When we reach the house, P.O.S. follows her through the unlocked front door and we head down into the basement studio, a series of tiny, record-clogged rooms. These chambers sometimes get so hot that the rappers have stripped down to their skivvies to record. "It smells like boy," says Dessa.
Sims, the youngest Doomtree MC, is here--fully clothed, by the way--nodding his close-shaven head to a massive, wall-rattling bass sample. He's watching a scruffy Cecil Otter run through a song for tonight's gig at the Dinkytowner. "She smells like Mocha foam and showbiz while I pull my own weight," raps Otter. "That's broken home aerobics and she pulls the wool great."
When the music goes silent, P.O.S. claps Otter around the shoulder, his smile as wide as I've seen it all day. "That's really fucking hot, dude," he says.
Dessa asks, "That's so good, what is that?"
"I just wrote it on the bus and tried to get something done for the show, for the beginning tonight," says Otter.
"You've been looking to do the 'broken-home aerobics' line a while," laughs Dessa.
No pieces of shit in this room.
5) P.O.S. = Promise of Stress
12:30 a.m., the Dinkytowner, Fourth Street and 14th Avenue Southeast
Nothing goes smoothly at the club that night. The show has been slackly promoted, one Doomtreer tells me, and the room is half full. Performing with Medida, Dessa bashes her mouth with the microphone. ("I've been bleeding into each one of my poems," she says later.) Sims forgets a line. ("Couldn't finish the verse, it's all good," he says. "I'm fucking hungry!") And Cecil Otter blanks out on the rap he wrote at the bus station, letting the beat play out as Tom Servo scratches over the freshly burned CD.
Only a few minutes into his set, P.O.S. finds himself out of breath. "So are you guys having trouble dealing with the fat, sweaty smoker onstage right now?" he says between songs. "I'm joining Bally's, motherfuckers. I'll come back and kill you all."
He's already been onstage tonight, having played hype man for Sims earlier, fist in the air, screaming: "It's the war against drugs/And it's the war against terrorists/No fuck that, it's the war against us!" Now Sims will play hype man to him, yelling, "Promise of Stress" at a moment's pause.
For a few bars, P.O.S. is rapping faster than Twista: "I'm on some killer beginner shit/I'm a killer beginner/Feeling the winter is cold/I got sold a sinner." His husky flow is as rich as MF Doom's, but more precise, and the beat is rare--a hectic combination of Missy-style stop/start and jump-up drum 'n' bass.
"I'm just a killer beginner breaking the mold."
When the track gives way to an a capella coda, though, P.O.S. loses his rhythm. "You don't want to act like it's been done--pluh bah duh, fuck!" he says.
But he isn't alone up there. "My boy Sims is gonna help me," he shouts, "and you guys will, too."
6. P.O.S. = Putting off Sleep
4:15 a.m. Doomtree house, 31st Street and Garfield Avenue South
P.O.S., Dessa, and Kai return home, exhausted but elated. The show was good, they say, despite the snags. Over the next few hours, several important facts come out: