Ox Out the Cage

11 May

By Ayo

Hit the ground running.

If the first track on your album is titled “Intro,” you’ll be first against the wall. Except DMX because his “Intro” tracks were complete three-verse songs.

Hit the ground running.

It’s so unusual for the first track to be a song and more unusual still for the song to be topical, rather than introductory.

Nas “Get Down” from /God’s Son/
Slick Rick “Treat Her Like a Prostitute” from /The Great Adventures of Slick Rick/
Dead Kennedys “Kill the Poor” from /Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables/
LL Cool J “I Can’t Live Without My Radio” from /Radio/
Dead Kennedys “Soup Is Good Food” from /Frankenchrist/
Oscar Brown Jr. “Work Song” from /Sin & Soul/

There are some…but it isn’t universal. Personally I would like to cut the crap and the “hello, my name is” stuff and dive right into the difficult material. Plus starting off deep with a song about a specific subject suggests a strength and confidence that is rare and compelling.

Hit the ground running. “Ox Out the Cage” is actually the second song on Cannibal Ox’s /The Cold Vein/ but “Iron Galaxy” is a beautiful opening, serving the dual purpose of introduction and catalogue of inner-city decay, which is the specific topic. However, “Iron Galaxy” still feels quite “overview”-like and lacks the specificity of “Get Down,” the first track on Nas /God’s Son/.

Hit the ground running. Ox Out the Cage. All killer, no filler. Leave the chatter for the interviews. Open with a bang and leave people begging for more. Don’t rap about how generally cool you are, don’t sing about the general excitement of life. Go in.

Hit the ground running.

I read a lot of comic books. Most of them are terrible. Even a bad comic book can be good if its author isn’t worried about how serious the story is or isn’t. If the author isn’t concerned with making sure that I knew a whole lot of specific things. /Just rhyme, homie/

Superhero comics are the worst. Why are you drawing my attention to characters who aren’t even properly in the story? Waste of time. Why pages and pages of exposition? That is terrible, make it stop. Nobody cares. Scenes of superheroes making speeches for pages to inspire other superheroes (or more exactly, to clumsily introduce plot points) this is boring and I’m not reading the rest of your comic.

Hit the ground running.

Don’t ever write a panel with one character speaking in four word bubbles. I will never know what those bubbles say. I’m a busy man. Kill that shit or don’t even turn your mic on.

Go hard or go home. Hit the ground running or tell your story walking.

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