Blackberries and Bike Rides

by Gradient

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This mixtape was my first serious attempt at releasing music. The title came from a Snapchat sent to me by my girlfriend of the time, Megan. The working title until then had been 'Verse-atility," because of the different kinds of musical styles and lyrical ideas I tried to cram into this project. There's a lot of personal content as well as a lot of silly stuff. I really hope you enjoy it.

Music video for Fire Fly:

My second mixtape:


released September 6, 2013

All vocals mixed and mastered at Ravioli Road Studios in Eugene, Oregon. Gradient and Brian Steveson's vocals recorded at Ravioli Road Studios. Sammy Warm Hands' vocals recorded at Take 92 Studios in Eugene, Oregon.

Front cover photo taken by Megan Mesceji during the Moonlight Mash at Kesey Square in Eugene, Oregon.




Gradient Eugene, Oregon

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Track Name: Blackberries and Bike Rides
Never thought it would happen, but here it is
They never thought I was rappin’, but they hearin’ this
Miyazaki, man I’m way Spirited
And I don’t care about appearances
I’m here to be human
We all try to be the same, What are we doin?
Tabloids wanna know, who is she screwin’
But goddamn, I don’t give a fuck, man, keep the beat movin’
Drop all your worries and keep ‘em outta your psyche
‘Cause if you’re like me, you got a lot of shit weighing you down
But quit playin’ around when you hearin’ the sound of Gradient
Comin’ at you from your stereo now!
I been gone for a while, but I’m back at it
To my list of raps another track added
‘Cause I’m a fiend for the shit, like a crack addict
But I be feelin’ paranoid, call me Black Sabbath
My dad told me once
I would be a great man, like my daddy was
Humble? Well that he wasn’t
But he’s done a lot of good and backs up the persona
When my mama saw that I was way depressed
When my dad went to jail, it was crazy, yes
But there was nothing she could do
I had to make the best of situations that made me stressed
But I’m happy and I’m better than ever
And it’s a clever endeavor I’m In A Gadda Da Vida better bet I’m gonna body the beat up I’m hot and I’m never gonna let a competitor heat up, so pull a seat up
I’d be the first to say it, y’all
I need more than a verse to say it all
I kept y’all waitin’
Sacred Heart River Bend, y’all got a lotta patients (patience)
But to the critics, man, I don’t wanna say shit
‘Cause some folks just gotta try to hate shit
I take bath salts and gobble on their faces
I be bumpin’ old Nirvana on a spaceship
Listening to Come As You Are, becoming one with the stars,
And goin’ hard with my homies on Mars
But back home I’m seein’
That the Earth gets hot
And we gotta beat the Heat like the Spurs did not
Lookin’ in the mirror and I stare at the glass
And I’m proud of the man who be starin’ me back
I'm too honest to be wearin’ a mask
I probably ain’t like some rappers that you’d hear in the past
Who talk about all their wealth; blow it out of proportion
Like their garage is full; can’t fit the Porsche in
In my garage I got a guitar amp but I ain’t got a Boss pedal
No distortion
Just honesty, and honestly,
I’ll try to give you everything that you wanna see
If y’all feel this realness hear this
The love that you show means a lot to me
I’m just a weird local kid tryna spit raps
And maybe get a little wicked with the syntax
But I’m finna go global fast
And if you fuck with me I don’t react like a noble gas
Wanna hear dumb raps from a white guy?
From a town real small, bite-size?
Then I’mma tell y'all the truth, no white lies
My whole city gets as high as a kite flies
We like to relax and take a night hike
Listening to Macklemore and Bright Eyes
We’re all friendly, you act scary, they might hide
‘Cause my life is blackberries and bike rides
Track Name: Fire Fly
Chorus (Childish Gambino & Janet Leon):
Now when they see us in the streets
All they wanna do is take pics
And I’m like “okay”
And when they hear us on the beat
All they wanna do is make hits
And I’m like “okay”
And if you’re feelin’ how I’m feelin’ how the world should be
Perfectly, I’m fire like I’m third degree
And suddenly, shorty we got so high

