by Gradient: Rapper

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Check out my music video for It Ain't Nothin'!

My debut studio album, written and produced entirely by my friends and I.


released August 22, 2014

Album art and design by Ken Schiller
Engineering, mixing, and mastering by Sammy Warm Hands
Executive produced by Odar & Sammy Warm Hands


Some rights reserved. Please refer to individual track pages for license info.



Gradient: Rapper Eugene, Oregon

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Track Name: Rainy Day (feat. Halah Mohammed)
[Verse 1:]
I’m not gonna, not gonna, not gonna wait
For the beat to hit before I can spit
‘Cause I’ve waited my entire life for this
Writin’ this felt nice, it did, but it feels better to be recitin’ this
I exist in life to try and fly as high as I can get
Strive to just inspire minds of guys who might be likin’ it
I liken it to a medicine
Kill pain like Vicodin
Rap game didn’t wanna let us in
But it’ll get a lot better once I get in
I got a mic and a pen and I might go and
Go psycho quite like Michael did
Or I might just write flows honestly
When I’m on the beat that’s what my goal is
So I must confess to feeling blessed that you are hearing this
My only goal in rap is to reflect on my experience
I testify that weirder kids can best the finest lyricists
I step farther than stepfathers of Potter, yeah I’m Sirius
Deliriously spitting sicker than a myriad
Of punks and I can punctuate a line without a period
I spit it correct and stay calm on the beat
Like I’m Thom the grammar officer, comma police
OK, computer saying I should stop the dated references
Optimize my album quality with data sets and shit
Nah, I say the things I wanna say, my weapon is
The authenticity that’s often missin’ when they’re reppin’ shit

[Chopped vocal sample:]
…Rainy day, rainy day, rainy day

[Verse 2:]
140 days a year it rains in my hometown
I’m grateful every day that I was raised in my hometown
Eugene, Oregon, a little insane and far from the humdrum
Hope you don’t get bored but I wanna explain about where I come from
Constant cloudy climate, say goodbye to your dumb umbrella
‘Cause daily showers here are not a conundrum
I’m from, pizza drivers too high to deliver
And I’m from pickin’ blackberries on the side of the river
And I’m from often being asked real politely by a guy on the street
If I’ll provide a dollar so he and his wife get to eat
Unspoken poverty, got a lot of folks not ownin’ property
But I don’t wanna focus on showin’ awful things
There’s a lot that growin’ taught to me
People want that dough monopoly
But don’t want the battle, the burns and scars
Shout-out to my family ‘cause they
Showed me the value of workin’ hard
In the backyard past the sunset
Dad made us work ‘til we ask are we done yet
Mom workin’ every night to feed us food
And my sis taught me to succeed in school
Clouds overhead but it’s okay
Never be afraid of a rainy day
Just seek that goal that you have before you
‘Cause nobody’s gonna grab it for you

[Chopped vocal sample]

[Poem: Halah Mohammed]

When no one else will for you
Will, for you, thunder claps
A shower of praises 'til you crack
A blue sky missing sun


Whether or not they see you
Wet faces with your rainy day words
You strike pain

And never let up

The will to will for you
Whatever they won’t
Track Name: It Ain't Nothin'
[Crowd noise intro:]
And now, ladies and gentlemen…
It. Ain’t. Nothin’.

[Verse 1:]
Yo I am a locksmith warlock, escaped from your box
To make the floor rock and take the whole spot
So great, the flow’s hot. They hate? They know not
I came to go in when flowin’ so insanely fast
How my brain reacts, when I lay the track
I lay these wack rappers down like a pillow with some feathers in it
I come clever with it, they be gettin’ hella faded, I’m about to elevate it
Magnanimous animals when we handle calamities
Bilingual like a camera’s manual
Spit raw shizz while I’m wearin’ galoshes,
I’m awesome, make you feel noxious, caustic
I ain’t goin’ quietly when I have flows inside of me
And you have notoriety for having no variety
With piety you try to see as high as me to spy on me
My rhymes are lookin’ better every year like Hermione

Yeah, and I’ll be spittin’ a bit
So kick your feet up and keep up and listen to this
The historian who’s claimin’ all the glory
As an Oriental boy up in Oregon, I’m born to tell a story and
It ain’t nothin’, it ain’t nothin’, it ain’t nothin’
Rhymes blow minds but yo
It ain’t nothin’, it ain’t nothin’ (it ain’t nothin’)
‘Cause I do this every day, yeah

[Verse 2]
I’ll back down from no challenge, the flow’s silenced
By no Schmoe when folks know he’s got no talent
You gotta know talent, so recognize I’ve been wreckin’ rhymes
Since the frickin’ Mayans were inventing science
I been on that. I’m bombastic, and I’ll brag
Teach a long class, I’m beyond swag
I be on that bomb rap, that go-and-tell-your-mom rap
Go-and-show-your-grandma-the-song rap
Sincerity and clarity are balanced with an air of arrogance
But I’m talented and I’m sharin’ it
I’m wearin’ it from the skin of my feet to my hair
Other kids bearin’ only minimum pieces of flair
Keep it classy like a nice dinner
And I’m new school like the Weitz Center
I’m just livin’ in the shadow of my college friends
So here’s a shout-out to acknowledge them
What’s up, Carleton?


