Secret Bonus Level presents:
First things first, right?
Michael Truitt, a myth of a man from the fringes of Richmond’s music scene, was due to guest star on this episode, which would’ve been extra awesome because it was also his birthday! It turned out that he couldn’t make it, so we dedicated this entire episode to him instead. We talked about how he offers deeply discounted tattoos to cover up self-harm scars, his musicianship in electronic music, and his rap mentorship to our own Noah Page. Noah Page even performed a little rap about Woody Goody, one of Michael Truitt’s alter-egos. See also: Ivana Inkya, AndroidGenius, and Rainbow Eagle. Why does Michael need so many names? Two answers. First, because he does so many things (electronic music, rap, tattoo, make-up). Second, because he KNOWS HOW TO BE A RAPPER probably better than a lot of these guys we normally mess with. LOL, for real! You have to have lots of rap names, everybody. Rappers are supposed to have LOTS of names. Don’t ask me why. For example: Big Baby Jesus, O.D.B., Dirt Dog, Dirt McGirt, Osiris. Is that confusing? DUH yeah it is! That’s just how you do it! Anyway, for more about our man of the hour, Mr. Truitt, you can look him up on Instagram @rainbow.eagle or on Soundcloud as Michael Truitt or if that isn’t enough Michael for you then you can message him on either one and he’ll tell you how to find all his other stuff! He’s all over the internet with all the crazy stuff he does!
Anyway, we unlocked two new secret characters on tonight’s show: Deco and O.L.S. Both of these guys really impressed us in their first turn on the show.
Deco’s got this incredible deep raspy voice for rap. In fact, our crew liked his voice so much that it was suggested that we ask him to record some intro/outro voice overs for Secret Bonus Level. You know, “Secret Bonus Level will return after these messages.” Deco is also a man of SOLID written verses, which we love to have on our show. Of course we love to freestyle, but including writtens in a cypher makes it a whole new animal. The preparation that goes into a written verse tends either add a level of quality or else show us a side of a rapper that we wouldn’t see when they’re going off the top. So Deco was a treat. The actual sound of his voice combined with the style and content of his lyrics makes for the kind of immersive listen that a lot of rappers fail to achieve.
Deco reminds me of PHD Khari in that regard. Khari, like Deco, is another guy who makes you feel like you’re listening to his song the moment he starts rapping over The Secret Bonus Level Band. The Secret Bonus Level Band is such an unusual animal. They have their own sound and style that’s REALLY good but also REALLY specific. As you listen to our show, you’ll definitely notice that some guys try to conform to the band’s sound and just fit in with it, whereas others make you feel like you’re listening to THEIR song and MAKE the moment theirs. Like Khari or Deco. I think it’s a combination of the confidence and style he exudes along with this sense you get that he’s comfortable being himself lyrically. Developing his own technique has given him the ability to really control the microphone when he gets on it. He’s not some guy spitting a verse to go along with everything else. When he raps, it’s his verse.
Dub was back on the show this week too! Another guy with a talent level on par with Deco and Khari. Dub’s delivery is his strength. He’s another guy with some very nice written verses too, don’t get me wrong! But we really don’t talk enough about the actual sound of someone’s voice when we talk about rap music. It’s weird. In rock, people talk about Tom Wait’s growl, Ben Gibbard’s children’s choir kindergarten teacher affectations, whatever. But tone of voice is equally important in rap, and Dub is a prime example of how to do it RIGHT. Just listen back to his Can You Rap to That? over The Backstreet Boys. Just the sound of his voice made “I Want It That Way” a hard, legitimate rap song. Dub hadn’t been on in a few weeks before this, and we missed him!
This() was also back! He’s a rapper who has the special ability to make stuff up off the top of his head that cracks EVERYONE up. Fun and being funny are such important parts of our show’s character and feel, so we loving having guys like This() who keep us laughing, keep it light, and keep us all feeling good and loose. He’s also probably our most official freestyler on Secret Bonus Level. I don’t think he’s ever done a written! I could be wrong though. But he’s a SERIOUS freestyler. In fact, the first night I met him, he insisted on coming over and rapping with Noah Page in the living room for a solid like 3 hours, barely taking a breath. An impressive guy all around too, it’s sort of inspiring just to talk to him about his business ventures. I don’t want to spoil the surprise when he unveils some of the awesome stuff he’s got in the works, but he’s a super motivated dude who is really out there trying to make something new.