Verse 1:
I was the skinny kid in the back of the class
Who answered every match fraction they would happen to ask
Wasn’t the smartest kid across this perfect nation
But my hand was in the air so much it lost its circulation
All the kids around me would give me a vexed look
‘Cause I had all the answers like the back of a textbook
M’aam, your son is gifted; you’ve raised him well
But that skinny motherfucker’s always raisin’ hell
It’s amazing how he never pays no attention
And still gets an A on his grades, did I mention
the way that he stays with these four other guys
and they sneak into the kitchen and they hoard all the fries?
He said he didn’t do it but I’m bored of the lies
They had a wet paper towel war for a surprise
So when they hated me I gave ‘em more to despise
Little kid gone savage, Lord of the Flies


Verse 2:
It ain’t hard to make nerds the footsteps you’re followin’
Especially when you’re on your way to Carleton
I was always out of place on the sports teams
Never had new equipment; we couldn’t afford things
So kids made fun of how I’d wear my clothes
For me to look cool, took miracles
My shoes were ripped up, and they’d stare at those
Big fish in a small pond; Gyarados
You wanna hear hardcore raps, bro, come on
All I wanna do is rap about Pokémon
‘Cause growing up I played too much Gold Version
Lucky I didn’t become a really old virgin
I was flyin’ high like a beach ball is
They knew I’d go to a privatized elite college
Even though I had wider eyes for street knowledge
Even though I just idolized Rasheed Wallace
So if I never quite fit the plan of what they’d want
I’d never really give a damn what they thought
Some think I’m wack but others think that I’m rappin’ right
So don’t hide your true colors – it ain’t black & white
They tell us different is bad, we’ve been lied to
‘Cause if you’re genuine, folks eventually like you
The only one you need to make proud is yourself
So be proud of yourself

Track Name: Dukes and Geeks
It goes one through the larynx, two from the heart
Three for my parents even though they split apart
I still love ‘em while I’m lovin’ every friend that I got
And I really love rap so I figured “why not?”
You are looking at a six foot Japanese rappin’ easygoing kid who happens to look bad in beanies
Rap complex over simple beats, I spit as raw as the fish that my people eat
Madman and upstanding civilian, not the best rapper alive, but I’m in the top seven billion
It’s lights out, Super Bowl 47 in the house, Surge like the gym leader in Vermillion
Take a weed whacker to Wiz Khalifa’s stash, make him mad
Crack that Krispy Kreme rapper in half, and call that Breaking Bad
Rappers want brand new cars like Maybachs
But they ain’t got the will (wheel) to host the fortune y'all, none of ‘em say jack (Sajak)
Ungh. I’m in the cut like peroxide
I didn’t vote for Mitt; I’m on Barack’s side
Yup, I’m gettin’ a bit of the moment of fame, comin’ up strong in the game, my flow is "juuust right," Goldilocks, I’d
Never really brag, I’m not that vain or sick at all I’m just
Tryna understand myself like the brain of a psychologist
I’m crazy like the colonists who take entire continents
Enslave a population but later give them compliments

I’ll switch the beat up, with a rugged rhyme, like new stars
And now I’m bout ta speed up and go double time for a few bars
‘Cause I’m bending a bit back and I’m better than bastards
Who’ve never been attacked by a veteran rapper
I never would come wack; I’m the cleverest actor
On a track, and I’m a bachelor who’s gonna get his Master’s
Some day. It’s a grand image
Like Harry Potter, playin’ Quidditch
Runnin’ the race and I can win it
You’re sitting and frowning and I stand grinnin’
I spit sincerely
And my money’s low ordinarily
So am I gonna make it? Barely
The only bread that I’m stackin’ is Sara Lee
Why’s that Japanese white kid rappin’ though??
Next time you seem him on his bike, kidnap him yo
I wish he’d vanish into thin air, Colorado
This kid can’t kick it, Maldonado
Shout-outs to my Oregonian brethren
I grew up in Eugene where we never trust a weather man
To be honest, I’m just tryna sound clever, man
Dishonest Mufasa cats lyin’ (lion) but I never am
Forever jams flowing at my brain’s thinking pace
And I’ll use a semicolon outside of a winky-face
Nonsensical rappers out there, I know you seen ‘em
They’ll take a syllable that sounds kinda like another one and talk fast in the space in between ‘em
But they ain’t sayin’ much
Then again, neither am I
You gotta boast when you’re rappin’, but I’m a humble guy
But if you happen to be thinkin’ that what I spit’s great
I appreciate that you’re listening to my mixtape
Track Name: Ridiculous (feat. Sammy Warm Hands of The ILLusionists & Wax)
Verse 1 (Gradient):