[Verse 3]
I’m a venomous lyricist and the anger is back
Here to set a superior set of standards to rap
I’m a giant; you could even stand in my lap
When I’m rhymin’ you can see that your hand’s gonna clap
So in time, when the hits stop and they’ve made the very best hip-hop
This is the advancement of that
Not sayin’ I’m better than every veteran
‘Cause I’m indebted to them but I’m clever and
Ever since gettin’ a mic I’ve been makin’ em dance to the track
Let’s go

[Modified chorus outro]
Yeah, and I’ll be spittin’ a bit
So kick your feet up and keep up and listen to this
The historian who’s claimin’ all the glory
As an Oriental boy up in Oregon, I’m born to tell a story and
It ain’t nothin’, it ain’t nothin’, it ain’t nothin’
Rhymes blow minds
When I’m in it to win it I’m gonna finish the bidness
Sinners gettin’ diminished, it’s like Dennis the Menace
The sultan, you’d be so dim to insult him
He’ll give you a cold grin, so Minnesotan
It ain’t nothin’, it ain’t nothin’, it ain’t nothin’
Rhymes blow minds
With the timin’ impeccable, I’m inclined to go wreck a fool
With the volume in decibels, but all you just better know that
It ain’t nothin’, it ain’t nothin’, it ain’t nothin’
Rhymes blow minds
With precision, the pan’s sizzlin’
The kid with a damn vision
I’m honored that fans listen
So welcome to Ambition

Shout-out to Ellis Johnston
Odar, this beat is crazy
Track Name: Spectacle (feat. The ILLusionists & Ogar Burl)
[Verse 1: Ogar Burl]
It’s the team from your dreams and you’ll see what I mean
It’s the theme, as the steam builds up it seems to scream
Kettle on the flame, we don’t settle for the lame
Set ‘em up, we knock ‘em down
It’s not the same when we’re done
See it’s fun but I’m serious
And if you’re feelin’ this you’re getting’ lifted like my spirit is
You hearin’ this? If not then pay attention
I’m benchin’ a thousand pounds of funk without flinchin’
It’s a cinch and I wouldn’t have it any other way
My conversations rhyme; I’ve been trainin’ every day
There’s no wastin’ time because we’re down to the last minute
So gimme the beat and I’ma try to be fast with it
I’m past gimmicks, over the shenanigans
My eyes are closed, I’m focused and I’m feelin’ like a fan again
The state of hip-hop is sad but we’re savin’ it
Odar, Sammy, Ogar, Ev and Gradient

[Verse 2: Gradient]
So is it too much to ask, that if you call yourself a rhymer
You try and supply a meaningful line from time to time
‘Cause there’s an overwhelming amount of these underwhelming emcees
Who follow where the trends be, it honestly offends me
They often ask “Dude, how’d I sound? Did you like the show?”
Yeah, I liked the part where you put down the microphone
You see, I lost interest in your flows
‘cause all you say is “Yo, I got bitches and some hoes”
Oh whoa, this dude has messages and talented rhymes
It’s not like I’ve heard that sexist shit a thousand times
Act tough but you’re so not vicious
That growl in your voice; have some throat lozenges
With complicated rhythms I can shock your faded vision
They often pay admission just to watch the way we’re rippin’
I’ve been kickin’ flows since I was kickin’ in my mother’s womb
When you’re onstage I’d rather listen in the other room

Yeah we just wanna let you know
You are now tuned into the spectacle
We rock stages and wreck the flow
It’s amazin’, it’s called the spectacle

[Verse 3: E.Ville]
You’ve been vetoed, finito, you suck more than mosquitos
Talkin’ about how you got money, but you’ve never seen a C note
Everything you do illegal, actin’ like you’re big as Beatles
But unto a little leaguer as I am the Great Bambino
I’m Pig Pen filthy, Latino amigos they say
“Este gringo es pinche cochino!”
Career run cold? Well that’s a bummer
I’m hotter than 27 sweaters in the summer
So I’m shittin’ on your writtens ‘cause they’re cuter than kittens
You’re not convincin’ when you’re fibbin’ that you’re swimming in women
‘Cause I don’t get a dick about the tits you grip, whips you flip
Bet you bought your kicks with a Groupon coupon
Dude, I’m the Pooh like Winnie, bruh
Make a guttural sound if you feel me (ungh!)
When a punk jumps up to fuck with Chuck Brown
They’re a bank on Memorial Day: shut down

[Verse 4: Sammy Warm Hands]
Giving you the runaround, potty mouth
Listening to Guttermouth and Body Count
So underground that I’m rotting out
But I’ve got an affinity for obliterating any emcees in a given vicinity
Reducing the little shits to Kibbles ‘n Bits
You and this music didn’t mix, like Skittles and Ritz
I’ll turn your ego to emo like slitting a wrist
Yeah, who shot Mr. Burns?
Who got pissed and turned the mic into a weapon
to exacerbate depression?
Abusing music for therapy under scrutiny’s terribly harder
But only going farther,
I’d suck a dick just to fuck with my homophobic father
Wait – I’m getting déjà vu
Gradient’s resurrecting features like Ra’s al Ghul
I guess Odar, Ecid, Task, Ogar, Guante and E.Ville
have all signed on for the sequel!
Track Name: Elevator Music (feat. The Palmer Squares)
[Verse 1: Gradient]
Y’all rappin’ clowns that are rappin’ now better
Consider immediate retirement
Can’t make it in the rap school when
There’s a writing and reading requirement
Ain’t found that wordplay, or rhymin’ ability?
Try and acquire it
Y’all sound like Earth Day
Recycling lyrics, save the environment
But I turn off the cruise control and I roll like drivin’ manual cars
But I can outrap you on a bicycle too
Don’t you know that I can handlebars? Yup
Tell me that I need to rehearse? I consider that libel
I don’t think you could get any worse when y’all
Couldn’t spit a verse if you were chokin’ on the bible
So consider this an Exodus from your rap career
The Revelation’s next and it’s
Not lookin’ good for you
So bow down and respect my ¬new testament
Thou shalt not kill this shit
I’m the only murderer, man you know me
Motherfucker, you’re not tight
You flop like Manu Ginobili
My rhyme’s like Kryptonite
So don’t pick the fight when I grip the mic
I’m steady kickin’ it, burnin’ it, put your shit in a tourniquet
Then I make a blackout like I flicked the light
Got nothin’ on me like nudity
This rappin’ shit’s not new to me
I’m stackin’ bread, not gluten free, so
What the fuck you gonna do to me?

