Secret Bonus Level presents:

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Sometimes I get itchy when Noah Page is planning an episode of Secret Bonus Level. Especially on the day of the show, when he’s doing it all last minute. Will the rappers really show up? Will I have time to eat beforehand? Do I remember where I crammed everything when we cleaned up after last week’s episode? Will this be the episode that’s a complete disaster? I always think this stuff. And you know what always happens? A perfect, beautiful mess of show comes together magically, as if it was always going to happen that way. Sure, yes, it’s a mess. But it’s like it was supposed to be that way. And always was. As if the spring just sprung itself and flowers naturally just bloom when the sunlight hits them and you don’t even have to do anything.

So, Lithium God. This guy, first of all. His beats. He makes some astounding beats. FLUTE, you guys! Do you guys LISTEN to enough music with FLUTE in it? The answer is NO. But tonight Lithium God showed off another of his talents: rapping. THIS GUY rapped for FORTY MINUTES. And it was good. You’ve heard longer freestyles on our show before, LOLOLOLOL, and I don’t need to tell you that they sometimes vary in quality. NOT LITHIUM. For real, his 40 minutes was practically an album.

And that’s where I have to start talking about The Secret Bonus Level Band too. Interplay with the band was a huge part of what made Lithium God’s 40 minute freestyle such magic. In general, the band has been continually pushing themselves to newer and more exciting places. Brandon, whose rhythmic precision on the bass is quickly becoming recognized as part of the band’s signature sound, whipped out a HARD ass Led Zeppelin bass line tonight that straight up disoriented me. Johnson continues to sound amazing no matter what he does. I don’t even understand it. Sometimes he literally just plays one note and you’re like, “THAT SAXOPHONE!” And Jesse, the drum machine guy, is always making strides in the musical integrity department in the shadows, sneakily composing little extra parts and pre-programmed samples you’ll catch every so often. Those are the little touches that make you forget this is a one time live performance, not something meticulously studio orchestrated. And Joe, of course. I’m still having to mop up this puddle of goo that used to be Joe’s guitar every Thursday morning. He just melts it. And it ruins the mop. I’d really be upset about it if it wasn’t such good radio.

Anyway, Lithium God’s mind-meld with the band was only a little bit of the amazing rap on tonight’s show. We had some other pretty incredible guests too.

DISTANT DEE. And it’s rare that I get to hear Dee just on his own because I usually spot him backing up Black Liquid. We’re lucky he felt like showing off tonight. I for real think he might just be a robot programmed to kick rap’s ass or something. Just not a normal human. He just has this air about him that’s like Dr. Manhattan. He’s there, but also everywhere else at the same time. Like although he’s really there in front of you talking to you he’s really on another cosmic level looking past us through time and space toward the next word that rhymes with stroganoff. Maybe he’s the spirit of a rhyming dictionary possessing the body of a normal guy. That’s like how The Exorcist worked, right? It’s like the plot of The Exorcist, basically, in my mind.

Also Rah Scrilla. Also the return of PT Burnem. This was an evening that kind of brought things full circle. Rah Scrilla was going to come by last week’s episode but we had to reschedule with him. We’re glad he was still able to make it this time. He’s a VERY talented rapper. He’s got one of the most practiced flows and calculated approaches to flow of anyone in the city. I honestly think he’s very underrated, even though he definitely gets respect. Rah Scrilla went in on the mic a couple times tonight, most memorably DESTROYING the Spice Girls’ song “Wannabe” during Can You Rap to That? I mention him in the same breath as PT Burnem because these guys are like mirror images of each other. Burnem has an equally refined approach, which like Rah Scrilla can sometimes get totally out of control because it’s such a concentrated laser beam. But Burnem’s raps are weird, dark, and obtuse where Rah Scrilla’s are the definition of rap canon. PT Burnem stole the show on the very first broadcast of Secret Bonus Level (we seriously used to all talk about “When is he coming back? That guy was SO crazy. Is he coming back?”), so having him on this week was great in general, but seeing him stand next to Rah Scrilla, I’ll tell you: two guys. Both so talented. Both so different from each other. One taking his first turn on Secret Bonus. One a Bonus Level veteran. It gave me the pride.

Oh and speaking of Can You Rap to That?, our favorite game: MC Correct. I really enjoyed his turn at Can You Rap to That? tonight, I have to say. FOR REAL. MC Correct is a serious, poetic kind of a rapper. Really! His stuff always has a kind of a message and it’s always kind of a composition more than a rhymescheme, if that makes sense. But he got a very tricky song to rap to (a backing track from the musical “My Fair Lady” that’s mostly strings), and it kind of pushed him into this goofy space. From hanging out with this guy in the kitchen and the sound room or whatever, I’ve seen a lot of how funny he is, but this was the first time we really saw that humor come through in his rap. Oh GOSH, and I love how you can hear Lithium doing adlibs in the background if you listen really close! It was silly, yeah! But that’s kind of the point of Can You Rap to That? So much of rap is about personality. And this game gives us special chances to get a little extra personality from these guys. MC Correct’s one was just one of those moments. It just made us all smile. We were seriously all in such a good mood when he finished. I don’t think he’d hate me at all for saying it wasn’t a great rap verse. But that doesn’t matter! It was still great art. Because it was real AND because it was really enjoyable. And the other awesome thing about it? It was the ONLY time he rapped all night! HAHA, if you were waiting for him to bust out one of his on point, thought-provoking things like we were and then heard him do this, you’ll totally understand why this was so great and funny.

Also the SAVES in Can You Rap to That? were awesome tonight. Twice somebody got tagged in half-way through a beat. A suffering rapper reached for the ropes and found the equivalent of the Macho Man Randy Savage waiting to be tapped in.

On the subject of saves too: I know some of you find this show goes by TOO fast for you. It’s crazy and wild and gone before you know it. You can’t keep up! If that’s you, be sure to tune in to next week’s episode for a special secret announcement. I won’t go into it yet, but if you want to slow down time, stop and live in this precious moment with us forever, and really KEEP Secret Bonus Level, and not just in your heart but in your arms and maybe even your RECORD COLLECTION, then TUNE IN on September 7th for this very big news.

Playlist:

216 August 31st, 2017

Posted In: Music, Music Shows