. ’Cause that’s, again, pushing me more to, like, record, to work on beats, to write, all that jazz, so. The music is there, and that’s one thing that I was reawakening within myself, ’cause it was a while when I wasn’t doing anything. I wasn’t doing anything. The most I was doing was doing photography, and even that was, like, kinda, like. Yeah, so. I don’t wanna say I’m back in the space that I should be in, but I’m finally feeling full.
MM: I know what you mean. I’m getting to that point, too. Ya know? ’Cause I’m somebody that has a million and one things always happening to the point where it’s like I can’t do any of it because I got too much now, and I have to, like, take a step back. Uh, I’m writing a book, I actually just finished writing a book.
ST: Congrats, man.
MM: Yeah. Um, tryna get that to an editor, get it officially edited, and all that stuff. And then, um, I was doing the beats for a little bit, making Seventh Jhana and everything.
ST: Yeah. I remember, yeah.
MM: Yeah, and I was bringing that back, because that vibe is just–
ST: Yeah, that’s how I met you, like, on that vibe.
ST: Like, when I saw you do the show with Rughda.
MM: Right, uh-huh.
ST: And then when I did my little research on you, I was like, “Oh. This dude is dope. He makes beats too?”
MM: Yeah, exactly. So, I was getting back into that and doing it with Beatstars, like, I wanna make it something. Get it out there and work with people that are beyond just me making the beats and putting it on Soundcloud. Put value to it in a way, ya know? But it’s hard. It almost conflicts with my own self in a way, it’s like, “Well, it’s Seventh Jhana, though,” and it’s like a spiritual feeling, and it’s like, is it for money? Or is it for—so it put me in a mind state where it can get confused almost, and I’m like, “Well, this is Seventh Jhana.” Like, it gets too much into the ego, but that’s the thing I have to, like, get myself beyond as well, um, and just do it, and forget the label of it.
ST: You gotta do it. ’Cause I was doing the same thing with my music, like. ’Cause, again, a lot of spirituality is talked about in my music to a point where I wasn’t even allowing myself to, like, have people pay for my music. It’s like, this is gonna reach you the way that it was supposed to, but also giving people that option of paying for your art is a beautiful thing.
MM: Yeah, exactly. I mean, it’s time. Look at it as more of your donating to the cause, like, ya know?
ST: There ya go. Exactly. Exactly.
MM: If, you know, you wanna see me survive in life, ya know, unfortunately money is the bows and arrows, ya know? So, supply me so I can live, so I can focus on this.
ST: Thas real. Thas real.
MM: Um, so, that’s the mentality. But, yeah, I gotta put you on some of the new beats that I did, too.
ST: Please do. Please do.
MM: I do have it on Beatstars, and if you ever want one of the beats, I won’t make you pay for it. [Laughs]
ST: Word? Nah, don’t tell me that, bro. Don’t tell me that.
MM: ’Cause, also, with making beats, it’s like, I don’t wanna get myself stuck in a style. I have so many ideas, I would wanna make Seventh Jhana beyond making beats. I would wanna make that a full experience, you know? I would love to have, like, a horn section, do a live band, and use those beats to make ’em into live performances, and like, parts where it’s jazz, essentially, ya know? So, I always want to hold on to that for the rest of my life.
ST: [Laughs] As you should. I like that.
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