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Creative Process: The Making of TEAM DAR's Leviticus



Tracklist 
1. Leviticus Intro 
2. Follow Me Now featuring Dugee F. Buller
3. Black Noize 
4. Smoove, A DAR Tale 
5. Good Times 
6. Like That 
7. Gone Wrong 
8. The Lord's Children 
9. Level Up Interlude 
10. Come And Get It
11. Diamonds And Crystals 
12. Warfare
13. No Time 
14. Sky High 
15. DAR La Familia 

March 2015. The release of the DAR album Exodus, to decent fanfare and success. The process for making Exodus was quite fun and quite close knit, as we would all make the trek to the studio in Baltimore once a month to create something special. This time around, the usual four man collective was mostly down to a trio, as Speed prepared to retire from actively making music. True, Ax and Apollo adjusted as such and at the newly christened DAR Studios, they would work hard during the late Summer-Fall time to create the album. Here is a behind the scenes look at the album and the songs from the perspective of the four MCs, as Speed kicks it off detailing his absence from a majority of the album, while expressing why this album is still important to him.

@SpeedontheBeat 
So, before I get those "what's good with you and True, man? Are y'all okay, man?" tweets or what-the-hell ever, yep, I got it from here, 'Ye. Damn. The reason why I'm not on as many tracks this go around is my own doing, not some random unseen falling out.

In the aftermath of 2015, I decided that, for real this time, it was time for me to step away from music. I've given folks classics, dope beats, turn up anthems, and my entire life on wax--well, actually MP3, but screw it. I didn't have much else to say lyrically and I hate being that guy who just raps to rap and make a quota. That's when you get me making stuff like, I don't know, Thursday Daemons or something.

So, I told True and the team that I was going to step back and kind of mentally recoup and focus more on writing and further expanding the DAR, SOTB!, EOTR, etc. brands in that way. Truthfully, it works a lot on this album, as this is a new era of DAR. Now, don't get it confused. I'm still there and it's always DAR Business. But, at the end of the day, my heart's not in rap at the moment and I'm not going to sit there and pull folks I call family down musically just because I'm going through it. That's that selfish bullshit that ends up killing off a lot of great groups and stuff.

Hopping on less tracks and dropping less beats on Leviticus was, in some ways, freeing. It allowed me to actually hone in on what I wanted to say and just spaz out on tracks. I got to go in more than on just, like, "Dance" from Exodus, as folks tend to associate me as being one of the outlandish members of the group. Plus, as the team can attest, I got to pass along a lot more work, beat-wise. That's coming soon, too.

All in all, though? It's a new era and this album reflects it. It's a lot more calculatd and straight-up volatile than the last ones. It's more aggressive and lacks a filter to the point that all four voices are saying the things they need to say.

Will I come back full-on musically one day? Who knows..maybe not. But, what I do contribute to the team cannot be diminished by a diminished lyrical presence, and I will continue to do my part to grow this as much as we can.

@BigBallinAXEL
My track by track rundown just speaks directly to my verses and the overall feel of the album.

Leviticus Intro
-I wanted to touch on some issues that I went through with racial profiling over the summer from police in Maryland and explain what we were about.

Follow Me Now
-We heard the beat while smoking and I told the group this sounds like another Follow Me Now by Juvenile so I paid homage to him with my verse. Apollo shined here definitely.

Black Noize 
-Just felt like hitting this beat with a unique style. The trumpet jazz feel was fun to rap on.

Smoove
-Sometimes I feel like my lyricism is underrated, so I had to display that I could hold my own with anybody on this track with more of a conventional style.

Good Times
-I knew it was a smoking song soon as I heard it, and had to deliver the signature style on it. True killed the hook.

Like That
-This was the 1st song we recorded for the project and we just had to have fun mixing it up on here.

Gone Wrong 
-This is pretty much talking about the negativity going on in my life.

The Lord's Children
-I was reluctant to hop on initially, but used this to talk about being conflicted with trying to be a better person, but demons and negativity pulling you back.

Level Up Interlude
-This is probably the most punchlines I ever used in a verse with my unique style. I think I caught attention with this verse.

Come and Get It
-My favorite verse of mine on here, the flow complimented the beat perfectly, as the energy gawd flexed on this one.

