Rapper Metasota decided he'd give us a gift for his birthday on January 19th with the free release of 9-track project H.I.P. (Happy I'm Present: 2 Week Theory), a solid and inventive album created on a whim in 14 days.
The timeframe is beside the point, though. There are a number of strong ideas and well-expressed moods throughout that make this anything but a slipshod record. Stream the album below and read Meta's track by track breakdown to get some insight on this excellent offering, and check out his release party this Friday at the Fine Line.
Meta: The morning of the 19th, the very last song I did was the first song, "Ben Bias". Everything I wrote just came out. That was just something I had on my mind. I feel like, with as much talent as there is up here, it's not always talked about in the media. Like with Mod Sun [ed: hippie-hop rapper Mod Sun also helped mix and master H.I.P.], he's about to be on Warped Tour, he was in Rolling Stone, shit, how is he not on the cover of City Pages? He made his own lane doing this, in a matter of three years. That's remarkable. I've talked to him about it. He's like, 'Man, I'm doing fine without it," It does kinda suck though. I can see his frustration. I can see where he's coming from. But he's just one of many out here. I could name 30 people that are just grinding all the time, completely talented individuals... Not something that's just good for now, they could have a career in this.
Ghetto Blaster BoomBoom
Gimme Noise: Do you get nostalgic for the days of cassettes?
Meta: Oh yeah. Absolutely. You'd go get that single, then there was another song on the B-Side that was sometimes even doper than the song you were expecting, and it would be the song, the instrumental, and the acapella! That's incredible, and it was like 2 bucks! I was the type of kid, I would rush to open it up and look at the producer credits. Who produced it, who wrote it... I like that type of shit. Back then people even put their lyrics! They were so confident they put their lyrics in there! People aren't really talking about much that they would even write down their lyrics. It would look ridiculous if you saw a lot of this shit written out.
Meta: That song is 80% true, with some embellishments. I was really in Portland [on tour with Devin the Dude as a member of Coughee Brothaz North], but I just wanted to make it about Minneapolis. I met this girl, she was persistent, but she was shy at the same time. That's what was kind of intriguing about it. I had this dude who was a driver, he said "I got you guys all night, whatever you need,". OK, cool. She gets into it, she's like, "Oh this is so nice! I'm not used to stuff like this,". We start driving a little bit, liquor goes, then here comes the sunroof, this bitch out the sunroof like "Woooo! Coughee Brothers North, bitches!" That's a direct quote! Swear to God, it was the funniest shit. I was sitting here looking at this broad like, oh my God. She's like, "Lemme wear your hoodie!". That's when she started getting buck wild, gets sick and shit, "I'm sorry, I don't drink that much!" Well, why did you try to go so hard tonight? Drooling on my jacket... Truth is, I did already smash by the time she threw up, so that was cool. She's a nice person, bless her heart. I don't mean to put her out there like that. I feel like kind of a piece of shit about that, that's funny though. It wasn't trying to make her look bad or anything like that, it was just this whole scenario is just a funny scenario. I got this chick, she's cute, she's liking me, she's shy, then this light goes on and you really get to see what she's about, starts getting loose and opening up to a nigga; it just got real, real fast. That's what was funny about it.
Gimme Noise: Among other tracks on HIP, this song really plays with the vocals.
Meta: Just trying to make the song more full, more inviting, more engaging, more intriguing. More than just rap, chorus, beat. Let's elaborate on it a little bit and try to romanticize the feel of the music. Kind of like how Franz Diego did on S.O.S. I think we put boundaries on ourselves as rappers. It doesn't even matter what you write. If you're a down South rapper, you got a formula; if you're a real lyrical dude, you got a formula; if you're an emo backpack rapper, you got a formula. Everybody has a formula that they stick to. Not too many people branch out and do something different.
Gimme Noise: Are you an insomniac?
Meta: Not as much as I was, but I definitely am. Especially if I'm in writing mode or working mode, sleep isn't an option. I'll just stay up all night, literally. I won't even worry about being tired, I'm thinking about making music. If I'm in the studio and I've started something, I want to finish it. Even if it doesn't end up being what I wanted it to be, I want to see it through, because sometimes if you leave something and come back to it, you might not feel the same way you did when you started making it. I've made songs like that that felt detached. From the first verse to the second verse, it felt like two different songs, even though it's the same beat. If I'm in a certain mood, I want to keep that mood.
Meta: That was actually the first song I did for it; I felt like that was a good jump-off point. I need a smoke song, cuz I like to smoke, and people kind of expect it, but I think everybody tries so hard to make the most lyrical smoke song, and that's kinda like an oxymoron. You wanna smoke, you're not really trying to hear how ill your bars are, you just wanna be in the mood to smoke. I'm just trying to make more relatable music now. I don't care about being the illest. I feel like I wasted a lot of time worrying about that. But that also comes with kind of believing your own hype. I think we've all fallen victim of that at some point in our life. You start to believe your own hype, smell your own shit, and you get content. Soon as I got content, I could feel the decline, and beyond music, just with me as a person.
Meta: It's real simple. I kind of wanted the jam session feel to that one. I heard the Rhodes, I was going to put more to it, but the simplicity of it is what made it work. Especially for "Good Morning", you wake up in the morning, you don't need an orchestra, just something to keep your head bobbing to start your day. Like I said, I just wanted to keep a mood to H.I.P. Saying "Happy I'm Present" and keeping things kinda light-hearted but downtempo... I just wanted to keep that theme throughout. That was just a perfect song to do it to. Good morning, wake up, hollering at the insomniacs, all the night owls who stayed up, stay up.
It was literally Martin Luther King Day. I try not to bring up race too much because I don't want race to be a scapegoat or a crutch to use for anything that goes on, but if it was Trayvon Martin that shot George Zimmerman, even if he said it was self defense, if one of those witnesses had said that Trayvon Martin followed George Zimmerman, they would've gave that kid the death penalty. I completely believe that. They would have tried him as an adult and given him the death penalty. It's crazy. Racism is still alive, but we don't know real racism. I'm glad I'm in a situation where I can make music about it. If you wanted to start up a non-violent protest or that sort of stuff, we could do that, as opposed to back in the day, you just gotta take it. I really believe I would've been dead back in the day. There's this song I've started, this line is like, "If I was raised in the 50's, I'd be in my grave by the 60's cuz they'd have lynched me". I really believe that.
Gimme Noise: You touch on your split with Coughee Brothaz North in this song.
Meta: Basically, without going too far into it, creative differences. I was with Coughee Brothaz North for four years. There was never a Coughee Brothaz project out, there was never a J-Starr, there was never a Meta project out. Four years. I feel like the goal I had and the goal they had wasn't the same thing. They were focused on playing the role of a rapper and I'm playing the role of an artist. "I got this much money, I know this person, let's get in this video, we can get up with Twista..." I don't care about that. What does that mean to me? Is he gonna be on a project? Why would you be paying to put me as an extra in Twista's fucking video when you could be paying to get us the studio time to promote an album and get our name out on our own? I didn't expect to waste four years of my life in this situation where there was no progression. I haven't been with them for almost a year now, and I've put out two projects. And I'm broke as fuck.It was just something I felt needed to be talked about.
Meta - H.I.P. Release Party
with Mod Sun, Mac Irv, Illuminous 3, Greg Grease, Mike the Martyr and DJ Kush Picasso