|Title art for the song, "Kings." The song is intentionally|
edited, for reasons that are spoke on a bit here.
First, it is an attempt to make listeners work for a reward, something like a secret code that I've encrypted only for them to hear. Listening to a Speed on the Beat song takes patience, because the song is purposefully made to sound like I recorded it in my folk's basement circa 1987. Those with the patience to wade through the murkiness will find gems amongst the audio "filth" that comes with a no-fi recording. Adding to the bond I seek to establish between myself and the listener, the music I create in this no-fi manner is quite self-referential. While, yes, my goal in music is to teach others from my mistakes, I like for each track to seem as if I'm all but whispering into the listener's ear the location of the Fountain of Youth while on my deathbed.
Secondly, in this age of everything being overprocessed and digital, no-fi music celebrates modernity while condemning it. Essentially, it allows a listener to say "wow, we've come so far, and should continue to strive for excellence and evolution" while also saying "hey, world, if we stop now, what is considered as state-of-the-art now will seen archaic later." Through the comforts of modernity comes a bit of laziness, a sense of entitlement. By stripping away the gloss, as my no-fi approach does, you're left with jarring sounds that, in some ways, have no place in modern rap music. And, it is with those "misplaced" sounds that I make the argument that if we become complacent and constantly feel entitled to things we haven't earned, our species will die and we will have to start over.
Finally, one last thing I want to address: the "Speed Flow." You know, when you hear a SOTB song and for a couple bars, it sounds like I'm running out of breath and/or rapping faster than I should/can? There's a purpose behind that as well (nine times out of ten). First, it's supposed to represent the strain the lyrics I'm recording have taken on my personal life and mental/physical well-being. What I talk about is shit that isn't "shiny," such as losing your family because you decided to do foul shit, strippers, etc. Secondly, in the case of "Kings," I take the "Speed Flow" and intentionally blank out the profanities. This kind of leads to a huge choppy presentation, but it's, as always, intentional and with an explanation.
An excerpt from my submission to Al Shipley (and part of all my submissions regarding "Kings") explains this even further:
Playing on a "traditionally mainstream" beat, "Kings" features "non-traditional" lyrics--and an intentionally "edited" song; the editing is done for two reasons. First, I'm attempting to differentiate the song from others of its ilk. Secondly, the song's subtitle is "Edited into the Echelon." By "editing" the song into a form that is "mainstream-friendly," I hope to achieve that rise into the upper echelon of hip-hop while still promoting lyricism and discussions about the everyday struggles of man--and humanity as a whole.
Update, 6/27/14: I have all but perfected no-fi into a way that presents audible lyrics, but maintains the original intent. I call this, for shits and giggles, medium-fi.