cts's picture



Liner Notes: 

What is this song about? It's about a few things. I am reflecting different views of several issues: racism, BLM, white guilt, hypocrisy, discrimination, social justice, political constructs, wishful thinking (and drinking). My commentary lies within the line "U can take down your monuments/ but do the idols live in your heart". That's for everyone and I mean everyone. I've had so many talks about racism and yet every "solution" leans towards something external. If the heart hasn't changed, the actions are superficial and will not last. The sample at the end is my example of "from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" and "every brother ain't a brother" (from Public Enemy). It's harsh. It's mean spirited, but for the artistic stretch I'm taking with it, I've decided to include it. It's part of the never ending narrative of the us/them contention.

How I did it:
DAW: Studio One 3 Professional
Alesis V49 MIDI controller for Virtual instruments: Funky Rhodes
Yamaha S03: Swirl organ
Bass: Ibanez 5 string with CLA plugins for fx
Programmed drums
Mic: Sennheiser
Various samples
Mixed down using Abbey Rhodes Vinyl plugin and Isotope 8


Fire in the streets
Everything's gone crazy
People running everywhere
Age of reason is lazy
Politics trying 2 rape me
Social norms wanna shape me
Take me on a ride 2 Oneness
Yet a lot of folks still hate me
'cause they can't get blacker than me
They can't get blacker than me

Emmett Till is the legacy
Martin Luther couldn't set me free
I'm breathing toxic liberation
4 a cause not blacker than me
Tear down what was history
In a country I don't care 2 leave
I stuck around 4 the benefits
Now I'm strange fruit from a lynching tree
So U wanna give me things
As a way 2 say U're sorry
No matter how hard U try
U'll never be blacker than me

Black face 4 the Jazz Singer
Gold Oscar 4 the fat mammy
Little Shirley tap dancing
Doing the cakewalk so carefree
No matter where U look
U can't shade what the blind can see
U call it justice 4 the underclass
But U'll never be blacker than me

U can take down your monuments
But do the idols live in your heart
U can give me cash 4 my education
But U still think I'm not smart
U can be grandiose with your righteousness
And yet U're still tearing me apart
Do U still lock your car door
When U see me walking in the dark

U can do all that U can
2 be the better best U can be
U can have all the intentions
2 make your world more open and free
U can see change on the horizon
Welcome 2 the dawn of destiny
We can have a new world order...
...but U'll never be blacker than me

Now what ya think about that...?

2020 The Jelly Factory!

Please keep your comments respectful, honest, and constructive. Please focus on the song and not the demo.


Candle's picture

That swirl organ is fabulous. This is great stuff. I haven't been a big fan of rap since Gangsta became a thing. The message reminds me of old school Public Enemy tracks (I still have a bunch of their albums on tape). The lyrics are spot on for today's social questions. You may hit a nerve with some people, but I think you've hit the mark. Great stuff CTS!

See You In The Shadows…

nancyrost's picture

I appreciate the complexity here, the social/personal commentary, and the way you interrogate that central phrase. The performance is understated and compelling. The music supports it all well -- I particularly like the way the groove stays steady but different instruments move in and out.
I don't know if the sample would have made sense to me if I hadn't talked to you about your intent with it. I wonder if the delivery and laugh track temper the harshness or not.

mike skliar's picture

wow-! First, this is a really effective production, I love that up-front vocal, supported so well by the backing track but with the focus on the vocal the whole way thru, which is appropriate. Very thought provoking lyric, and same goes for the sample at the end. Powerful and riveting!

cleanshoes's picture

Love the backing track, which has serious groove but leaves plenty of space for your vocals to be front and center. Understated delivery, with thoughtful and biting social commentary--that central verse especially (U can take down your monuments/But do the idols live in your heart . . .) hits you right in the chest. Demands repeat listens.

Robyn Mackenzie's picture

Wow wow wow. This is powerful. The swirl organ and the laid-back beat give it a definite old-school feel. I really like the echo on the vocals and the way the beat drops on the second verse. I just listened three times in a row. Excellent.

JūS's picture

Excellent everything. Musically, it's immersive. The messaging is solid. I'm a fan.

MarkG's picture

The music is great, as always. But the commentary is so strong. Thanks for the liner notes to help us understand better--yes, "U can take down your monuments
But do the idols live in your heart" is the fulcrum of the message. You show that culture shapes us, for good and bad, from Shirley Temple to Strange Fruit. We got a long way to go, brother, but I hope we are going there together. Keep the message strong, many of us are listening to what you say.

dzd's picture

What do I think about that? A LOT! well put!

strange fruit from a lynchin tree.........whew!!! nice! along with a ton of these lines

yeah folks will still be crossing the street and locking their doors no matter how "woke" or how many books about BLM and black/minority icons they read about and love to try and discuss with that one black guy they know hahahahah

I'm trying to be optimistic, but really feel like this whole trying to out "woke" each other is just going to be a passing trend, I truly hope I'm wrong.

This is just fabulous in every way! jelly factory pumped out a gem in this batch for sure!
end sample cracked me up...needed that after this listen hahahah

Stephen Wordsmith's picture

A very well put together piece; this is a challenging viewpoint on a challenging topic and the delivery makes it very approachable. Rather than recoiling, I kept coming back for another spoonful of jelly tainted with ugly truth. Yours is exactly the sort of voice we need to hear on the issue, and I'm glad someone pointed me towards your song.

For what it's worth, your use of the sample at the end resonated with me. This song is all about capturing an authentic voice, and you've captured the authentic voice of racism. It's jarring, the laughter is jarring, but it sits uncomfortably and made me reflect uncomfortably, as I believe is helpful.

sbs2018's picture

Well done! Thought-provoking - cool vocal vibe/rhythm.

Rob From Amersfoort's picture

Deep liner notes, that gets me thinking differently about these removals of statues. The message makes it a strong song, especially the repeating line in the chorus, it really gets the message across. dzd already commented about the strange fruit line, that also got my attention, a striking reference to Billie Holiday.