It’s elevator music, yeah that’s elevator music
All these rappers online sound like elevator music
It’s elevator music, yeah that’s that elevator music
Y’all are boring all the time like elevator music

[Verse 2: Acumental]
I got witch hunters in Burkittsville
Big numbers and a urge to kill
Bump 30 milligram Percocets
To the dirty version of Purple Hills
Find Ac on the blacktop in a red coat like Cliffjumper
A piff puffer like Chris Tucker
Chug whiskey then skip supper
Let’s go over the basics
We’re dope and nobody hates us
Vocal homeostasis
So all the homies go ape ish
Your tape gets played in elevators while I’m playin’
Sold out shows at Reggie’s next to Record Breakers
Catch me later

[Terminal Knowledge]
What it be? What it is?
Nobody gets me at all
Throwing shit at the wall (splat!)
Just to see if it sticks
Puffin’ tree in the whip, roamin’ the streets
Keep that weed smoking aroma
He don’t even know what it mean like mesothelioma
Iconoclastic squadon
Finna max the profits
I got some narcotics stashed in my pockets
And a wad of cash in my sock
Just keep calm, be nonchalant
Commandant and phenomenon
Sleep in a coffin, call me the Count
Reach in your pockets all the way down
Bottom line: if you fuck with our clique, I’m not surprised
Who wouldn’t?
You pushin’ a large abundance of redundant garbage
And the problem lies behind your plot to economize
As opposed to open your chakras wide
A conscious mind is not a crime
Stone Age philosophies fossilized


[Verse 3: Gradient]
So when I pick up the mic I’mma use it well
And I’mma think of a rhyme I can truly tell
Is gonna shake up the status quo in this hip-hop shit
And now you’re knowin’ that when I spit
I’m itchin’ to get in a position
To show a coward that I can brawl
Fire Emblem the entire section
I’m overpowered like Ike in Brawl
I smash flows, then I play a little game of Super Smash Bros.
Unmatchable and I lack foes
‘Cause everybody’s too afraid to attack, bro!
So I tell a hater, like Gary Oak, “I’ll smell ya later”
Risin’ up and I’m excellin’ greater
When I’m ridin’ up in my elevator
And I’m out
Track Name: Thank You (feat. Isabelle Rivers-McCue)
[Verse 1]
Man, I’ve exhausted my confidence all in this authorship
Hip-hop is just often provocative
But if I can just pause with the pompousness
I’ll admit that I’m flawed with some awkwardness
Can’t stop it I’m not Biggie or Pac
But more of big flop when I’m talkin’, and often it’s
When I’m with a girl that I’m attracted to
My words and my thoughts get caught in the esophagus
Since middle school, constantly ridiculed
Confidence miniscule, I’d commonly been a fool
And honestly I’ve always been fallin’
For these girls, man I often go all in
Saw when you approached me in the hallway
It all changed, and the way you smiled didn’t hit me in a small way
All day I would think about you
Thought would ruin me to ever be without you, how true

[Chorus: Isabelle Rivers-McCue]
We tried to keep it going
But it was all beyond control
It all fell apart so fast
But I would not change the past
I wanna thank you

[Verse 2]
When we dated I was so infatuated with those eyes
I left my old self at the roadside
I was so blind, never did I wanna say goodbye
So I became a man I didn’t even recognize
Hypnotized, I was thinkin’ I could sacrifice everything
Satisfy your every need, happy we’d forever be
But it was unsettling as hell
When we admitted we had reached codependency
You said it seems wrong for us to constantly be settling
Belittling our own goals, forgetting our other friends
Eventually you had to go and sever things
It was incredibly hard for you
But you wanted better things for me
It was a selfless act
I didn’t think so at the time because I felt attacked
But looking back I appreciate you helping me
And I really wish I had the chance just to tell you that
But maybe some day


I wanna thank you; from you I learned to stay true
I know the things you taught me
I keep them with me every day
Though I had to let you go
I just wanted you to know
I wanna thank you

[Verse 3]
So I’m just sayin’ through the failures and tribulations
You’ll prevail with a bit of patience
As a child I was frustrated
I was a weird kid who never had a real relationship
So I was filled with some anxiousness
And when I found someone great to relate with
I gave up faith in who I was
So if ever you find someone stay true, it helps
And don’t fall so hard that you lose yourself
That’s all I’m sayin’
Track Name: It Takes Alliteration of Millions to Hold Us Back (feat. Brian Steveson)
[Verse 1 (A-H): Gradient]
Alright, I’m alphabetically attacking any actors
Authentic assonance is always what I’m after
Bragging bodaciously, battling bastards
Need balance? Better buy a bigger bundle of bannisters
Caucasian canister of conquered colonies
I’ll calmly copy Carlin for the cold-hearted comedy
Diligently dominate dingy daft dentists
But didn’t dare daydream of dissing Degeneres
Ellen is elementarily elevating elephants
Every edge ending even and eloquent
Forging fan fiction for federal fantasies
Fourty-fourth president facing forced fallacies
Going green gallantly, with gratitude gone
Gradient getting grimy, grabbing glue guns
Holding hospitals for hostage and hiding bright hues
Happily hyping up the highest truth and writing haikus

Bet you can’t follow that
Whatcha got, Brian?

