A SONG FOR YOU...
"The Songstress" by Lester Kern
Back in the day, I had a studio in the back room of my crib in Oakland. My man at the time, TLE (the original Last Emperor), moved in with his equipment and I gave him the back room to use to make beats, or record vocals with his folks from around the way. I helped him buy Del the Funkee Homosapien’s old SP1200, and later on I added a portable DAT machine to the collection of equipment. So while I went to work in a San Francisco highrise, often for 80 hours a week or more, TLE stayed in the crib and made beats. Sometimes I’d come home to a house full of his homies, other times he’d be back there alone for hours hitting the keys. But as “house husbands” go he was fine, we had a good relationship for the most part, and he cleaned the house and cooked Enchiladas some nights; which was cool. When he left, he took the equipment…of course. Since there are no prenuptial agreements for live-in boyfriends, I had to let the DAT go.
Over the years I’ve watched the homies fuck with SP’s, MPC’s, Korg Triton keyboards (shit, keep it real, Casio keyboards!), Technics 1200s, mixers, ASR’s, EPS’s, ProTools, Frooty Loops, Reasons, DAT, CDR, analog, digital, acoustic, Fender Rhodes keys, four-track recorders and multi-million dollar digital boards – and everything in between. I’ve been in the studio with DJ Premier, Dr. Dre, and so many others. I've managed the office of a recording studio in Oakland where Tupac, Mac Mall, Too $hort, Master P, The Luniz, Mystic, Digital Underground, and most of the Bay Area legends recorded their hits. I’ve been to Ice-T’s Hollywood Hills home studio with his DJ Evil E, and inside Miami’s Hit Factory studios with Irv Gotti while waiting to interview Ashanti. I've sat in the studio with Just Blaze, blazed in the studio waiting for Tragedy Khadafi.
I've brought homemade hoecakes to the studio to feed Lord Scotch, Kurious Jorge, and GM Grimm during a historical session. I’ve witnessed Doom sample my oldies collection and turn it into myriad albums and singles; plus mix and prepare to master two LPs in my Brooklyn studio apartment – The Downfall of Iblys and M.I.C.’s Escape from Monsta Island. Not to mention the times I've spent with the Hit Squad in the original home studio where EPMD cut their biggest records... I've seen and heard it all, live and in living color, and half the story will never be told.
But until yesterday, I’ve never had anyone make a beat, specifically for me, and pass me a mic to lay down a rough vocal.
It’s the moment I’ve been preparing for most of my life. Ever since I started singing at the age of 5, or songwriting not too long after, I’ve been waiting to make a song. I’ve sung so many hooks for so many records that so many people will never hear; and I’ve written so many dozens of songs over the years…I even have lyrics and melodies I wrote at the tender age of 13 on deck. But only yesterday, May 23, 2005, did I finally start to make a record. I’ve been gotten over my nerves when it comes to belting ‘em out. Ever since Evil Dee asked me to sing for Dru Ha, then Dru Ha made me sing for Buckshot and Tek and Steele, one after the other, in San Francisco when they were touring Enta Da Stage...I’ve been over my nerves. I sang “Feel the Fire” for all of them, and I remember them looking at me like “Damn, this b&%ch can really sing!” Of course, nothing ever came of it. I recorded some vocals in Oakland with A-Plus on the beats for Vanylla Chile, who’s Saafir’s sister…and it was a dope collabo! Alas, not released ever that I know of.
So this is not the speaking that I did for Grimm’s LP or Madvillainy… This is my first solo song, and as of today it’s just a rough cut, basically in pre-production. But it’s laid. And as I write this I’m sure my producer’s working on tightening up the beat and adding some drums, an 808, maybe some cuts; so I can get in one of the bigger studios and lay for-real vocals. I’ve been rocking so many elements for so long, but singing and songwriting I’ve been rocking the longest, and rocking the hardest, of them all. So I’m sending massive props to DJ KAY-A for sittin’ down and crafting that beat from some Love Unlimited Orchestra samples I had in my Adidas bag. Even though I’m laying vocals, this is strictly Hip Hop. Just a collaboration between a B-Boy DJ/Producer, and a B-Girl who’s universal and loves to sing. I can’t wait to hear what it’s gonna sound like when it’s done…but I’ve waiting this long, and I’m still here. It’s time to show and prove what I came here to do. And to all the snitches, bitches and haters; it’s all TRUE.