be a man ft. WHATUPRG

Someone asked, “What inspired this song?” and I said, “The fact that it took me so long to become one.” A lot of what we’re taught when we’re young about being manly is just toxic masculinity.

People will have good intentions. They’ll never say, “Women are sex toys,” but in a roundabout way they are digging into the stereotypes that women are inferior and just supporting characters in the movie that is about men. Then you mix people who are like, “Well, we need to protect women in every way because they are weaker physically, intellectually, emotionally.” What they’re trying to say is, “Don’t take advantage of women” but they’re framing it as they are not as competent as men. And the other side is, “Nah, just straight up oversexualize them and overtly devalue them.” Even the good side is still pretty bad. “I probably shouldn’t beat women but they are kinda here for my pleasure and boost my status. I should protect them from danger.” “be a Man” is trying to open up those conversations and take an honest look at ourselves.

Then RG came in and laced it.

psycho heart!

That explanation point was completing a secret trilogy on the album. You have “twenty eighteen.” with a period and “enemies?” with a question mark.

Grace Fulmer is on the hook, she didn’t want the credit though. It is an important part of the album, it ties a lot of it together. The end of the first verse, “Imma put you through torment and make sure you cannot ignore it.” That’s a call back to “cordial.” A lot of people were like, “Is this an allegory for a spiritual thing?” Man, if it helps you that way…I don’t like to dictate to the fans what stuff is about too much. My favorite artists, that’s what they do. Let the music hit you how it hits you. A lot of art fans will like a song, and someone will explain it and they don’t like it anymore. They won’t like the song, and someone will explain it, and then they’ll like it. I just want you to go by if your ears like it when you hear it, not if I can hype it up enough.

Without songs like “psycho heart!” coming from me, there’s this big hole in content coming from believers, except maybe Justin Bieber. He seems to be taking his faith seriously. I think he’s about to do a worship album. I’d be cool with him doing that and I’d be cool with him doing his old music with a couple of tweaks. A believer making music for life. There’s no hidden deep metaphor, it is what it is.

shadow ft. Jesstaylo and Sarah Juers

Amazing, I love it. If it’s not top three, it’s top four. Songs like “pressure” and “shadow” are for people who like lyricism and deeper cuts. “shadow” is supposed to feel like those moments you look in the mirror and contemplate your existence, what type of person you are, the mistakes you’ve made.

I wrote it on a plane coming back from LA coming home super late. The cabin lights were off. I had written “psycho heart!” And another song that didn’t make the album. That trip was crazy. I wrote “twenty eighteen” in an Uber on the way to the session to write “psycho heart!” Literally, I had my headphones on in the Uber because I didn’t want to talk to the driver. Wrote that and two songs in the actual session and flying back “shadow” came to me.

That one is brutally honest. I don’t want to over explain. If you listen you’ll get it. I had written the whole song without a hook and then I sent it to some of the homies and Lawren was saying he thinks it needs a hook. I was hesitant, but he said I should try. We’re in the studio and I tell him to loop the space between the beat and 30 seconds later came up with the melody and the lyrics. Then we got his friend that lives in his apartment complex to lay down the hook. “I fight my battles beside my shadow,” once I said that, that’s literally it.

close

I completely opened my whole life for everybody. I feel like we have scars to the benefit of other people because they don’t get the same wounds of us. We can walk them through that in a way that they don’t have to go through that. That song by far is the one that people have hit me up about. “Man, I’m in tears listening to this. I thought I was the only one to have gone through this.” I’m trying to go through the process of storing a lot of the notes I got from people on this album. It’s like the “Suicide Nets” of this album as far as impact, said Mogli. It is straightforward about forgiveness, and grace and failure and redemption and the type of love that when you do wrong it pulls you closer – wife and God. I did that one in LA too.

orion

That’s my favorite one right now. It’s the technical nobigdyl. end of the album with “enemies?” being the bonus track. You come through the whole album and all the ups and downs of the story that started in “anime.” You are made into the protagonist and you go through the events of SOLAR. SOLAR is the name of the “anime” that you are placed in. That’s the arch. You come out in “orion.” That’s like the celebratory track. You’re going through all that and you’re experiencing the love that holds you close. They can’t keep you silent…there’s nothing that can stop you. It’s about being a light in a dark place.

1995 did production in the main part and Derek Minor did the outro part with the chorus. He helped me create that choir. It’s real musicians playing the bass and the keys. He arranged it and put it all together. The choir is made up of my actual friends. It’s mostly non-artists. The ending sermon part is my pastor. I just chopped up one of his sermons that fit.

The choir part makes me emotional. Telling the story through the words and the sounds, it was happening in real life because I used the people who got me through these situations on the album to make the music.

enemies?

I was at Mogli’s apartment trying to figure out the sequence and “enemies?” was originally third. I wanted to get this super upbeat song out of the way so that it doesn’t mess up the story. We took it out and realized it goes at the end. The story ends with “orion” and then “enemies?” is like in a movie when it says “three years later…”

For more on the social experiment and marketing behind the track, click here.

So there you have it. nobigdyl.’s breakdown of SOLAR. There isn’t much left to say except go listen to it with the knowledge you have now.

Purchase or stream the album here.

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