[Verse 2 (I-P): Brian Steveson]
I imitate, I idolize, infiltrate with idle eyes
Investigate ideas my inspired mind has improvised
Jazzin up the jingle, just jaunty like I’m Jabberjaw
Jungle juice, jokin’, Jack’s jumpin’ like in Jagger’s song
Kickin’ your keister through your khakis, kid’s keepin’ it cocky
Kinda kinky, kill ‘em with kindness, (vroom vroom!) Kawasaki
Levitated Lincoln Logs, left for lunch lickety-split
Locked and loaded limbo game, lost by a little bit
Mighty Morphin movie major, merry melodic Mexican
Meticulously mustering music is my method, man
Narcissistic novelties, never the noblest nut you knew
Neo-noir, near and far, Nutcracker’s Netflix queue
Operating ocarina, onomatopoetic ogre
Oozing oldies out the orifice till it’s over
Part of the problem, I panic and ponder, caught in a pickle, life is plain
But I pick up the pace, pack the punch, prepare myself and push the pain

Aww, puns! I could have said puns! That’s like my thing!
Hey Thomas, can I try that again?

[Verse 3 (Q-Z): Gradient]
Questioning the quantified, qualified to quake
Quirky queens quarrel on a quest to quaternate
Rushed like I’m Romo, riding Rivers like Cuomo
Rhyming rhetorical ready to rage, read it on Reddit and rocked the race
Stop the stage, somebody’s sinning and socked a sage, steadily spitting
A similar syllable selling a salmon and salad until she swapped and saved
Twenty-two terrible teenagers trampling a tote
Takin’ a timid approach to eating tons of Texas toast
A unicorn’s uniform is usually untestable
Veterinarian vetting a vermin to verily eat your vegetables
Vulpix, Will-o-Wisp, wordy with a willingness
To work the wickedest walkway and watch you waive your will to this
Xenophobic xylitol Xerox the xylophone…
Xenon… uhh… I don’t know
They used to yell “yuck!” Now they’re yelling, “Yay! You win!”
Zeroed in, I’m zany in the zone, you can zoom in
Track Name: AEON
[Verse 1]
I put raw spitters in hospitals
Make war and it’s not civil
Nah, they say I’m fruity
Watch this star burst when I got Skittles
Taste the rainbow and make the flame grow
I hate the fake and don’t say the same flow
Keep the bass low and make a name
When I turn a phrase like a vertebrae
‘Cause I’m back
It’s a big disaster for the pricks and bastards
I pick the crass words and spit ‘em faster
You can hear it when it’s mixed and mastered
So easily
This game I’m controlling
I’m not on Molly (Weasley)
J.K. Rolling.
Wanna spaz on a track when the savage is back
That ravenous rap? I’m the master of that
Don’t act like I never told you
So bad that I’m good like Birdemic and Troll 2
Show me what you’re gon’ do
Stay cheesy like fondue
But I’ll placate the fun kids
When I make hasty couplets
Then say lazy dumb shit
So fuck your assumptions
Square in my roots
Like logarithmic functions
Just quoting the facts
And I know that you’re wack
You’re alive but you’re dead like Schrödinger’s cat
Yo, when I’m ripe you can bite me, like a vegetable
I might be slightly intellectual
I’ll stick ‘em with an IV, medically gonna inject ‘em
With a chemical, they’re so ineffectual
My etiquette is energetic hit ‘em with a better bit of
Elegant and effortless lyrics, whoa
But never would I wanna let a little bit of arrogance
Ever effect what you’re hearin’ yo
On a song I’m rude
But when I’m home then I’m often cool
And I still love you enough to hug you to death
Up at Carleton too, chicka chicka chick
Creationists say I’m eloquent with rhyme clearly
It’s 'cause my music proves intelligent design theory

Awesome eclectic and often neglected
Wrong kid to mess with, rockin’ the best shit
Your awful inflections are causin’ a head spin
Cost me some meds when I bought some Excedrin
Awesome eclectic and often neglected
Raw with the message, lost in perspective
They all disrespect this, stop and accept it
Awesome eclectic and often neglected

[Verse 2]
Killin’ the beat is my philosophy
I’m awfully close to a product of Watsky, Kant, Tupac and Socrates
Commonly stompin’ these boring commoners, I’ll hop on a raw beat
And make a war monger out of Mahatma Ghandi
And steal all your fans who were
At the show to see you rappin’, now they’re absent like Bueller
I take you as seriously as a comic sans humor
And see through your shit like a hologram sewer
I’m annoyed by the wack rap often
Yappin’ in the trap crap then I put you back in a coffin
Didn’t anybody ever wanna hear you rap since
Back when the Ducks played in the Pac 10
You’ll never see me in a sports car
But they chant “Ay ay ay!” like they’re reading my report card
Y’all rappin’ ‘bout hogwash, fellas
My lyrics paint a picture makin’ Bob Ross jealous
Started from the bottom now I’m Hiura, still a peon
But beyond a fleeting phase, rockin’ for an aeon
I write punches that hit harder than right punches
Destroy the track then take my mom out for a nice luncheon
You could never be a cunning street linguist
My grandma raps better and she doesn’t speak English
I’m running these lyrics that elicit death
I’m the reverse of what you thought like cough syrup made from crystal meth
Yo, I gotta catch a breath
But when I’m shakin’ up the game, I’ll erase you
Etch A Sketch
Track Name: Interlude (by Wax)
Wax: "This is Wax. This message is for Gradient, AKA Tom Hiura... you're a mark-ass, trick-ass, just fuckin' weakling of a human being. And if I ever saw you in real life, I would dump beer on your head, and fuckin' knee you in the fuckin' groin. That's what I would do. 'Cause that's how you deserve to be kicked.

