Fort Collins rapper Epoch When offers some lyrical insight into his GRIM state of mind
"Dark Side" from GRIM by Epoch When
Life is not a box of treats. It's the teeth
After we chomp on a chocolate feast in a pompous fashion and waft that tweak.
Jesus. Half of the first half kept me clueless. Sang and danced in the wrong left shoes
When an angel was passing and hands me 'shrooms
and a fanciful cancer would pass me through
Like. This is trippin', this is thinkin', this is sick
When shit just sinks in. This illegal? Skip the system. Let me get a zip
And then some. I can fly. Fuck the shuttle. What's a park-n-ride.
Kingdom of the free so what's the fun without the dark side.
In these lyrics, Epoch eschews traditional standards for a darker, more twisted mode of thought. To illustrate this, he begins with a brilliant inversion of the cliche, "Life is like a box of chocolates," that sucks the sweetness from the well-known trope and connects it with something disgusting by conjuring the image of methamphetamine-rotted teeth. But combined with the ugly images are resiliently defiant ones: dancing in the "wrong left shoes," an angel handing the speaker shrooms and "fanciful cancer."
Drugs provide much of the energy here and, according to Epoch, inform his understanding of the dark side. The 'shrooms induce a state in the speaker which is both cancerous and heaven sent. On the one hand, the drugs are illegal, conventionally immoral and distorting. On the other hand, they're freeing: "This is trippin', this is thinkin', this is sick." The lyrics finally climax at an apex of delusion, "I can fly," and angry joy, "fuck the shuttle...what's the fun without the dark side."
"I think the song is a lot about how much the world hides its dark side, how ashamed of the bad side of people they are of themselves....You're all so willing to go out of your way to show us what's great about you, but where's your bad side? Show us that....Everything looks like flowers and puppies and really beautiful and good, but when you really dig deep into it, there's a lot of dark and negative and terrible and scary things about life kind of ignored....Pop music, at least, everything's happy and we're always partying and there's no repercussions, and that's so false!
"The beginning of my thinking about the opposite side of every point of view, and different perspectives, I think I owe it all to hallucinogens, honestly...once I started seeing certain things for what they were, just feeling wronged, really almost betrayed by just everything, you know....I guess a good metaphor for it is, in the Matrix, when he [Morpheus] says, 'Take the blue pill or the red pill.' With the red pill, you don't get to go back to the happy life of naiveté and ignorance. You're out of it by choice, but at the same time you know the truth. So would you rather be dumb and happy or would you rather know the truth about things?"