"OLD SELF, aging Millennial Rap man, finds himself at corner of nostalgia sickness and questionable materialism on his debut album, Word Art Gallery. Headtrip, of NYC Rap outfit The Karma Kids, provides beats, building a relic-filled funhouse to explore as you experience OLD SELF's "various styles." Word Art Gallery is an endearing excursion in Late-stage Capitalism Rap. The copious quotables and near-rhyming Pop culture references will have you reaching for the Repeat 1 setting," reads we are the karma kids' on-site Bandcamp description.
OLD SELF's Lt Headtrip-produced debut, Word Art Gallery is a zany nostalgic trip through his "various styles" chock-full of countless 1990's-early 2000's lyrical references and allusions including, but not limited to: Britney Spears, Sammy Sosa, Chuck D, Metallica's Lars Ulrich, Salute Your Shorts, N64 cartridges, Dr. Octagon, beginner skateboard tricks, The Illuminati, Mark McGwire, Blink-182, Wild Wild West... Pauly Shore, "Al Borland," White Chicks, Air Bud, Beethoven, Clue, Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man 1-2, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of The Ooze, Vanilla Ice, Johnny Depp, and Mel Gibson (just on "Word Art!") As well as VH1 clips shows, Ja Rule, DMX, Sarah Palin, Wii Sports vs. mini-golf, Home Improvement, Young Jeezy, Kanye & Adam Levine's "Heard 'em Say," Pokémon, John McCain, Real World, Mrs. Doubtfire on VHS, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Boy Meets World, Puffy Daddy & Jimmy Page's "Come with Me," Walker Texas Ranger, Nintendo GameCube, "Working for The Weekend," ALL DENIM EVERYTHING, Bad Boys, I Love The 70's, Family Feud DVD Game, and The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. OLD SELF & heaDtrip's WCW vs. nWo: World Tour N64-referencing *Word Art Gallery* is now available to stream, purchase, or download from we are the karma kids' Bandcamp. OLD SELF and I recently spoke about the making-of Word Art Gallery, which you'll conveniently find transcribed below.
Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Sega Genesis World Champion
I. How did this collaboration with (Lt) Headtrip for Word Art Gallery initially start?
In 2008, I had a roommate who met Sarcasmo, Headtrip & Samurai Banana, hung out with them at Hofstra, and came back to New Haven [Connecticut] with a CD-R of Banana's beats. I then, downloaded all of the Headtrip or Sarcasmo music available online. This had to be 2010 or 2011; a couple years later, after we first met, we did some show trades. We had just played a show at The Velvet Lounge in Suffolk and I was rapping over "industry" beats, at that point, so I asked 'Trip to produce an 4-5 song EP for me.
II. What might you cite as some of your major sources of inspiration and influence while recording Word Art Gallery? It has a very nostalgic feel, which makes for a very fun listen for people between the ages of about 25-35!
I was a huge fan of the Beastie Boys growing up; their songs are packed with Pop culture references. During the writing of Word Art Gallery, it became clear to me that we are living a huge wave of nostalgia culture—movie re-boots, reunion tours, and the like. It's easy money for the entertainment industry and people gravitate towards it because life sucks. There's definitely "College Bro Rap" out there, where it seems like they just list a bunch of childhood references and it's corny and cheap. I wanted to do something, where I was participating in nostalgia culture, while analyzing it in a sarcastic way.
III. How did you go about choosing the features (Lt Headtrip, BIG BREAKFAST, Gruff Lion, BALD AFRO & Duncecap) for Word Art Gallery and how did you decide which artist to place on each corresponding track?
I didn't really choose them. They just sort of happened, but I couldn't be happier. All of those guys are very good friends of mine. 'Trip produced the album and it was also, recorded at his apartment in Astoria [Karma Kids Studios] and these rappers all come through his place.
IV. Who designed the Word Art Gallery artwork, ie: front cover, reverse cover, CD artwork, and N64-reminiscent cassette art? It really has a great style and seems to evoke the overall feel of the album well!
The CD and digital art was designed by Samantha McGiver. She recently did some artwork for Apathy and ChumZilla. She's a friend of mine. I sent her the album with no particular track order, asked her to come up with some ideas, and [she] produced some paintings. I gave her a lot of creative freedom with the artwork. MC Eleven did the cassette art—another friend of mine—he also, did the art for the BALD AFRO album. The J-Card is an imitation of the WCW vs. nWo: World Tour (1997) N64 box art, which is one of the first great wrestling games. My brother and I played that game a lot as kids!
V. Now, would you mind briefly discussing the "various styles" and themes seen throughout your recent "Word Art" video? How do the scenes relate to Word Art Gallery and its running lyrical themes?
Late-stage capitalism, suburban consumerism, Millennial struggle, and nostalgia culture. Mindplow directed the music video. They make some great Weirdo Comedy videos and they created the perfect visual introduction to this album.