I’m a grand alchemist no matter what the outcome is
Smash raps rockin’ Packers hats in Minneapolis
Adam told me where the apple is
I shoved it in his throat and made him sing me the alphabet
I’m the alpha bet you could never forget
a methodical prodigal son’s protestant sloppy shit
Spiked the punch at a church party and made a rave
I even made Bobby Boucher embrace Gatorade
So save it if you gotta hate
I’m crazy enough to eat off of Jeffrey Dahmer’s plate
And I’mma be insane ‘til the tombstone
I turned you fairies into fables; Moon Stone
Not a single sane person on the track
Layed a verse so when we rap, you ‘bout to enter the loon zone
You’re very little like the value of a nickel is,
Me, Wax and Sammy, we about to get ridiculous

Kickin’ that off the wall shit
Kickin’ that off the wall- off the wall shit
Kickin’ that off the wall shit
Fuck your- fuck your money and jewels, we just rob you of your dignity!

Verse 2 (Sammy Warm Hands):
The son of Adrock and a student of Carlin
I write like Larry David but misbehaving like Garlin
I’m funny like Seth MacFarlane
but darker than the Devil’s asshole in an old apartment, yeah
Oh, my darlin’ Clementine, a better rhyme’s in order
‘cause the hors d’oeuvres are poor like Noah Bennet’s eyes
I’m waiting for some albatross in apple sauce
but the waiter’s fading into black like some African astronauts
I never pause, I’ll kill your flow like menopause
Take the applause and give the dough back to a better cause
Got pennies in my pockets and holes in my camouflage
I’m at a loss, listen all y’all it’s a sabotage
The hand of God is readjusting the aperture
Shedding light on the savage ass-handing of these rapping amateurs
I’m bringing the pain and anesthesia couldn’t make it better
Gonna feel like sticking your dick in a fuckin’ paper shredder


Verse 3 (Wax):
Grilled Lincolns in the house!
Fuck the tomfoolery
Hide your little sister, hide your mom’s jewelry
Lock up your liquor and bolt down your beer
It’s a party full of fuckin’ maniacs in here!
Let’s make it clear
For lack of a better word
I’m the most grandiose rapper you ever heard
A clever nerd with a sack of the better herb
Paranoid mess but of rappers I’m never scurred
Answer my question
What motivates these piss-ants to try testing?
I don’t know, but you ain’t gotta explain why
‘Cause I’ll never comprehend it like how planes fly
Out at B-W-I
You spy me and Herbal T high, stumble and vie
Fresh off the flight out at Cali, meet the Lincolns at the terminal
Stand the fuck up like you’re pissing at a urinal


Verse 4 (Gradient):
It’s the last verse, similar to the first time
Your best line is as good as my worst rhyme
Your face is in the background the camera’s on mine
‘Cause I’m such a big deal, call me Amazon Prime
The backlash against flat raps
I’ll slap fast any rap cat who attacks me with some wack crap
That’s a pre-emptive strike
I might spit so hot they’ll have to vent this mic
You know I been through strife and I’ll tell my story
Even though I have an annoying voice like Homer Simpson’s wife
No Schwarzenegger, keep the choppers at bay
I only think you’re real dope if it’s opposite day
And on that day, nobody is a friend to me
And you ain’t even got a single enemy
And I’m the worst rapper in the vicinity
But in reality I’m as sick as the Human Centipede