Brian Steveson: "Kick Thomas in the nutsack!"

Wax: "Right in the fuckin' groin. I wouldn't even waste my fist on your face, I'd just fuckin' knee you right in the groin..."
Track Name: Rant [Odar Mix]
Gradient is back for you rap cats and I’m makin’ scratches
At the game, never been the same, finna light a flame with a book of matches
I’m a disaster when I rap casually, I’m a problem so mathematically
It’s a fact that I’m irrational like three point one four one of y’all to say
that I’m quite wack? Well the way that I’d strike back is to say
“That’s just like, your opinion, man,” but I’m like Shaq
‘Cause I just don’t do go away, even if you’ve had quite enough of me
I’mma be an individual, ‘cause there’s never gonna be another me
Life is a classroom, it just depends on your outlook
I’ll be in the front row with five pencils and a notebook
‘Cause I’m so hooked on absorbing every little bit of knowledge that I can
Knowledge plus wisdom is power in your hands
And I wanna get my hands quite full, tryna be a better human being
‘Cause I got a lotta opportunities a lotta people never seen
A lotta people got dreams but spend too much time wishin’
Hard work is a virtue, make your dreams come to fruition
‘Cause their ain’t no tuition at the university of Wikipedia
You could spend an hour on there and learn a lot more than the media
Will report in a whole week
‘Cause their audience is all sheep
I’m talking ‘bout cable news, man, ‘cause a lot of us are asleep
‘Cause it’s not just Fox News, man, it’s also MSNBC
Anyone to try to put me in a box, never been a friend to me
I’m more clever than the enemy, so they’re never gonna get at me
And they better be on Ketamine, if they ever think I’mma let it be
We can do better than this, y’all, just think independently
You don’t have to pretend to be anything less than you wanna be
When I’m on the beat, and I’m droppin’ heat
I’m an animal, like a wallaby, like I ought to be
This is how I say I don’t quite fit the dichotomy
We live in a false economy and eat each other up, like piranha be
But I’mma be different ‘cause I wanna feed, I don’t wanna eat
And I’m gonna be very proud of me, and you’re gonna wish you never doubted me
Whoa, sorry for that rant, y’all, I just really had to get that outta me
Track Name: Women Like Property (feat. Guante)
Content advisory: This song begins by discussing communication and conflict resolution challenges in a patriarchal society which privileges dominant masculine voices at the expense of true gender equality. Non-graphic references to sexual assault and victim-blaming are included, beginning with the first chorus.

[Verse 1: Gradient]
The hardest realization that I’ve faced in all my years
Came when patiently gazing upon her face and fallen tears
I felt my world end, she knew not what to say to me
I became aware my girlfriend was afraid of me
It all started when we had our first argument
Swallowing her thoughts, she’s afraid to claim agency
And I’d never try to harm her but she’d always hide her trauma
‘Cause in times of drama I didn’t make her feel safe with me
To gain her faith in me there’s nothing I could say to her
When she was emulating what had always been displayed to her
Played the roles perfectly, way before we ever dated
It’s a shame that we perpetuate the things we’re inundated with
When I was young they taught me, “Take what’s yours.
Dominate with force. Don’t hesitate, just do it.
Quit acting like a girl, man, display your masculinity.”
Fuck the way you’re pinning me; I’ll claim my own identity

One, my nerves flash
Two, I heard that
Try to blame the victim but nobody deserves that
Let’s acknowledge this
From neighborhoods to colleges
Take responsibility ‘cause this affects all of us
One is one too many
Two is far more
We can’t ignore a problem when it’s pounding our door

[Chorus ending 1]
I’m enraged at the state of this
Patriarchal relationship
Ashamed that I’ve perpetuated it

[Verse 2: Guante]
The hardest realization that I’ve faced in my life
Is I’m a part of a system that isn’t one that I like
And it’s not as easy as just peacin’ out of prime time TV
Or even speakin’ our minds against these lies like
Unplugging the WiFi doesn’t stop the signal like
Bein’ a nice guy doesn’t mean she owes you a nice time
That sense of entitlement’s so toxic
And it’s past time we lost it
I don’t believe in nice guys, good guys, heroes or allies
I only believe in actions
In fact every interaction we have is an opportunity
To deconstruct the tongue we’ve been taught to speak fluently
Yo, because it’s not the stranger in the bushes
It’s the boyfriend, the girlfriend, the best friend
It doesn’t take a villain to be a bystander
And it doesn’t take a hero to put this to an end like


[Chorus ending 2]
We complacently claim that we’re not who’s to blame
But you can’t be neutral when you’re on a moving train

[Verse 3: Gradient]
Every second, every minute, man I swear that she been livin’
In a world where women have to constantly be vigilant
The privilege that I’m given isn’t equally distributed
And if I don’t resist then to the problem I’ve contributed
I’m not saying that men are never victims
We got some issues too but you should check on the statistics
I’m not surprised that one in five women are affected
‘Cause I’ve heard the way my fellow guys talk to each other about sex
Like it’s a prize to be won; “Yeah, she wants it”
As if it’s what you do to her, and not something that’s mutual
And how we make excuses, I see why it’s scary
Cause often she reports the crime and people wanna ask what she was wearing
“She’s gotta give it up if you provide her with commodities,
just buy her some jewelry, ‘cause women like property”
They say I’m sensitive and that’s a womanlike property
I say we need to stop treating women like property


