Q&A with Time
CS: I had opened up for him here and there and he always said he liked my voice and he said he would make me a beat. So he did. That's when the first Skyrider band album dropped, the second one's not out yet. They toured all over for about a year and we kind of lost touch. Then he said he was going to give me a verse but his computer crashed and he lost everything. But then he gave me a new beat. Then we started becoming friends and whenever he was in town we hung out. We just agree on a lot of things and have fun.
We both love commercial rap a lot. We both love Jay-Z, Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne, Scarface--we're all big fans of that. Most underground rap I listen to is still good, but they like crazy stuff like Nurse With Wound, Cut Copy, Fad Gadget.
WW: C-Rayz Walz contributes to the song "Paraghnoid." How did you come to work with him and why did he end up collaborating on that song in particular?
CS: C-Rayz was out here for a while because he got into some B.S. legal trouble in Indiana--some kind of racial profiling case. He didn't have enough money to beat it so he came out here. AwareNess knows some girl in Philly, I believe, who knows him. We ran into him and talked to him about that and he said he could do a track on my album. We gave him that beat and he loved it. I told him to do it on the topic of paranoia and he did a great job. It was a creative verse where he talks about being too afraid to do drugs because he's afraid they'll do him.
WW: There are a lot of mordantly clever puns on your new album. You're definitely known for your skillful turns of phrase, why are those kinds of puns so attractive to you?
CS: I think most people talk in platitudes like "What goes around comes around," "No way José," "There's a chip on my shoulder" - they just hit you with stuff. Or stuff like "My political view is that I'm a socialist" or "My political view is George Bush is Satan." People use a lot of generalizations. So on like on the Calm album when I say "I got a Dorito on my shoulder" or "Goodbye Fool World" it gets the redundant hamster wheel in your head to stop. For most people they stop listening and that's why we have AwareNess because he has the great beats.
That's what we want to do--it's the whole balance between entertainment and poetry. Now we're not poets. I'm not beating on a drum with a Kangol, tapping glasses, smoking cigarettes and snapping my fingers. I'm not at the Mercury Café explaining "dust on a flower" in an extremely slow manner to where it sounds important. I'm doing something in a funky manner because I grew up in North Denver and AwareNess grew up in Park Hill and that's how we had fun--playing basketball and free styling. We weren't talking about children dying and tapping on drums but I respect where that came from.
On the other hand, that is what we're trying to do--trying to wake people up with music. And that's what those puns are. Plus it's just having fun with the language. It's your swagger. You hear the new Jay-Z album where he says, "She was on the Ponzi scheme the way she just made off." It's just the way you can play with the words and flip them.
WW: You're a regular guest lecturer at a Littleton High School where there's a course on your lyrics. How did that come about and what does it involve?
CS: They teach a whole semester about my first three albums and now they're adding Naked Dinner to the curriculum. We've actually gotten in trouble with the principal quite a few times and it's been sorted out. It came about because the teacher asked some students to bring in the lyrics to their favorite songs and some student brought in a mix tape that had "Treat Me Like a Villain" when only .Calm was out. The teacher emailed me--he didn't think we were from here. I told him we were and I offered to send him a couple of albums and if he wanted, we could come in and talk to his students. He went crazy for it--he's a great guy named Tom Uhl. He even brought out The Hold Steady. He was working with The Flobots before that. He teaches about our albums and my progression. He teaches them about similes and allegory. The tests he has on our albums I can't even pass.
Time, CD Release with Whygee, Agent Strange and Damon JeVon & Doctype, 8 p.m. Thursday, October 8, 7 S. Broadway, $5, 720-570-4500.