Diamonds and Crystals 
-My girl inspired this song as we've been on and off since 2010 and have had ups and downs, but we'll officially reconnect this summer and I meant everything I said in the verse.

Warfare
-I was high as fuck and wrote this in the studio, that's my biggest memory of this one.

No Time
-I had a set back and reflected on the tough year I had and did it with no profanity too. This is one of my better verses. I try to be relatable in my music to show I ain't a perfect man, but I'm working to become better.

Sky High
-Another verse I told my 2015 story about blowing my transmission and getting charged wit a DUI and weed in Pennsylvania.

DAR La Familia
-I almost missed this track due to a lack transportation to the studio, but I'm glad I was able to hop on because this is one of  our best songs collectively in my opinion. It had a 90's feel and True and Apollo delivered heavy, so even though I wrote this in the studio, I had to come with my A game to end the track. Overall, this project collectively had my best verses and that was a great cap off for me personally.

@ShokusApollo
When speaking on this album, I have to give you the play by play on each song from my perspective. As follows:

Leviticus Intro
-When you have a new project, you have to decide what will set the tone. This album completes the initial DAR trilogy. That's why in the verse I name drop "Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, the trilogy". This is a triumphant song with us showcasing what's been going on lately. While victorious, we also spit pain in the verses that match the soulful loop.

Follow Me Now
-This is one of my favorite verses and I think a standout to the song. The lush, island beat gives a throwback summer feel. I did the hook in a few minutes when we were in the booth, it just came together. True added the chant as well, which made it pop.

Black Noize
-This is a feel good song. Just talking some hip hop shit. It showcases our versatility. We all flow perfectly on the jazz, pop sounding production. It's short so it's cohesive.

Smoove (A DAR Tale)
-This is the song you play at the cookouts this year. It's DAR step music. Soulful mixed with lighthearted. The hooks by True were amazing as he did a different one each verse. AX's energy just make you wanna get live. I went for a Andre 3000 approach on this but think I executed well. "The picture that's encapsulated, now my pupils are dilapidated". Just tried to put a lyrical spin on it. Dope track.

Good Times 
-My verse was typical party feel good. My favorite line I wrote was "these wack hoes don't impress me, roll chocolates like Nestle." I had a few clever lines in it. The hook carries the song. Nice follow up to Smoove.

Like That
-The first song we recorded for this album. It sparked it all. Came with everything in the studio, spur of the moment. It came out beautifully. The hook just felt natural to me because it's a roll call. The team is in full effect.

Gone Wrong
-In some ways the pinnacle song on here. It highlights the dark times in our lives somewhat. The beat and everything sounds so somber. My voice on the hook is haunting as if I'm out of control. My verse is about a woman that I've dealt with in my life and how she doesn't see the good in me. Very deep, but it's still trippy.

The Lord's Children 
-My favorite track on the album. My other favorite verse on the album and my favorite from True, Ax and Speed. So sinister and sacreligious. I think in embodied a Tical era Method Man on the track but with the Apollovelli flavor. The description of the Hell I'm in love with, suits the creepy tones of this track.

Level Up (Interlude)
-Just like Black Noize. Very nice hip hop joint. The message is clear for all you rap niggas to level up, get on our level.

Come and Get It
-The turn up joint. It's lit to the maximum and the hook fits. It's just in your face mosh pit shit. Somehow I still was lyrical on it saying things like "looking for prey and they go asunder/ manipulate elements lightning and thunder". But that's what DAR does we keep the verses with clever high quality schemes on all types of tracks.

Diamonds and Crystals
-We needed a joint for the ladies so this is definitely it. The beat was old school ASAP type, but the drums added depth. This isn't a typical girl song either, it's mature. It's about the fact that some women want it all and how they claim to be different.

Warfare
-Lyrical barrage for you rap niggas. Giving the audience a brief history lesson when I say "of the pyramids, my ancestors were advisors". This is a hard body song with lyrical warfare.

No Time
-Soulful track. My verse is about not having time or patience to deal with a woman's drama. Don't like having my time wasted either. the beat is what takes the cake for me.

Sky High 
-A somber but feel good track. Another one of the highlights on the album. All our verses are personal as in we just want to be above all the drama. My verse set the tone and each one of us brought passion to the track. The video accompanies the track perfectly.