[Chorus ending 3]
It’s so toxic, it happens so commonly
But we need to stop treating women like property
Track Name: Context Combat (feat. Ecid)
[Verse 1]
Do you believe in god?
Ehh, you must be stupid
Influencing the youth with a truthless movement
No holy conviction, all stories and fiction
And there’s nothing you can do to prove it
See I’m, sick and tired of these Christian conservatives
Reveling in ignorance and never really learning shit
Their problematic behavior is verily extensive
The fact that they exist is inherently offensive
They’re all racist homophobes, I can’t stand it
I’m demandin’ that we send them all to another planet
Why anybody one voted for Romney is beyond me
The GOP is comedy, killin’ our economy
And I’mma be real with you, I’m done with manners
These redneck fucks with their guns and banners
Man I know they’re all trash, they think the same way
Yeah I’ve never really spoken to any of ‘em but hey it’s all

[Chorus: Ecid]
Context combat
I’m next on that
Gotta correct the man standing with the wrong facts
You would too if you read the right history
Steady sayin’ “fuck you” if you disagree
Put your left or your right hand in the air with me
Do the follower’s therapy
Don’t you wanna be like everybody else?
I just wanna be like everybody else

[Verse 2]
You don’t believe in God?
Wow, you must be stupid
You’re buyin’ the lies from these scientists and consumed but
But just try and decide from lookin’ high in the sky
If he’s divine and benign
You’ll see just what the truth is
The proof is right here, he saved us, just look
You say faith is wrong but have faith in your textbooks
Did you actually perform that experiment?
Or are you just believing the source from which you’re hearing it
I get joy from liberals when I piss ‘em off
Blast Tim McGraw and hit a skinny indie rock fan with a cinder block
‘Cause I’m so fuckin’ manly
I’ll kick ‘em in their gametes, then they won’t need Plan B
I hate people that I don’t even know
But that’s the world we’re livin’ in, so you know how it goes
I’m over it though; it’s through this lens that I need to see
Fuck fact-checking ‘cause my friends all agree with me
It’s middle school mentality
My cultural context is the only reality
Dehumanize the enemy; it helps in the war
These blanket statements keep me sheltered and warm in this


Don’t you wanna be like everybody else?
I just wanna be like everybody else
Track Name: Automatic Flow
[Verse 1: TASK1ne]
(DISCLAIMER: Unfortunately, after TASK1ne's frequent plagiarism was publicly exposed, I discovered that a handful of Task's punchlines on this song were bitten off of Jarren Benton songs.)
Yo. T.A.S.K.
Spit flames like it’s kerosene
While y’all hang around like David Carradine
So fly I came with a pair of wings
Take the hottest chick to a Dairy Queen (Dairy Queen?)
I’m very clean
My brain isn’t where it seems
It’s in fertilizer turn a cypher to a scary scene
Go hard when I slaughter rappers then I’m autographing all their coffins after
I suggest all of y’all should back up
Out of this world I got a call from NASA
Causing laughter
It’s not an option
Banging chicks older than Dolly Parton
Eat a rapper like it’s Olive Garden
But here’s just something you gotta pardon
A wack verse makes me act worse
So eat a dick like it’s bratwurst
I’ll put a mothafucka in the grass, dirt
Or a black hurst when I attack first
So don’t you throw your life away
Nothing else you can try to say
Your whole camp could just die today, brains fried like I stuck it in a microwave
I’m high today but no purple in my lungs
Run up on a nigga with the Terminator gun
Killing all these features like I’m murdering for fun
And I lost a lotta weight but these verses weigh a ton
Sac-town alien
Nothing else y’all can say to him
Boy I’ll bust you right in your cranium and I play to win with Gradient

We’re shuttin’ shit down
Gonna merc ‘em in a minute with the automatic flow
They’re wonderin’ how
They didn’t think we could do it but we let ‘em all know
The fun is in town
Eugene to Northfield to Sacramento
Travel the map, attackin’ the rap, when it happens you know it’s not accidental
We’re shuttin’ shit down
Gonna merc ‘em in a minute with the automatic flow
They’re wonderin’ how
They didn’t think we could do it but we let ‘em all know
The fun is in town
Wicked the way the we bust
And we’re comin’ for the crown
And you can’t take it from us

[Verse 2: Gradient]
Whoa, this some kinda phenomenon
I’mma need a bowl of ramen
I’m just feelin’ hungry and the beat is lunch
So I’m eatin’ up this song I’m on
You can’t fuck with Task and him
You throwin’ parties, we’re crashin’ them
This beat is bananas and we just need our potassium
I plan to ravage any average rapper while my tracks I burn
Savagely attack emcees then have ‘em file my tax return
Yeah I said it
Got no loans and I got good credit
But I went broke to make this album
I don’t care about income, I care about outcome
You’re in the middle like Malcolm
While I’m line dancin’ with Bryan Cranston
But I might just make him mad
Like Walter White from Breaking Bad
Bring the heat like there’s no tomorrow
You can’t beat us so you follow
Me and Task1ne are two leaders like a soda bottle
So just wallow in your hopelessness, I’m focusin’
I’m knowin’ that my flow is sick, I’m hopin’ that you don’t exist
‘Cause they’re mistaken if they think there’s something they can do
Biblically killin’ ‘em ‘cause I Cain
And I’m Abel too

Track Name: Swing For the Fences (feat. The Jokerr & Masetti)
No matter what’ll happen I’mma swing for the fences

