Back in 1999, I had the privilege of being apart of a Christian rap group/outreach called “REACTION.” I’m not going to get into the full back story tho. I’ll save that for another article. Anywho, that’s how I met Will Coleman (aka Will The Thrill). Blah, blah, blah…ok.
So now it’s 2004, and we were about to release our debut album as a group. I low-key tried my best to get on every song on this album, HA! There were only two songs that I just couldn’t get on. Not because I was forbidden, but because it just didn’t need me. One of those songs is called “Changes.” When I first heard the beat, it stood out because it was a 3/4 count. That was rare in hip-hop. Like…you had to really know how to ride the beat. Your flow had to be on point. So that first night in the studio, I listened to the beat. My technique (which I still use to this day, if I’m writing a song): listen to the count, and about 30 seconds of the beat, then go into a room or area where I can’t hear the beat and just write. It’s like I have that metronome in my head.
Little did I know, my technique was risky because I never used it on a 3/4 count and one slip of the flow and BAM…you’re off beat. I came back the next night and just could not find the rhythm or flow to save my life. While everybody was spitting their verse, I was eagerly trying to rewrite my verse, this time TO the beat. Suddenly…(and I never told Thrill this)…Thrill rapped his verse. This was the first and only time in life where I just stopped and gave up. My jaw dropped and I was like…”Welp! *balling up paper* I’m done here. You guys don’t need me on this joint.” And that was that.
To THIS day, I view this verse by Will “my personal favorite verse of all time.” Why? Not only was the singing part in the first 4 bars just genius, but his flow was ON POINT, and most importantly, EVERYTHING he said in this verse was potent. POTENT I TELL YOU!
Here’s the song (Will is 2nd to rap):
Here are the lyrics:
Transition is so hard,
I rather sit and park.
But hopefully thru this verse,
I’ll help us break this curse.
I don’t mean to change the mood, but I gotta talk.
Please gimme a second as I collect my thoughts.
There I go, Here we go, talking about this thing called “Change.”
Don’t nobody want that. Everybody wanna stay the same.
Look at us, waking up early in the morning with a routine.
Zombies caught up in the nine-to-five monotony.
And the same thing going on in the rap game.
Creativity stifled by the lack of change.
All you hear is drugs I sold and what I got,
how many girls I hit last night and who I shot.
Where there is change, you will find opposition,
whether it is in religion or politicians.
Christians, nowadays, don’t even wanna listen,
cus they don’t hear “Jesus,” they don’t think I’m fishing.
In this dark world, my life don’t shine, it glistens.
And thru God’s eyes, I can see the vision.
I know everybody hates transitions,
but people we gotta take a new position.
If [R.]Kelly can “put the key in the ignition,”
then we can “switch our gears and our transmissions” and change