The year is 1999. I’m 13… and seriously have no idea what is about to erupt within me. Yet, one of the most significant moments of my life is about to occur.
I was sitting in our generic music class in 8th grade when our teacher opens the class by asking the simple question – “Do any of you write your own music or have a band?”
This is by no means a mind bending, big life question, but boy did it shatter my world. “WHAT?! I can write my own music or be in a band at this age?!” I had never considered it, had never been informed I could. Sure I had been playing saxophone in school band for a couple years, but never had I been given the encouragement nor the permission to try to create my own.
This simple question ignited a fire inside of me that has never subsided. It was that singular moment that changed everything for me. That simple question allowed me the capacity to touch base with something inside of me that was dormant, just waiting to be awoken.
I was stunned by how intense it arose. It was crystal clear it was a true life calling.
That day, in the lunchroom, I tell a group of my friends we needed to start a rap group. A bunch of them laughed at me, but two of them were totally on board. So, we ended up starting a rap group called “The Slap Happy Grand Pappy’s” (SHGP for short) haha! My two buddies went by Cinquan and B-4. My first rap name was Ernie – as that was my nickname at the time because of my last name (Ernenwein) – and in the summer of 2000 we recorded our first self-entitled album in my parent’s computer room.
Sadly, only 5 of those songs have survived over the last 20 years (which I’ll let you download below!). But they are hysterical gold of very humble beginnings.
Our recording process was so insane.
If you had a windows computer in the 90’s, you might recall this program:
This is how we recorded our album! No edit window. No processing. No effects. Just super hard. There was a way to layer audio on top of each other through this program, but it took a lot of undoing and repasting. We never got them layered perfectly, but got it c l o s e…ish.
You could have multiple windows open at a time, so we had at least two of these boxes on the screen at a time. One we recorded the beat to and then we’d play the beat while we hit record on the other. Then we’d have to paste the recording over top of the beat after the fact. It was a mess, but we didn’t know any better. This was the most exciting thing I had ever created myself. (If you listen to the tracks, you’ll hear thuds – that was the sound the program made when you hit “stop” and since we didn’t have an edit window, we weren’t able to edit them out *face palm* – classic!)
We created the beats on a Playstation video game that had come out around that time called “MTV Music Generator.” I don’t know if you could truly call the beats hip-hop, but they worked! So, we’d create the beat, then put our plastic computer mic up to the TV and recorded onto the computer from the TV. Not ideal, but all we could do. And this is literally the kind of microphone we recorded the whole thing on!!!!!
It’s really been a wild ride since!
Here are 4 of the very first tracks I ever wrote and recorded! Enjoy!
Stay tuned for more stories, dreams, and insights on how this journey has progressed.
You are amazing, thank you for your time,
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