[Verse 1: Masetti]
I never was the one to focus on the salary
I'd rather be the one you come to when in actuality
Reality is somewhere that I never thought I’d make it
So I practiced, made it perfect, now I'm going back to basics
Basically this used to be the place to be, I would hate to leave
Sitting on the bench while chewing gum and waiting patiently
Minutes turned to hours, hours turned into a race to be
The best that I could be, this music league and where it's taking me
Pacing back and forth and lately I don't see the problem
With being up to bat with bases loaded at the bottom
Of the ninth inning, mind spinning, thinking and I’m plotting
And this voice is telling me to leave the competition rotting
Gradient, he told focus on the game and I believe him
I bet that’s why I'm getting better season after season
All the people hatin’, I don't really need ‘em at all
Watching from the crowd screamin’ I'mma leave ‘em in awe
Get up brush myself off keep my eyes on the ball
And swing and let the world have it as my problems dissolve

[Chorus: Masetti]
I’m looking as far as I can see
But thoughts of the future, they keep stressing me
Like where did the day go, and if I will stay low
Or will I find the treasure at the end of the rainbow
It’s all perspective and in my mind
I try to respect it but I can’t find
The meaning of all of it seems so pretentious
But I can take the bench or I can swing for the fences

No matter what’ll happen I’mma run ‘til the day I die
And if you’re looking for me you can find me in the sky

[Verse 2: The Jokerr]
Look, I'm tryna be remembered in history as a rhyming legend
A methodological prodigy, I'm obliged to refine my methods
I've come to discover I've been entrusted with a message
To bring to the blind a timeless and divine vestige
To bring hope to a generation of truth-seekers
And take the focus off the jewelry and the new sneakers
To bring the most important issues to the forefront
And knock the wind outta you naysayers like a core punch
Before, once, I was struck with a hunch
That life was more than sippin' Jalousie and puffin' the blunts
'Til I was hit with the conviction I should bring it to the masses
With my black size 13 aimin' for asses
And straight started kickin' like a buck wild stallion
They sent me off alone and now I'm comin' back with thousands
Espousing to bring light to billions of lives
And keep it live while we aimin' for the sky

[Chorus & post-chorus]

[Verse 3: Gradient]
I think we all got our sights on a path to fulfillment
We’re filled with the might to reignite the filament
Inside that had flickered and died, feelin’ sick and deprived
Tryna rekindle the fire we felt as children
And still I feel a call that’s instilled in us all
It’s the will just to always be building, exploring
Ignoring the crowd of the loudest of doubters
In order to vow to go make what we’re proud of
I didn’t believe I would ever be able to spit on a beat
And be makin’ a crowd jump
Never was thinkin’ of doin’ it seriously
Now I’m makin’ an album
And how come I was paralyzed with insecurity
Now my rap heroes hear my rhymes and wanna work with me
From Ireland to Berkeley the passion develops
‘Cause now I’m catchin’ attention from international fellas
When I rap I’mma drop something poignant in your speakers
‘Cause now I call the shots like I’m pointing at the bleachers
With Jokerr and Masetti on the features

Track Name: Don't Thank Me
[Verse 1]
I thank my father for the person that I am today
He and my mama gave me everything I have today
He came to every single game so I was glad to play
Cheering for every stolen base and every basket made
And if you’re askin’ me, he really has some brains
Mom fell in love with that, and his handsome face
When I asked him any question he would answer me
I’d hang on every single word that he had to say
Man I had to be just like my dad ‘cause hey
He was the biggest rock star for a man his age
So he got me a guitar and an amp to play
And my love affair with music all began this way
So I’m channeling his passion when I fan the flames
It’s his love burning in me when I command the stage
Can’t tell you how many times I catch myself saying
“Man, that sounds like something that my dad would say”

Because you’re all that I know
And in all that I do
I’m grateful for every single thing we’ve gone through
Yeah it’s all true
And this song’s for you

[Verse 2]
I was always the annoying little brother
In my sister’s room playing with her toys when I was younger
It was boisterous and fun but it was so beyond hard
To get away with stealing all her Pokémon cards
I don’t know why we’d argue; I was fantastic
I even did her the kind favor of eating all her ChapStick
And I remember almost needing a hospital
Visit when I stuck her favorite bead in my nostril
We made golf courses out of VHS cassettes
Hit her head on the wall when she was rockin’ out to Elvis
Made up a game Near & Far
And flung each other ‘round the room, you can see the scars
Still, in spite of the odds though it all ended up great
And she just graduated from the toughest college in the state
And during times I miss her, I’m admiring pictures
Thinkin’ I couldn’t have a more inspiring sister


And I’ll carry this name with me always
Livin’ life in the way that they taught me
So don’t thank me for anything that I have done
‘Cause it’s my family that made me who I’ve become

And even though we didn’t have a lotta capital
And even though we’re kind of incompatible
Too much awesomeness for one house to hold
I’m never lost ‘cause I’ve got you all and I know

[Verse 3]
That I’m never gonna break down
I meant it when I said that I got everything okay now
I wanna see what could ever cause harm to me
When I got my mom with me
Honestly, no one compares on this Earth
Now I gotta slow it down so she can hear every word
When we moved from Japan to America
You had to be scared but you handled it very well
And when plans fell apart you were there for us, cared for us
That’s just a part of your character
Watashi no nihongo wa jyozu jyanai kedo
Boku mama tottemo daisuki dayo
So whether it’s Nihon or the American Republic
I’ll never be ashamed to hold your hand in public

