About two months ago, i was fortunate enough to sit through a studio session for Stevie Crooks' highly anticipated album, Diamonds & Guns. Yo...i talk ALOTTA shit, especially when it comes to music, but believe me when i tell you this...this album will be hailed as a certified classic and it sounds like nothing i've ever heard before...EVER.
While i won't give away any specific details of any of the song's concepts or the project's overall sound, i WILL describe what that night was like..
Only having physically met one time at a performance of his before this session, i wasn't exactly sure what to expect out of this nite. We were amongst the first to arrive at the studio as the engineer readied his cup of coffee as if he knew the nite was gonna be a long one. As i took a seat on the couch, Stevie went into the booth with a cup of wine and his notepad, as he mumbled a few rhymes to himself, preparing for what was about to be total desctruction. His calm and humble disposition threw me off a bit, as the engineer asked what track he wanted to record to first. With his raspy voice he simply said 'Diamonds & Guns', which is coincidentally the album's intro. It was as if he had instantly transformed from cool and calm, into his sinister Villain alter ego, completing the first track in only one take. At the song's end, me and my boy Xavier looked at each other with that 'Are you serious?' look on our faces. As the nite progressed, a few more people came in and sat through the session...most of em engaged in side conversation while the rest of us, including myself, Xavier, Sean P and fellow producer Applebeats watched closely as history was being made. Crooks' animation in the booth matched well with each of the songs' vibe and concept. Hardly any breaks took place in between recording, although he did manage to come out of the vocal booth every once in a while to ask a few of us for our opinions.
As he recorded each track, i sat and quietly observed RJ, the engineer, trying to soak up as much as i could since this was my first time being in an official studio. While absent from his last project, the 90's based mixtape 'Cant Stop The Crooks', Stevie has linked back up with long-time friend and producer, Zilla, who handles a bulk of the album's production (although my production is present on 3 of the album's tracks). Mite i add, Zilla is a MONSTER on these beats, as each one of his tracks paint a picture of its own. The vivid and witty lyrics of Crooks added to the triumphant-sounding music of Zilla serve to create masterpieces. The track 'Devil In A Blue Dress' sounds like music inspired by Sean Connery in his 007 days, while the villain anthem 'MOMF' contains colorful similes with lines like 'Niggas bitin like Pops when deliverin mail/ i'm Hector, spittin angel dust from Hell/ I was Steven like Debo, you just Ezelle', in reference to the classic comedy Friday. The nite ended with what sounded like the album's last track, as the mood in the room quickly transformed to match the song's vibe. Fifteen songs were recorded that nite and everybody in the studio was pretty much stunned at Stevie's productivity. It was 'Awesome'.
Lookin at the time, it was about 2:30, and we all stood up and gave each other handshakes as the studio session came to a near close. Before leaving, i personally thanked Crooks for allowing me to sit through the session and told him that it was a blessing for me to have been a part of the creative process. As me and my man Xavier got in the car, i asked him 'What the fuck did we just witness tonite?' His only reply was 'I don't even know..'
Diamonds & Guns coming in January....In Order To Gain Use of the Power Given.