Tuesday, 30 September 2014

3 n' Pass

Amidst all the madness of the Grasshopper happenings, I was spending all of my free time working on my passion... My rap group "3 n' Pass" with Mike C. and Mike Myre. As much as I was loving being in a band, rap music was my true passion at the time. I believe Derek felt somewhat threatened by this fact, as he always seemed uneasy when I spoke of what we were up to. Perhaps because I had so much fire in me when it came to this project... It was my baby... my brainchild... Regardless, I was pumped to be apart of two bands, one that was on the uprise, and one that was starting at the bottom.

Myself and the two Mike's had a few songs under our belt now. We had started off with "The Immigrant Rhyme" our track using Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" and it was quite a success. We ended up shooting a video for it even, and it was one of the most fun experiences I had partaken in during the year of 1992.

We had also made a few more songs using our same recipe of me looping beats on my dad's JVC tape deck, Myre providing keyboard and synth riffs via a cheap Casio keyboard as well as drum hits compliments of his cheesy little drum machine, and Mike C. cutting up records on the "wheels of plastic" yes, we had a shitty old plastic turntable. We actually had to tape pennies on the needle cartridge to prevent it from skipping when Mike was scratching vinyl. Since we were doing everything on Derek's four track recorder, we had to run multiple channels into a mixer, then run the mixer into the four track, enabling us to mix four separate tracks down to one track.

As far as microphones went, we were pretty ghetto in that department too, as we made due with a small plastic mic from a 1970's cassette recorder and "the rap mic" The rap mic was actually a novelty kids toy we found at Toys R Us. It had pre programmed beats you could rap over, or you could rap acapella. It also had a jack on it giving one the ability to plug it into anything. Since we only had two microphones we actually had to pass the mic off after we finished spitting a line, which meant two mics in rotation between three guys when recording vocals.

Our second song we did was called "Fry-Day" and as you can imagine it was all related to marijuana. We sampled music from The Jackson Five's "Enjoy Yourself" which was a happy, up tempo funky track. The lyrics were comedically playful, and we just had a whole lot of fun with this track. I'd say it was collectively the fave amongst the group.

Eventually Myre decided to try his hand at producing a track, and he came to us with a song that went on to be titled "3 n' Pass" named after our band of course. Mike used samples from Celtic Frost and RUN D.M.C. to put together this little ditty. In our first two tracks we attempted to emulate the Beastie Boys style of passing the mic, but for this song we decided to each do our own verse, which gave some nice separation and range to the track.

The song turned out so well that Mike decided to take another stab at production. Once again he used yet another RUN D.M.C. beat accompanied by some heavy synths. The track had a happy and positive fun party vibe, so we decided to write lyrics depicting a fictional party we attended together. This song came to be known as "Fryday the 13th" and I always got so pumped up and energized whenever I heard it or whenever we jammed it.

As our musical tastes expanded it began to show through in our music. For our next song we stepped out of the box and sampled a song from noise legends Sonic Youth. We incorporated it with a break beat from a song that escapes me now, but it gave the track some nice separation going from slow and low to fast and furious. We ended up dubbing this one "Weird n' Willy" a chorus that we came up with after the song had been completed.

We now had five songs and we we're excited to share them amongst our friends. Myres through together a little intro and outro, and we had enough material to make our very own homemade demo. As I compiled it all via Derek's four track, I decided to add on a bonus track. I still had live jams from the early days of our inception, one of which was a jam of Cypress Hill's "Real-estate" so I dumped the music into the four track, wrote some quick lyrics, then recorded them. Needless to say the guys were a bit surprised.

We ended up making a few more music videos as well with Mike's trusted camcorder. We shot vids for Fry-Day, 3 n' Pass, and Weird n' Willy. It seemed like each video we made just got better, as we were learning tricks to edit more smoothly as well as getting more creative in our cinematography. Eventually we aired all of our videos at our buddy John Waller's place one weekend, since he was having a party and coincidentally had a huge tv that was probably about 50-60 inches. Everyone got a kick out of the videos, and as insecure as I felt, I was happy that our friends appreciated what we had done.

We were always trying to do something different with our music, and even though we were inspired by the Beastie Boys, we strived to have our own sound and not come off as a complete and total rip off.  We had used samples of heavy music before, but this time we decided to get even heavier. We ended up using a loop from Slayer's "Seasons In The Abyss" for our next track, and it was heavy as hell. As per usual, we needed an uptempo breakbeat, so we threw in a loop from a SCHOOLLY D track. It felt like every new song we did got better, and naturally became our personal new favourite. This hit came to be known as "Straight Outta The Abyss".

We ended up doing a cassette single for the song, the original Slayer version, and a second version with just the simple beat from the rap mic with a bit of live guitar noise provided by Mike C. I even went as far as to create covers for our demos and to come up with our independent label "Weed Of Wisdom Inc" and "Bot-Spot Records" in ode to our session spot at Lester B. Pearson school, the birth place of our rhymes and ideas. Looking back at this stuff, the audio quality was terrible, a lot of our rhymes were corny, and we were lacking in rhythm for most of our lyrical deliveries. None of that mattered. We were doing what we loved with a fiery passion and we were having a hella fun time doing it.

I was curious to see where the road was going to lead this rap-tastic endeavor...

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