[Chorus + post-chorus] x2
Track Name: Ambition Intro (by Watsky)
Watsky: "Hey!"
Gradient: "Sup George?"
Watsky: "Thomas, my friend!"
Thomas: "Thank you so much, man. You made my day."
Watsky: "I love how hard you rock out, man."
Thomas: "It was awesome."
Watsky: "Thank you. This is Watsky, you my friend are listening to Gradient; prepare to have your earholes pleasured... by Ambition. Enjoy."
Track Name: Ambition
[Verse 1]
Nate Kiz gonna scratch wax because that cat’s the man
While I’mma blast tracks in a hatchback sedan
Gotta backpack full of raps that’s within
And man I feel like I can do anything
Yo, people wanna see you throw in the towel
They stopped listening before you even show ‘em a vowel
They’re mad when they see that you been doing it well, but
It’s all because they couldn’t do it themselves,
They’re lookin’ foolish as hell… outta the way, haters
They’re full of horse shit so I call ‘em naysayers
They won’t be able block your dedication
Whether it’s rockin’ stadiums or Autzen Stadium
Don’t stop when chasin’ it, if it’s often rainin’
You just shake off the pain and keep walkin’ each day
I can honestly say that it’s kinda cliché
But with some dedication you can have anything

And it’s alright now
If you never back down, whoa
When it’s tough keep makin’ the best of it
Keep pushin’ through the pain the stress
Be anybody, anything, everything you wanna be
But you have to believe, oh
Keep movin’, don’t give it up on that vision
‘Cause you can do it with enough ambition

[Verse 2]
I was 11 when I heard the Marshall Mathers LP
I had the edited version but I remember explicitly
He was spittin’ wicked similes that blew my mind
I was thinkin’ maybe I could do it sometime
But when I threw some rhymes down with the pen and a pad
It was never the cleverest stuff that Em and them had
I was wack, I thought that I’d forever be bad
So I ended that dream and I never went back
‘Til I had to do an art project for the Odyssey, sophomore year
But I couldn’t draw a thing
So I wrote a rap and the classroom applauded me
And honestly, it felt unbelievable
Call it Pearl Jam, baby, I’m Alive and can Even Flow
And even though I’m white, I respect this art form
I’m not from the place of the pain and strife
But I believe in hip-hop ‘cause it changed my life


[Verse 3]
This is for single mothers tryna search for employment
For military soldiers on their third deployment
For the schoolgirl that the popular haters avoided
Now she operates at the hospital replacing organs
For success after massive rejection
For sixth-graders running in their classroom elections
For those who have had some depression
For same-sex couples who no longer have to mask their affection
For dedicated teachers who shape education
For college dropouts bumpin’ Late Registration
The family who just paid their home loan, barely
The trans girl undergoing hormone therapy
The young coach bringing hope to the youth
For any fans of my music, the old and the new
For any broke 20-something who don’t know what to do
For anybody feelin’ this, I wrote it for you!

[Chorus] x2

Higher (feat. Exit 69 A Capella)

[Verse 1]
I got a lot of people who been doubtin’ me
But I’m back in the game and you’re ‘bout to see my shine
Never lackin’ the flame, gonna rap
‘Til I get ‘em in the balcony when I rhyme
I’m droppin’ the hot shit, hop in the mosh pit
Often obnoxious, not with an off switch
You can’t turn me off
I’m comin’ for the crown that I’m worthy of
Turn me up and let’s elevate
And get high as hell ‘cause I’m hella great
People at my shows say “That was dope”
‘Cause I’m ahead of the curve like an asymptote
Lay back, G
Like Burgundy, stay classy
That young talent? Hey, that’s me
And y’all old sport, Jay Gatsby
Newsworthy, you heard the station
Gonna get ‘em in a minute with the verbal blazin’
Rip the bong, that’s percolation
I rip the verse with no perforation
Precipitation, get an umbrella
Like Jay-Z when I Roc-A-Fella
We can even do it in a capella
Gradient and Exit, we’ll take you

Higher, higher than you’ve ever been
See things you never thought
You thought would never exist
Higher, higher than you’ve ever been
Where we go we won’t fall, we’ll stay there
‘Cause there’s a place (a place)
With no walls (no walls)
It’s been ages (it’s been ages)
Since we’ve gone (since we’ve gone)
Get away (away)
So long (so long)
Levitate, higher than you’ve ever been
[Verse 2]
Now I’m blastin’ off
3-2-1 like an astronaut
Half Neil Armstrong, half Asher Roth
And if you joke about me, I’mma laugh it off
In my rhyme book, I have it all
Not a cook book ‘cause I’m rappin’ raw
Up in the air when I perform
Like Michael Jordan playin’ basketball
Haters stick like glue and Velcro
But do I care what they’re doin’? Hell no
It’s sick shit when my mixes get me green like blue and yellow
Hello, I’m on top of this shit
‘Til death I’ll be droppin’ this shit
Often wishin’ that the opposition
Would stop and listen and rock to this shit
But they don’t really hear me though
And they don’t really wanna hear the weird kid flow
Not quite like ScHoolboy Q
But I’m a schoolboy too, an I’m lyrical
Hop on a beat, no crew can ignore us
Not from the streets, I grew from the forest
And I hope I don’t screw up the chorus


(Higher than you’ve ever been)
(Higher than you’ve ever been)

[Verse 3]
Okay, let’s rise to a higher state of consciousness
Anyone can talk about their awesomeness
And I said a lot of ways that I’m the best
But I didn’t always have confidence
Back in the day, I was feelin’ low
And what had happened, it ain’t quite ethereal
But it came along, and it made me strong
And I’m rappin’ today, it’s a miracle
Had the stress but I trounced that
Had depression, I bounced back
Thinkin’ I was never gonna get a benefit without a better medicine
But I found rap
And I’m proud that I’m still here after
Half-Japanese queer rapper
Not quite what you saw before
But when I recite, I’ll leave your jaw on the floor
What do you expect when you see me?
You’re thinkin’ it’s a blessing to be me?
Like I’ve never been a mess, or been tested
With no strife and my life is easy?
We all got challenges and imbalances
But if you’re down to listen then here’s the lesson:
You can be the best
And if you’re feelin’ down I’ll take you higher

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