SOTBMusic: Looking at Songs For… (Almost) Five Years Later

This is kind of a free-flowing rant. Bear with me.

On August 17th, I’ll see my true debut album as Speed on the Beat, Songs For… (The Rebirth and Evolution of The Modern Male), hit its five year anniversary. Play it while you read this to get into my headspace and stuff. Also, for those still wondering about the cover art, it’s a mosaic cover and overlaid within the cover are images of Jojo’s first day on this earth. That’s why it looks kind of crystalized and the like.

Anywho, never the one to stick to tradition, a few years ago, I dropped a “demo” version of the album on Bandcamp.

Songs For…: The Demo Version by Speed on the Beat
That is to say, I dropped a version of the album that featured some older tracks and demoed versions of songs that’d later appear on either an SOTB release or a DAR release (some beats were re-purposed for DAR songs). Truth be told, that demo version of the album wasn’t as well-received as the official release. And truth be told again, I’m glad that the official release is the one that people (all three of you) remember when it comes to the project.

I’ve already written about how the album led to my acceptance of being bipolar. This was my first release and it’ll always hold a special place in my heart. People would ask me, “Speed, how can you top it?” I mean, that’s a valid question. It’s been mentioned by a few Baltimore hip-hop aficionados as a dope project. People within DAR have called it my best album, because it was so raw and unhinged without being Unhinged. It was an album about a man picking up the pieces of a relationship that he’d messed up, and the aftermath of those issues.

Sure, not everything was resolved. Hell, I still drank heavily after S4 up until March 2015 when I lost my mind and then lost my mother. Speaking of my mother, my relationship with her was pretty much repaired in the weeks leading up to her death. Yeah, we talked before then, but because of a few things, we weren’t as close. But, those last few weeks helped bring us closer than we’d ever been before. Speaking of getting back to being close, my now-fiancee and I had to work through a lot of things. I began to shun people who tried to help me because I was so damned used to being on my lone wolf. I’d bottle things up still, even with therapy, and explode when unwarranted.

Thankfully, the days are brighter now and I’m mostly sober (I say mostly because I still have to take medications to maintain my moods and the like). What does all this have to do with S4? Well, as mentioned, it was the project that made me truly reevaluate some life choices and helped me come to terms with my mental health.

Sure, Death of the King divulged more of the nitty-gritty of it all.

However, the process behind S4 and the subsequent hospitalizations leading up to and after its release? That’s what put it all on the table. But, for me, it’s still not my best album. One of my most-raw albums? Sure. One of my most-honest albums? You bet. But, my best? Personally, I’d still have to say “no,” five years later. Maybe in another five years, I’ll see it. But, for now, while I love S4, it’s not my personal choice for best Speed on the Beat album. That probably goes to either Baltimore Commercial Break or Death of the King.
“Then why the heck are we talking about it,” you’re probably asking yourselves now. 
Well, to be frank with you, it’s definitely a learning experience. It showed me a lot of what it takes to make a fully-cohesive story pop. It took a lot out of me to drop S4, probably more than any other album, so I can see why people thought it was my best. Even Unhinged didn’t take as much out of me, and that was the album recorded after my mother died. 
In the five years (or so) since S4 dropped, I’ve evolved a lot and I’d like to think I stuck to the subtitle of the project. I was reborn in the aftermath of the album’s recording (and the album itself) and have used those experiences to help others and become something better than I was before S4. So, if you’ve never heard the album, check it out and remember to support dope music in all its forms. Who knows? I may drop an anniversary edition or something. 
No promises, though.
Thanks for reading this rant of an article.
Speed on the Beat

Whatever you need to know about me, you can find out on speedonthebeat.com

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