Been awhile since we dropped some new material. We’ve been tirelessly working to create something new that we can be proud of. It’s finally time to share a little. We want to say thank you to all the fans for your patience and unconditional support. As a thank you, we’ve decided to release PROMISELAND (EP) on 7.9.13. Brought to you in part by Dub Caesar Apparel. See you then.
- Ground Up
P.S. – full album on the way
If you want to take your crew on a journey, you need a strong headquarters; for Columbus it was the Santa Maria – for us it’s the Lincoln Lab. But here’s the key: once the ship-headquarters finds land, it doesn’t just pull right up to the beach; it anchors itself and sends out a smaller boat to land on shore. For us, that small boat is The Van.
It’s a tight space and gets packed only with the necessities: equipment, clothes and ganja. But as long as it’s cruising through the interstate system and docked at the back entrance of venues, it’s a mini-headquarters in and of itself, and has to serve many purposes besides a simple ferry from house to venue and back. It’s a conference room, a dinner table, a toolshed, a late-night bar taxi, a fan appreciation center and a post-show dance club. The Van has its roster of famous moments: more than sixteen people were packed into the seven-seater van for a giant smoke session after a show in Columbus; somewhere in Connecticut, Jon had the back row rocking like a rowboat in high-tide; it was searched by cops crossing through Pennsylvania, but they found nothing cuz all of it was eaten.
The Van features include a big screen TV to watch our favorite movies, “Belly” and “Catch Me if You Can”, the limo lights that line the ceiling, and the little hidden zipper compartments under the arm rests on the second-row captain seats. Everyone takes turns driving. The worst part about driving is the driving, the best part is you don’t have to roll your own spliffs. On this ship, kush is the mast and zig-zags are the sails.
Whether you’re a musician, an athlete or an entrepreneur, your industry and your field can seem like a wild and uncharted ocean, your destination a strange and distant island. From the Headquarters we navigate the choppy seas of the rap game to find venues where we can bring our sounds and avenues to bring us there. The Van is just how we arrive. And as for the explorers of a past time, the difference between them and us is they conquered people with weapons and stole their gold; we win the crowd over with good music, and they give the gold to us. Peace.
Back in ’08, the first mic and patches of eggshell foam were strung up in one of the bedroom closets at the 1711 house to record Best Friends Vol. 2. Then Bij came home from Cali and got his first pair of bright yellow monitor speakers. Five years later, the home studio at Ground Up headquarters has made a lot of upgrades, but still maintains the 1711 feel.
The microphone is still in the closet, but it’s not the Blue Microphone we started with; now it’s the fifth generation of Ground Up mics – an AKG B414 XLS. The cables curl around the corner to Bij Lincs’ desk where he does the engineering while Azar and Malakai record, but when the MC’s aren’t in the booth, the studio is otherwise known as The Lincoln Lab. It’s where Bij makes every single one of his beats.
From downstairs you know when he’s starting a beat because you hear a thousand different bass drums bumping through the ceiling. Once the beat is formed enough to be looped, you can catch Azar or Malakai chillin in the studio next to Bij writing their verses or moseying around rattling off potential hooks. This is where most of the writing takes place.
Bij has the room decorated with a famous accumulation of the most random and eccentric objects you could imagine, a collection that probably began when he first moved into 1711. Iconic Lincoln Lab objects include the framed violin, the Mexican skulls, the wooden pipes, the burlap potato sack, and a large wooden spool turned on its side and used as the coffee table. There’s really no rhyme or reason to anything you see, except that everything has a sort of antique feel.
Although the décor may seem odd, it’s completely normal to all of us because we’ve seen it for five years. But I think at the end of the day it works as a balancing mechanism: the home studio is a place for creation, adaptation and evolution, so while the weird objects exhale their own curiosities and idiosyncrasies, the consistency and familiarity of the antique-styled room keeps everyone well-grounded as new microphones, new equipment and new sounds are inhaled. Despite all the smoke, this is a clean-functioning set of music-lungs.
Everything on the walls, the bookshelves and the furniture virtually remains the same, but the center is an empty space that can transform to whatever creative needs arise for the group. It’s a world of its own, a world as familiar as it is alien, and somehow it stays the same no matter how much everything else around it and within it continues to change.