Logistixx of Drop Switch on his lyrics: "I wanna draw a picture in the listeners' mind..."
Quote/Unquote is our periodic feature in which we hunt down noteworthy lyrics, examine the best lines and then get the story behind the song. This week, we got some insight from Logistixx of the rap-fusion group Drop Switch to find out what he had in mind while he was crafting his music.
In most of Drop Switch's music, the actual lyrics of Logistixx and singer Emma Wallingford take a back seat to the instrumentation of the group and the musicality of Wallingford's voice, but not in this case of "War In My Heart." When we first listened to this passage, the sound of the music was literally overtaken by the buzzing hubbub of a fictional city in our mind. This effect is punctuated by Logistixx's stop-and-go flow which perfectly mimics the mood of time-lapsed traffic or, perhaps, recollecting a day spent watching the bustle of the city from above. Logistixx says that painting a picture was the intention here:
"It's like a ride: ups and down and all around. Look at the sky. You feel me now. My body shaking, I sit down and I wait for the sound of your voice but instead you're not around. I'm only hearing the sound of the city and the town. I'm kinda lost. I'm going off in this rain while im sittin in this cloud. I gotta say, what a day. It's kind of insane; I found a way to a better place, now. I'm guessing what I gotta face now."
The movement of these lyrics from a frenetic pace to a sort of listless acceptance is accomplished not only through the words, but actualized through both the gradual shift in the flow from a feverish staccato to something more subdued and the enjambment, which highlights the stream-of-consciousness mode of thought that is inherent in this sentiment, all the while perfectly complimented by the music in the back. Whether the vocals were written after the music or vice-versa, they are matched expertly.
"What I was talking about is you go through certain scenarios where there's always gonna be ups and downs," Logistixx explains. "There's always a place that you'll find where there's meaning towards what happened. Doesn't matter what situation it is, people always come to that point where you understand it leads to a certain place, maybe to a different position and comes from an understanding, and you just go with that and keep taking it no matter what.
"I wanna draw a picture in the listeners' mind rather than just, you know, words over a song," he adds. "A lot of the writers I was influenced off of were East Coast writers, East Coast rappers....I like Nas. I like Talib Kweli. How I come to a point where I can draw a picture in the listeners head, a lot of East Coast music does that.... I don't know if you're seein the same visual. I don't know if you are. That's what my aim is."
"Same page, different level, the music singing today. A different message. Did you get it? Well, prob'ly a different way. Compared to what's written, compared to what's spoken, I gotta say It'll never sound better than the music that we play."
It's a little defeatist to try to explain, in words, the ineffectiveness of speech. The wonderful thing about Logistixx's words is that they remain simple and generalized and they don't overreach, and that's the genius of them. Very plainly, Logistixx explains that the words he speaks can never match up to the musicality with which he and his band communicate. As soon as Logistixx finishes this passage, the instrumentation behind him dives into a wonderfully expressive guitar solo, illustrating beautifully Logistixx's last two lines and completing the sentiment.
"What we were saying is pretty much just...how you get a different message when speaking a message through music rather than just talking about it," he says. "'Same page, different level, the music speaking today,' pretty much, is saying that you can be talking about the same thing, but when you're doing it with music, it's on a different level. I was trying to get to [the idea that some of the most important things that can be communicated, you can't really communicate explicitly with words.]
"What I do when I write lyrics: I want to connect with the most listeners that I can," he concludes. "You can feel me do it through speaking; if you do it through music, it captures more people's minds. More people are in tune with it. Even if you cover certain topics, more people can relate to it."
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