Track Name: Rant
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 and I rap casually, I’m a problem so mathematically
It’s a fact that I’m irrational like three point one four (for) 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
Imma be an individual, ‘cause there’s never gonna be another me
Life is a classroom, it just depends on your outlook
I 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
In the university of Wikipedia
You can 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 who tries 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 spitting heat, I’m an animal, like a wallaby
Like I oughta be, this is how I say I don’t quite fit the dichotomy
We live in a false economy, 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: Superfast Jellyfish
I’m ‘bout to turn the beat up
and make the room vibrate
De La Soul is Dead
But I’m bumpin’ Buhloone Mindstate
Look back, I took rap,
Gonna kick that flow like Pele
Did my calculus and my raps all on the same page
I maintain that my aim’s to sound saucy
With phrases from a brain as insane as the Clown Posse
I dance weird and rap, I’m Flynt Flossy
Like that manatee video, they can’t stop me
So hands off me, unless you got a warrant
Cherry Pie, very high in the sky, soarin’
747 off the ground, in the sky too
Nobody around gon’ sound stupid as I do
I’m like a Kaiju in that one movie
I’ll beat you up if you try to run through me
Like I’m yellow tape and you were a marathon runner or the Flash
I’m stupid but I’ve been way dumber in the past
I'm 'bout to kick a flow super fast

Super fast, super fast, I come in last
But just in time for breakfast
Keep it through, keep it through, forever blue
The night, the night throws at us
Aluminum, I crush your fun, aluminum
The sea is radioactive
The sea is radioactive

Soarin’ grand in Oregon
Like the Spruce Goose plane
I can rap quicker, you can hold the liquor
‘Cause I like orange juice, mayne
Better steer clear, I’m little bit queer
But y’all know how I do thangs
Learning and earning grands
Burning Man, huge flame
I got the claws out, so you better watch out
‘Cause I’m hard to wash out, like a food stain
Steady when I rock it and I keep it in the pocket
Like a cell phone or some loose change
Y’all just wonder, I bring that thunder
And lightning, like I’m Zeus, rain
on the competition. You’re in Gotham, wishin’
you were Batman but I’m Bruce Wayne


Superfast jellyfish (Repeat x24)
Track Name: Falling Star
(Florence Welch):
A falling star fell from your heart
And landed in my eyes
Fell from your heart
And landed in my eyes
I screamed aloud, as it tore through them
And now it’s left me blind

You were that girl that was so mysterious
Saw you across that cafeteria
Didn’t really care a lot about high school, all I knew was that I really had to be with ya
And I had a class or two with ya
Didn’t think you’d ever notice me
But you sat next to me in geography, and gave me chills when you talked to me
But I was kinda shy, not the kinda guy that you wanted
And it haunted me the entire time, figured I would try to go and write a rhyme
So I came up with a plan
Late nights writing with a pen in hand
Wrote you a song and I played it for you, in a way you might have been my first fan
Yeah and it sent a message, to your ears straight from my face
Told you how I felt and you sent me a message too, but it was on MySpace
Well that’s great, you didn’t want me, so I guess that I learned my lesson
Never tell a girl you wanna be with her, when she already wants your best friend

Heard your heart beating, you were in the… (x3)

Fast forward, two more years, I stayed in the friend zone way too long
Watching you date every guy in the world and they always did you wrong
But you never would advance to
And new stage with me, no chance with you
So I lied about myself, and acted different, until the lies all became truth
But it worked and I changed myself to fit your standard of what you needed
I was happy to be with you, even when my authenticity depleted
I hated myself but I really liked you, thought it might be forever
And we had chemistry together, and we even had chemistry together
Didn’t pay any attention in class, I just kept up my bravado
My obsession with you was constant, you could call that Avogadro
That day when you left I was heartbroken, never felt such pain before
It was cruel but it gave me a chance to be true to myself and that’s something I’m grateful for

Heard your heart beating, you were in the… (x2)

It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay
Never thought I’d like you so much
But it’s way, but it’s way, but it’s way
In the past like the Jonas Brothers
So stay away, stay away, stay away
If you’re gonna keep being mean
I don’t need any
So just flee from me
It’s okay
But I really hope you have a nice day
Track Name: Valiant
The things you knew about music best to forget ‘em now
So release the demons you harbor inside and let ‘em out
And speed the weekend and come back to Monday only to remember that you spend your whole work week on the denim couch
Surrendering the Cheap Trick that comes with your Cracker Jacks
Calling 1989 to ask for all the rappers back
The regime of Assad committing the highest sin
While poli-sci students are sitting reading Leviathan
Bill Watterson carefully draws John and Thomas
While America falls in love with all of the little comics
Took a rope, refined it and made hemp from it
The rulebook of reality, he’s exempt from it
Analyzing my lyrics with much fluidity
A parody, a cryptic tribute, or just stupidity
Could be any of the three, perhaps I oughta be
Deciding not to fit anywhere in the trichotomy