DAR La Familia
-The perfect song to end the album with. It's like a Firm 96, Escobar feel. The hook is real and it's strong and cult like. My verse was very AZ Sosa like cause I had The Firm in mind when I did the verse.

@TrueGodImmortal
This album was extremely interesting to record. The process was different. Song for song, my experiences vary on what I wanted to bring the table. I'll get into why and such in a moment. I think this signals the next era for DAR and the music is on an even higher level. Let me get into it.

Leviticus Intro
-From the jump, when I first heard the beat, I knew that soulful loop was perfect for the intro. I notified the team and Apollo kicks things off with his verse. My verse is pretty much a freestyle, as is most of my verses on this album, and this one is a one take verse I believe. A solid intro with all of us expressing aggression to let the world know who DAR is.

Follow Me Now
-I didn't want to rap on this song. I honestly was going to just be on the bridge/hook and call it a day. There's a hidden version with Speed on it that you might hear one day, but on this track Apollo does his thing, Dugee dropped by to assist and I tack on a short 10 bar freestyle to close us out with a rapid fire flow.

Black Noize
-That official hip hop shit, over the jazzy boom bap beat that allows us all to coast. I think this is yet another freestyle or wrote quickly on the spot verses from me. All around a great song and showing of lyrical prowess.

Smoove (A DAR Tale)
-This one is fun. My verse I think is completely fire and I went off lyrically, along with a few different hooks that all blend together. This is one of the few verses I believe I actually wrote for the album.

 Good Times
-This is a fun song for me. A smoker anthem with the right amount of melody and an infectious hook. My verse here is freestyled and I just went through it once and did what was needed. This is a potential hit.

Like That
-Another fun song to record, this one was the first one we did initially. I just like the feel of the track and my verse was just me going off with whatever rhymed. There's references to Latinas, JBL, Teddy and Marvin, etc... this one was fun to record.

Gone Wrong
-Another song I didn't want to be on essentially. I liked the idea of me not being on some songs, but I felt like I still needed a presence, so I put a small freestyle verse on there talking about my struggles. I like Apollo on this track however, he's the driving force.

The Lord's Children
-I got the beat from Apollo and we sort of just sat on the idea for something. Late in the album process, I sort of got into the zone and began coming up with hooks and ideas. This one was special to me because of how sinister and dark it was. My verse is just aggressive and full of wordplay, same for the rest of the team. Everyone shows up here and kills it. It took a while to convince Ax to get on the song, but I'm glad he did. Speed also shows up here and does this thing.

Level Up Interlude
-I remember recording this one vividly. Apollo had put his verse on and I was sitting there in a zone ready to freestyle and what you see is a result of that. I think all four of us came with it and it's nice to have the original group of four back again with a dope interlude.

Come And Get It
-The energy here is crazy and Apollo's hook sets the tone and my verse continues that. I wrote this verse a bit different as I only had the rhyming words written down for the first 6 bars and freestyled from there. So, on my notes app, I wrote "falcon, Malcolm, outcome" and then "talking, sparking", and went from there. That was a fun mental exercise to work out.

Diamonds And Crystals
-This is a dope track and Apollo came with a solid concept here and I tacked on my verse near the end with some slick wordplay.

Warfare
-A nice joint for the streets, I just wanted to bring the feel of aggression and solidarity amongst team to all opposers. My verse is just a quick couplet and does the job here. You don't want problems with DAR. That's the basis of this.

No Time
-Soulful, boom bap and lyrically sound, this is one of the best songs on the album honestly. I freestyled my verse in one take and I just went off the energy of the beat here.

Sky High 
-This album, much like Exodus, saw me focus on hooks and this is one of my favorite hooks that I've done. The verses here are very personal from all of us, mine just speaks to my struggles and problems over the last year or two.

DAR La Familia
-This song was almost left off the album, but it was the perfect way to close it out, so it definitely had to be put on here. The feel of this is The Firm like, with me taking the Nas role, Apollo taking the AZ role, and AX truthfully taking on a Nature/Cormega role and killing it overall regardless. This is one of the strongest songs we've ever done together.

What do you think about the album? Let us know in the comments and support DAR Business.

-DAR 

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