"Growth” is a great peek into the late 90s style of Musab (known then as Beyond). It’s one of the best representations of where he would go next on his "Beyond Be-sides" project, which laid the foundation to how he would evolve for “Respect The Life”. In essence, “Growth”, in some ways, is fittingly an audio seed for the growth of Musab’s career.
The track is featured on his debut album “Comparision” [Produced By Ant of Atmosphere], which was also the first full-length CD on the Rhymesayers label. “Growth” allows the listener to accompany Beyond as he travels through the streets of Minneapolis and makes observations on his sights, including the thoughts and life struggles that are associated with them. Some initial characteristics should grab the attentive listener’s ear right away. One thing is his creative usage of rhyming words. Beyond was a master of concocting rhyming associations I had never heard before. Secondly, he is among a breed of MCs who like to bend word pronunciations to his liking, a la Black Thought. However, were Black Thought primarily does so in creative context to force words to rhyme, Beyond often does it at will, mid-bar, merely for flavor or perhaps his own amusement. Third, he has a great gift for painting visual pictures that are well written and easily relatable. I highlighted some of those writing styles in the examples contained below.
He mixes all of these strengths together instantly from the opening words, “When I’m on the city bus people try to discuss the daily current affairs/But I’m turning to stare out the window/I gaze at my reflection and pause/Look into my own eyes so I can read all my flaws/I got a ways to go, heading downtown to Minneapolis/Watching some people and the way they carry savageness/Its grabbing my senses, yo, my friend this is my mental freeze/Even my kin to me are trying to bring me injuries/emotionally, I’m not getting no assistance/My family’s riffin’ over things that’s un-efficient/All I’m trying to do is succeed so I can feed my seed/So all the bulls**t, yo, I don’t need/exceed on to the next thought/rush hour’s got the block tight and at a stop light we take halt/So many buildings that over tower s**t/I wonder who owns ‘em, maybe I can build a conglomerate/Cause I’m a monster when it comes to creating/But doors are slammed in your face if you’re lacking on education/I’m patient cause I know that I’ll be making advancement/I’m giving everybody some s**t till I’m triumphant…”
The second verse takes a slightly different approach and from the beginning you can imagine Beyond sitting on the bus lost in deep thought, “Who invented the news? It’s fully fiction the s**t they’re kicking/Never tell you about all the children that come up missing/Theory-etially I think we’re genetically ruined/cause when it comes to moving up in the game it seems we never gain/It seems weather’s rain and I’m walking without no shelter/People they never help ya when they see you trying to compel ta/Another status, they just be talking blasphemously/People will cut their mom’s throat for some cash and stuff…see/I coordinate to be more than great/Cause I don’t want my son to have grow up mopping floors for shake…wait…”
Examples such as those show Beyond not only alters pronunciations, but also stretches meanings of words to use them in fairly irregular ways. They still make sense, but are just used in a manner that is not particularly common. This technique allows him to broaden the scope of the rhyme schemes that he has at his disposal.
Continuing on from where we left off above, the second verse writing hits a peak when he switches his attention from personal troubles to those seen around him, using great rhyme schemes in the process, before returning back to a more self-reflective approach at the close of the verse, “…wait/the bus drivers having debates with some teen-agers/I guess they’re short with the green papers/This kid in front of me is sporting a bag/I think he probably tags because he’s peepin’ a (gra)ffiti mag/I take a drag of the motor fumes every two seconds/I’m glad I’m getting off at the next intersection…”
The result is a great way of writing an introspective story song by using stories within the story of the main point, allowing those sideline thoughts and observations to tie the overall point together. Other “Comparison” song highlights that feature similar writing processess include “B.L.A.K Culture”, “B.O.O.K”, “The Factory”, & “Sunny Days”.
Written By Kevin Beacham the Mic Mathematician
AVAILABLE BEYOND/MUSAB releases:
-NEW RELEASE: Abstract Rude & Musab “The Awful Truth” [Limited Edition CD featuring Slug, Blueprint, Toki Wright, Grouch…]