Pinan and I were somehow placed on the same floor in the same stinking hot college dormitory in the fall of 2000. Fourth floor Babcock, Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Halls, Urbana, Illinois. Though we each came from a slightly different background--he from Chicago's South side, and I from various suburban dwellings--we soon formed a friendship based on our love for hip hop, among other things. Soon it was evident that we each had a small collection of horribly self-recorded raps from our high school days, and it became clear that college was going to be the time for us to perfect our craft.
The first tune we crafted together was admittedly ambitious, written completely from the point of view of water itself, but it was early indication of many future themes that would be present in our music. Creativity, back-and-forth wordplay, love of nature, and complex rhyme schemes were all part of the Melodic Scribes way of life from day one. The following summer, we gathered our verses from our first year of college, and called upon Pinan's friend Sam (then known as 'The Governor of Groove', now plays organ in a band 'Otis Grove') to produce and record our debut effort. Sam was an extremely talented multi-instrumentalist, had a bedroom with a four-track, and liked Phish, MMW and Radiohead. That was about all I knew of him, but it was good enough for me. Two sessions later we had a collection of songs, simply entitled, "Melodic Scribes EP." (Pinan can correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the titling of that disk was the first time the name "Melodic Scribes" had ever been thrown around.) As a bedroom recording, the quality of sound on that first disc was expectedly subpar, but the quality of songwriting and instrumentalism impressed many people, ourselves included.
Many exciting events took place at the beginning of our sophomore year. The Scribes are now off-campus, in an apartment with a couple other buddies. We start meeting a lot of new people with a similar love for hip hop, and a student organization is born. This gave us an opportunity to distribute our CDs, meet many new fans and artists, and start performing our music regularly on campus. The most essential new friendship came in the form of Arkon, hailing from the unlikely hip hop mecca of Galesburg, Illinois. Arkon has himself two turntables, a Triton, and an MPC. We first approach Arkon about producing a song soon after September 11, 2001, so that we may have a landscape on which to paint our first track of a political nature. "War," and a few other songs were recorded in Arkon's bedroom studio from then into 2003. Collaborations also occured with fellow emcees Czar Absolute (now frontman for Animate Objects), Doomsday and Antimatter, as well as producers s.m.arson (of Banarnar) and Farsheed (now playing as Zirafa, as well as other bands).
We first tasted success in our Junior year. Backed by the awesome power of UC Hip Hop, and now performing with a real-live DJ (sometimes Arkon, sometimes Spinnerty), our live shows transferred from smaller venues and coffee shops and into places like the Highdive and Canopy. These are the big leagues, by Urbana-Champaign standards. People start handing us money (or at the very least giving us a ton of drinks) in exchange for rapping! The local papers wrote about us! We opened for some of my heroes! This was my dream! However, as the momentum grew, we began to realize we needed more material to distribute than that old EP we made. After an excellent trip with friends (including Arkon and Spinnerty), we made our way on over to DJ Spinnerty's radio show, "Needle Drops," on WEFT 90.1. Arkon and Spinnerty dropped records while Pinan and I ran through every verse in our notebooks. Doomsday joined us later for a freestyle. It was a very laid-back evening of radio hip hop, but when Spinnerty revealed the whole thing had been recorded, I was ecstatic. This essentially doubled the amount of recorded material we had to work with.
Now in our senior year of college, the Melodic Scribes were still living together, including Arkon, who by now I am sure we were calling DJ Mar Mar. In late 2003, we assembled what was to be known as "Scribbles," entitled that because it was essentially a mess of past recordings. Not an album, but a mixtape rather. There is nothing cohesive about the songs we put on "Scribbles," but we wanted fans and friends to have a disc which better represent our accomplishments in rap. Carefully selecting two of the better songs from the Groove era, a few from the Arkon collaborations, a couple recorded live at a Highdive show, several from the WEFT session, and a tune each from Farsheed and s.m.arson, we had "Scribbles." We designed, assembled, printed, and burned everything ourselves onto mulit-colored CDs, and got rid of them all at shows. Because we just don't have anymore product of that nature to sell, I decided it was time to put it online, albeit as one long mp3 file.
The following consists of music recorded by the Melodic Scribes between 2001 and 2003:
ryebread, june 2006.