Over the past months, in between an incline to fame and controversy, Rob $tone has been teasing us on social media about his upcoming album. Today the music talks.
$tone selected local features on the 15-track project, "Don't Wait for It," uplifting home-town artists on the 1207 roster including Malik Burgers, J. Davis, and Thommed Cruz. It also features verses from Flatbush Zombies' Meechy Darko, Cash Passion and Gucci Mane. But with an unexpected turn, "Don't Wait for It" was not released by RCA Records like his 2016 releases. Instead it was released by Grove Town Records, a Limited Liability Corporation registered by none other then Rob $tone himself. Once again Rob $tone sets the mark of unprecedented mainstream reach, home town heralding, and independence.
Overall the album's sound, rhyme style, melody and addlibs fall right in line with previously-released content from $tone, but it goes deeper then he has taken us before, socially and emotionally. It swabs ears with industry-quality production from Zaytoven, ID Labs, Cream Wallo, Money Montage, Dre Native DJ Wes, Cashmoney AP, Ricci Riera, Humbeats, 2AM, Chris Rose, Tee-Watt, and Malik Burgers. And wavy hooks with laid-back rhyme schemes aim straight to the point, appealing to a greater-then-niche audience, however there is a deliberate insertion of politics and intimacy that leaves a lot of room for intrigue and growth.
The album rolls in with an unexpected jazzy-analog track called "Black Man 4x," in which spoken word address to inspire: "beating you over the head with sex, drugs, money, guns. Wake up young black man. Don't sleep through the school of life... Break the cycle, break the chains, work your brain... let your blackness inspire you and not divide you."
The first song, "Little Piggy," talks about dying at the hands of police, and the second is titled after his home town in San Diego, "Lemon Grove." It's a methodical ride-out littered with care-free, rock-star-life content. While subject matter takes a party turn towards the end of the first half, it gets more personal and serious as you go deeper. A notable track is number 10, "Back on My Shit," in which $tone says, “I aint fell off. My shit got blocked because they couldn’t take it.
"What about my baby, that’s my son man that’s my fucking greatness. How could you take what’s on this plate and ask me why I’m angry. Man this is shitty, you aint never been out to my city. You put my one song out, and tried to say you did this. Man you aint know, this aint no hoax you niggas found me like this. This aint a joke and this aint [?] you niggas made me write this. I aint got time for all these games, thought you was ready for this. It’s 1207 to the top and don’t you ever forget. Go ahead and drop me watch me blossom with no radio hits. This aint no radio shit, my life is really like this. And I aint jabbing. This aint gossip bitch, it’s really like this. And ya’ll aint answer when I called you now I’m back on my shit.
Maybe "Back on My Shit" is about Mike Sherman, his manager seemingly responsible for radio placement, or the label RCA Records where he was signed, a peer, or a combination of. (Not is always an option too.) While $tone is listed as an artist on the RCA Records website, "Don't Wait for It" is not promoted on the page of releases. And it is noticeable that there is no feature from his grungy right-hand man Spooks, which spikes curiosity of their current terms. (Spooks has been tweeting with melancholy undertones, granted amidst trauma such as a car accident and seizures. On October 3rd Spooks tweeted, "#DontWaitForIt October 6th, 2017," hashtagging the title of $tone's new album. But on October 6th, he posted and pinned a twitter video of him buzzing his long-unkept hair off to Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here," with the caption, "Until Next Time, Goodbye. Legends Don't Die, 2017." This was accompanied with a post on the same day that said, "Ive burned way too many bridges in san diego & those close to me. Im just gonna continue to work & let it speak for me.")
$tone's melodic chorus continues, "this is how it’s going lately. I still aint starving. I’m a baller, but we still aint gravy. Yeh this is how it’s going lately. Just want my dollars. Don’t want problems. I don’t want the favors. This is how it’s going lately, I know you hate it but you made it, right? You made me write this. My life is really like this.”
The track about some personal differences is immediately followed by an intoxicated and romantic west-coast-rap balled with slurred-melodic rhymes that echo, “Baby let me talk to you, dance when I walk through, do my grown man for you.” The album then picks the pace back up on triumphant and hyphy collaborations with crew mates Malik Burgers and Thommed Cruz.