Am I forgetting O.L.S.? The other new secret character that we just unlocked on this episode? Nah. I’m not. He’s just one of those guys I’m reluctant to say too much about, only because I know so little about him. I wasn’t free to talk with him when he arrived at the studio or when he left. Literally the only time we exchanged any words was on the air. One thing I can say about that though: he is super professional. He was probably a little confused (like everyone is on their first week) about what was even going on in slight chaos of our show. But he handled himself well, rapped at an above average level, and was super nice and respectful to everyone he crossed paths with at the radio station. Still, I like to really get a feel for a dude’s personality before I write a lot about him. Which is why I’m going to see him perform on Wednesday October 4th at Club Infuzion! It’s at 1401 Roseneath, if you haven’t been there yet, and the rap shows going down at that place are getting SERIOUS. Deco is also performing! In fact, I think it’s like O.L.S. and Deco’s crew, Invader Syndicate, who are spearheading this whole event. And our good friend MC Correct is on the bill too!
That reminds me: I owe MC Correct a public apology. So, of course you know that on our show we do our ABSOLUTE best to abide by the FCC’s standards and regulations. Well, this past episode we struggled with it a little more than usual. Mind you, we didn’t violate ANY codes of conduct or rules or anything. But maybe we came closer than usual? Toed the line a little? Haha, anyway, that meant that Noah Page was EXTRA on his toes and watching out for any potential slip ups. Basically being the language-police. Which, hey, it’s not a fun job. Somebody has to do it though. So after struggling with that ALL NIGHT, MC Correct got up to rap for the FIRST time all show right toward the end. And you guys know how we WAIT for MC Correct to rap. He’s always good. Always on point with it. And sometimes he MAKES us wait. He won’t rap all the way until the last 10 minutes sometimes and everyone is like, “FINALLY, okay.” So, he starts rapping about falcons. And Noah Page, who has been stressing about trying to keep profanity off the air all night, hears the word “falcon” (which sounds kind of a lot like a word you can’t say on the radio, right?) over and over again out of the corner of his ear (if that’s a thing?) and he goes on the air, INTERRUPTING MC Correct like a total jerk, and goes, “Hey now! Remember to keep it clean!” And then literally EVERYONE on Secret Bonus Level turned and looked at Noah Page like, “HE SAID FALCON!” LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
Speaking of hilariously epic fails, Can You Rap to That? was pretty amazingly terrible tonight. LOL! I mean, we all gave it our best try. HAHA! I’m not hating on it! First of all, there were some really great moments in it. PHD Khari and Dub both come to mind as dudes who stuck out and had some REALLY good stuff in Can You Rap to That? this week. No lie! They very nearly saved the whole thing! But overall, nobody could make it through an entire beat without passing the mic like 5 seconds in. And all the SINGING! This is the first time we’ve ever had to address the fact that this game is NOT a sing-a-long! Literally, everyone kept just going, “Oh, I know this song!” and started singing along to it. But anyway, the fact that Can You Rap to That really, totally sucks sometimes is what makes it GREAT. It’s always an in the moment, one-time only experience that takes people out of their comfort zones and creates new, special things. It’s supposed to be goofy sometimes! It if wasn’t, it wouldn’t be REAL. And it’s supposed to suck sometimes, for the same reason. And this time, it totally did! LOLOLOL! Hey guys, it’s not how you win or lose, it’s how you play the game, right? And since Can You Rap to That? is just about trying your best, even if your best sucks, I think that losing is still winning. Because in a larger, cosmic way, there will always be a best and worst of everything. Having a worst is important. And I really loved how bad it was, for the record. And as bad as it was, it could’ve been WAY worse. I think we can set the bar even lower if we tried. I really hope we do too! I want there to be ones that are even WORSE! For real! It’s great. Maybe I sound crazy saying so, but I’ve got all kinds of weird ideas. And good or bad, Can You Rap to That? is always enjoyable, always memorable, always an important experience for all humanity.
Anyway, the band has next week off. But we don’t! So what does that mean? Something weird and different will air in place of our normal Secret Bonus Level stuff, to be sure. Who knows what it’ll be! Tune in to find out!
Jazz Poets Society, “A Hip-Hop Poem”
from Poet's Lounge
5th Child Records - 1997
The Secret Bonus Level Band, “The 28th Cypher of September, Part 1”
WRIR - 2017
The Secret Bonus Rappers, “Can You Rap To That?”
WRIR - 2017
The Secret Bonus Level Band, “The 28th Cypher of September, Part 2”
WRIR - 2017
NoahPage 216 September 28th, 2017