This is a good look for $tone. It may mean less radio play, but it does seem to include more creative and financial independence. It is refreshing and sustaining to see San Diego's hottest-young artist opening up to the politics of the world, as well as the effects of success and grown emotions. Hopefully he uses his production resources to go further down this route. "Don't Wait for It," is availble now on Itunes, and you can stream it for free on Spotify here.
Favorite-Four Tracks: Little Piggy, Back On My Shit, Grown Man, Sender
Two San Diego heavyweights just teamed up, breaking ground in one of Hip Hop’s first projects dedicated to the topic of chemtrails. Emcees Obnoxious and SCVTTERBRVIN are speaking from the streets of “America’s finest city,” a place with strong yet overlooked indigenous and military presences, to kick the door in on deceptive government practices, music industry bullshit, and knock out competition that’s not up to par.
In 2014 the notoriously controversial rappers connected after a mutual friend and fan, an artist named Sumo, kept individually planting the seed for them to collaborate. It resulted in an extremely-complementary contrast, and “Chemtrails” is officially up for pre-sale, with release Friday the 13th. The two just bar out on every song with swift execution of humor and wit. The album is full of R-rated references and awakening information. And samples of chemtrail lectures in the place of a hook set the tone from track one.
While Obnoxious’ style is traditionally crude and loked out, with recent-solo projects featuring heavy-synth bangers, melodic hooks, occasional auto tune, and highly-hood content, SCVTTERBRVIN’s music has more of a gutter-occult sound and googleable subject matter. He delivers a creepy appeal, often with no hooks at all, and clear one-track vocals over sample and drum loops. “Chemtrails” is the meeting of the underworld lord and the block-bully’s bully. It is rare to see figure heads from San Diego with different styles come together, but one common denominator helps them merge seamlessly; brazen lyricism. They both utilize an easily-digestible delivery with clear diction, full of aggressive dominance, pop culture references, and an air of authority well woven into the heavy subject matter of chemicals sprayed into the sky. The pair bounce off of each other verse-for-verse. And according to SCVTTERBRVIN, many of the similar references in their verses were coincidences, unintentionally exhibiting the natural synergy of the two. He says the album concept came from Obnoxious, who one day just said, “we should do an album and call it 'Chemtrails.'”
Chemtrails is the unofficial and widely recognized term for jet contrails with added chemicals or metals in them. (Jet contrails are those quickly disappearing, thin-white lines in the sky that you see behind airplanes at high altitude. Chemtrails linger and fan out.) Part of the disconnect of information regarding chemtrails to the public stems from the term itself. No agency that sprays chemicals or metals into the air call them chemtrails. Official terms that are used by these agencies include persistent-jet contrails, stratospheric aerosol injections (SAI,) geoengineering, solar radiation management (SRM,) cloud seeding, and weather modification. Typical chemicals and metals used include silver iodide, potassium iodide, solid carbon dioxide, tri-methyl aluminum (TMA,) aluminum oxide, lithium, barium, and thorium oxide.
NASA, the US Air Force, foreign governments, and private corporations have all publicly disclosed experiments, active procedures, or offer services that release chemicals and metals into the sky through contrails. Various reasons range from atmosphere research and recreational forecast selection, to a strategy of war or global warming offset. According to NASA’s website, “Scientific research with experiments which inject vapor tracers in the upper atmosphere have greatly aided our understanding of our planet’s near-space environment.” And while far more extreme methods of weather modification exist today, the most commonly known and practiced form in relation to chemtrails is cloud seeding.
Cloud seeding dates back over a century. The San Diego City Council hired Charles Hatfield, aka “The Rainmaker,” to make it rain in a 1915 drought for $10,000. Hatfield was so successful, the rain cause flooding, resulting in massive damage and deaths, and was never paid by the city. It is said in a letter from a member of the Pioneer Brigade that after battles in the civil war rain always followed. This coincides with early scientific theories, and Hatfield’s method of setting a chemical combination on fire to illicit precipitation by Lake Moreno in East County. Soon methods that did not include setting fire to reach the clouds debuted.
In 1946 Vincent Schaefer and Bernard Vonnegut, chemists for General Electric Co., made a snowstorm in a laboratory and induced precipitation outdoors. One year later the United States Air Force was formed as a separate branch of the military in the National Security Act of 1947. Beginning in 1963 during the Vietnam War, the US seeded clouds in Southeast Asia to strategically increase rain fall and disrupt the mobilization of troops and supplies along the Ho Chi Minh trail. This operation was called “Operation Popeye.” Then in 1977 the Environmental Modification Convention (ENMOD) was held in Geneva, in which an agreement was reached between international powers in light of new weather-modification technologies. It highlights the “Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques.”
Today cloud seeding is a practice used all over the world to influence precipitation. China openly used cloud seeding to ensure a clear sky at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In the Canadian province of Alberta, (where Hatfield was also successfully contracted for $25,000 to bring rain to a city called Medicine Hat in 1921,) the leading-insurance companies teamed up to form the Alberta Severe Weather Management Society and fund the Alberta Hail Suppression Project. This project regularly seeds clouds and manipulates hail storms to minimize insurance claims and damages since 1996. Even Los Angeles seeded clouds to provoke rain in 2016.
In August 1996 a controversial study conducted for the Air Force Chief of Staff by Air University (AU,) the Air Force's center for professional military education, was released with a chapter titled “Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025.” The document outlines the benefits of weather modification in combat, and states early on that, “Current technologies that will mature over the next 30 years will offer anyone who has the necessary resources the ability to modify weather patterns and their corresponding effects, at least on the local scale.”
Some companies in the US that offer weather modification and cloud seeding services include: Weather Modification Inc. in Fargo, N.D.; North American Weather Consultants Inc. in Sandy, Utah; Seeding Operations & Atmospheric Research in Wichita Falls, Texas; and West Texas Weather Modification Association. (San Diego is on North American Weather Consultants’ “1950-2014 Western United States Cloud Seeding Program Areas” map.)
The list of government documents, newspaper articles, and open admissions from private companies that experiment with and offer weather modification services today is overwhelming. What was once labeled a conspiracy theory is no longer a speculative topic; weather modification is an open and regular practice accepted across local and international governments. It is in the strategies, motives, further-undisclosed advancements, how they affect climate, life, politics, and even each other, where intelligent controversy and research arise.
There is no mandatory disclosure or complete reporting agent of such programs to the public due to lack of regulation, simple failure to report, experimental nature, or national-security classifications. This means that while we know there are certainly chemtrails and other methods of weather modification in use, we do not always know what chemicals, metals and tactics they include, or when and where they are being utilized. This makes research of how they impact the environment, ecosystem and humans difficult. (As well as understanding how various scattered weather-modification programs are impacting each other, thus the earth and universe in whole.) But the new platform the Internet's exchange of information provides is bringing light to curious casualties of our ecosystem that might otherwise be overlooked.Wwa
In January 2009 hundreds of blackbirds fell from the sky in Somerset County, NJ. In January 2011 over 100,000 dead fish washed up on the Arkansas river bank near Ozark, just one day before thousands of birds dropped dead 125 miles away in Beebe, Ark. Leopard sharks have been washing up on the shores of California, specifically 4 at once in Ocean Beach, San Diego, and over 80 in the San Francisco Bay. Bees are dying: over 37 million in Canada in 2014, and 2.5 million in South Carolina in 2016 to name a couple incidents. Google search results provide a concerning lack of information on the effects of Silver Iodide, the most openly-common metal used in cloud seeding. And when Dale Williams, a docent from Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, noticed that the endangered species of trees were dying on the golf course where they were regularly irrigated, he eliminated the accredited drought as the cause of their weakness, unsuccessfully pressing administrations to test for metals before running his own.
“I think their sort of directing people to look in other directions,” says Williams, “away from what I think the issue is, which is acidity and aluminum.”
“We’re all filled with heavy metals. I know it’s hurting us,” says Alex Jones, the Info Wars journalist and filmmaker sampled over a Nick Cahill beat as the album’s “Introduction” track fades out.
“This is all going on and you’re supposed to worry about football all day or what Lindsey Lohan is doing. I’m sorry. Cause what they admit they are spraying is brain damaging the population. Neurological disorders go off the charts, as the honey bees die…”
The album artwork for "Chemtrails" was designed by surreal collagist, Albane Simon, from Paris, France.
“There are so many chemtrails also in France,” says Albane. “Especially in Paris. Not sure French people care about it, but I think it’s very scary.”
She describes the piece used for “Chemtrails” as “a city somewhere in the US or Europe that used the business of war, arms industry and mind control.” The depiction offers a discerning perspective like the movie “They Live.” On the album cover a suited man casually walking across the lawn of a 1970s-fashioned building. (The architecture holds an eery resemblance to the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, where a mass shooting occurred earlier this week.) The building is held up by bullets, one of which the man, whose facial flesh is removed to reveal skeleton, casually carries in arm. There are eyes peeking out of the perfectly-green grass. And white-jet contrails intersect across the aqua and pink sky.
Notoriously a fan of Hip Hop, Albane reveres “independent labels of the Californian coast” as the “post-modern muses of her first creations,” and illustrates albums for international artists that inspire her work. She said she has been listening to Scvtterbrvin since he was producing for other San Diego artists as “Infinity Gauntlet” in the San Diego Hip-Hop conglomerate, Masters Of The Universe.
“I really love his dark and dirty beats with engaged lyrics,” says Albane.
Infinity Gauntlet actually produces four tracks on “Chemtrails,” which is rare since SCVTTERBRVIN has kept his production and rap aliases almost completely separated for two decades, expressing that he preferred not to rap on his own beats.
“It’s funny cause I just wanted to produce a project for [Obnoxious,]” he says, “and the first time we recorded he was like, ‘You got your verses ready?’ He recorded six verses. Then I was like, damn, I guess I need to start writing!”
Other production credits on the album include Veks, Beatsmith Resist, D. Greeze, Victor, Marques Lattin, Mr. Ridley, Swollen Tung, and Mus One. Overall the production is a smooth and methodical stream of dramatic boom bap with dynamic samples. It was predominantly recorded, entirely mixed and mastered by Infinity Gauntlet. And his careful placement of various-interluding excerpts and sound effects bring it all together cohesively. It is refreshing to hear Obnoxious spazzing on such an alternative canvas. And equally so to hear SCVTTERBRVIN on tracks like number 13, “Chem Trails,” with Obnoxious singing the hook: “They putting poison in the air. Mind control so they can scare us. No we don’t live in fear, cause all we know is terror. Shed so many tears for my fallen soldiers. Please no more, it’s over. Taking back the life they owe us. Starring at the Klan, the Lotus.”
There is a lot the two emcees have in common that makes this project a major-power ball. They are both battle rap veterans that uphold the tradition of live tenacity while still releasing a solid catalog. They earned their stripes in Hip Hop starting at young ages, and are both half Mexican. SCVTTERBRVIN and Obnoxious were not the first emcees from San Diego to battle others, (while some of the last cut from that old-school cloth,) but they certainly did pioneer their city into new technologies and wider audiences of today’s battle-rap culture. They transcended from spontanious battle-for-keeps to calculated battle-for-sport. Obnoxious was on national tours and television, wrecking shop on BET’s 106 And Park and Rap City ten-years ago. SCVTTERBRVIN was the first from San Diego to strategically insight and upload an independent battle in 2010, leveraging himself to wider audiences as the city’s leader in modern circuits such as King Of The Dot and the Red Bull EmSee contest. While local fans might be quick to see the two titans face off, another commonality they hold is the active drive to work together and empower other artists.
SCVTTERBRVIN is the founder of Red Lotus Klan, in which he has provided audio and executive production, marketing, and distribution to over a dozen San Diego artists resulting in growing international-fan bases. He has mixed down and re-released scarce projects from Master’s of The Universe, cementing historical content in modern mediums and audiences. And lately he’s been extending his contributions beyond local realms with recent releases from East Coast artists Boxguts, Jack Tripper, Pruven & Vast Air, Tha God Fahim, Camouflage Monk, Heem Stogied, and more.
Most recently Obnoxious was instrumental in the release of a project called “Mexicans Making Moves,” a banger collaborative of 33 artists. It provided a platform for one of the most imperative underdogs of America, also slept on massively in Hip-Hop culture; Mexican Americans. The abuse and racism Mexican Americans endure is overlooked as much as the wisdom, history and value of indigenous Mexican culture. Most European Americans today don’t realize that Mexican-indigenous heritage is synonymous with “Native American.” The west coast was part of the First Mexican Empire. In 1848, after war waged by boarder disputes from new-European colonists pressing further and further west, Mexico ended up ceding their territories of California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona to the US in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, (with the Gadsden Treaty in 1853.). European colonists were actually the illegal aliens posing hostile threats to dominate indigenous civilizations. (This context is imperative in understanding today’s immigration, privatized criminalization, and the hypocritical nature of current rhetoric.) Genocide, rape, torture, slavery, and the murder of indigenous people has been documented, even by European witnesses who were proud of their conquests or appalled by the horrors of their peers. What Mexican and other Natives experienced would now be considered an alarming matter of international conflict, as outlined in the 1977 amendment to the Geneva Conventions: “Article 1(4) provides that armed conflicts in which peoples are fighting against colonial domination, alien occupation or racist regimes are to be considered international conflicts.”
San Diego Hip Hop, a scene that borders Mexico by Tijuana, has a unique sound and voice as the child of both cultures, that translates the explanation, emotions, and evolution of history. While only a scarce few from San Diego have received mainstreamed acknowledgement and national-radio play, (Jayo Felony, Nick Cannon, Rob $tone,) the city’s most unique-to-region and prominent voice of the Mexican American has always been overlooked in Hip Hop. Even it’s most successful Mexican rappers do not get national radio play or mainstream buzz. And this is a necessary development for Hip Hop Culture, a platform built on empowering voices of the oppressed, as a whole. There is a constant local motivation to “put Dago on the map” in Hip Hop, but until the city’s Mexican Americans receive mainstream acknowledgement, this is not possible. (It would be equivalent to evaluating Southern Hip Hop without Lil John or Future, Chicago without Twista or Da Brat, Philly without The Roots or Beanie Sigel, and Los Angeles without Ice Cube or Nate Dogg. A particular-unique sound is associated with the regional identity. Only Mexican Americans can most authentically provide the signature sound, accents, slang, controversial and political content, and overall culture that, (in conjunction with other races and segments that have already been acknowledged,) is exclusive to San Diego. Without them you can get an authentic piece of the multi-cultural Dago, but not the apidimi of it.
“Chemtrails” is a demanding voice of San Diego Hip Hop. Obnoxious and SCVTTERBRVIN’s deep history, natural upbringing, and tendency to push past boundaries leverage them into a unique position to uphold traditions while progressing with the times. Full of production that doesn't overcompensate and rap “lines over the general public’s head,” the album is a prime exhibition from the underdog’s palm-tree kingdom, known as “Dago.”
You can pre-order the limited-edition vinyl, cassette, or CD on RedLotusKlan.com now. Physical units are of limited quantity so take advantage of the pre-sale. Digital downloads will be available on all major distributors, as well as streaming through Tidal or Spotify, starting Oct. 13, 2017.
Sign Dale Williams' petition to test Torrey Pines for Aluminum here:
Articles documenting birds falling from the sky:
Examples of Insurance companies that seed clouds with chemtrails in order to suppress hail and prevent damages in Canada. (These are their websites explaining about it.)
Stumbled on this 2014 video, "Ride," by Antnee Mac, and it's got a different feel. It's hella pimpadellic, yet jerkish in a laid back sorta way. Almost like a Southeast "Successful" with a Mac Dre vibe. #RollUp
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That said, stay fly, and follow @SDHipHopEvents on IG. Peace!
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