Chorus (Child Actor):
…to suffocate
You’ve got everything
Won’t you laugh it in
You can run away (Valiant)
You won’t get far (Valiant)
You can’t get away (Valiant)
You won’t get far (Valiant)
Let me in now
Let me in now

You could be royalty
Let me see the shining ring
Behind these palace walls you’re climbing out
And we’ll build our empire
And we’ll build our empire
And we’ll build our empire
Until the sun never sets up

Claiming to be valiant, systematically keeping them
Ignorant while CO2 reaches 400 PPM
It’s strictly procedure, ma’am, don’t make a fuss about it
Plenty of bipartisan support so you must allow it
They keep the buses crowded with commuters and consumers
Faces buried in their little glowing telephone computers
Wonder if they know how lit up their face looks
Wishing old acquaintances happy birthday on Facebook
Unnatural selection becoming the homo evolutis
And rapidly frowning no matter what the current mood is
Wondering if this is art like an elephant’s painting
Very shocking and edgy and you can tell by the fainting
Devoting one couplet to try and balance rhymes
Like trying to find peace in Israel and Palestine
Lennon said he was the walrus, and then said it was Paul
and never clarified while Ringo was dead all along

Track Name: Rapping 2 U (feat. Brian Steveson)
First impression when you met me might have thought I was a weird one
You were right, here’s proof, straight into your eardrums
I don’t spit raps, my saliva’s pure acid
It only ever burns my throat and leaves my breath raspin’
Ask me one more time if I can bust some fuckin’ rhymes
I’ll throw you off a bridge and watch the bubbles rise
I ain’t down to rhyme with no stupid MCs
I just load up my tech 9 and start shootin’ them freaks
Trained in the brain you can’t mess with my psyche
I’m runnin’ the block, like a Lego wearin’ Nikes
Even if you don’t like me, admit I spit so rightly
I stand six feet tall, none of y’all can fight me
Seriously though, I do this shit so easily
For many other MCs, this ain’t feasibly
Possible, obstacle after obstacle
Set up in front of me I eat ‘em up like a pasta bowl
Complete with matzo balls, I’m unstoppable
You can’t say shit about how “Asians ain’t rhymers”
Forgot about our haikus like y’all had alzheimers
What I’m doing now, it’s just a hobby on the side
But I still eat y’all like sushi with wasabi on the side
Wash it down with some sake
You’re never gonna block me
You could be at Kinko’s and still couldn’t copy
My flow so dope that I got you all listening
Even though I wrote this stupid verse when I was 15
Immature kid, I had a bigger head
But older white women said I’m very articulate
Up in Eugene, in between, watchin’ Scooby Doo
I had a feeling I was kinda unusual
Never any Asians in my neighborhood
And if there were, I bet none of them would stay for good
It was all white people and a few from Mexico
Like my best friend Brian. He’s next to go!
And he’s got big testicles! Briaaan!

(Brian Steveson):
Let me take you to a world that’s devoid of mediocrity
My words are so wise that you would think I’m reading Socrates
Aristotle, full throttle, Charlie’s Angels sequel
But hear my rhymes out; they are anything but fecal
So great, overweight, gotta keep it bright and shiny
Colgate, don’t hate or else you can kiss my hiney
Yeah I said “hiney,” you can laugh, Brick Tamland
Now look into my mind, open it up like a SPAM can
Fresh outta Mickey D’s, put down the Big Mac
Now I’ve got the time to lay down all these sick raps
Man I’m not rich, but it doesn’t mean I’m sad about it
‘Cause through my life I’ve had happiness in vast amounts and
Just because you graduated with the highest honors
Doesn’t justify that I am any less of a scholar
You think you’re smarter than me, think you’ll go farther than me
just because in high school science class was harder for me?
Well you’re wrong so cut it out, I don’t need to hear your cheap attack
I’ll ignore all your rumours; I’ll save that for Fleetwood Mac
I go my own way, ‘cause my dreams don’t stop
And I’ll live life dubstep when I let the bass drop
Where the real madness starts and I resume with more intensity
Working hard at things, it just makes a lot more sense to me
Until that day comes, I will work my most fun job
Sitting on my butt all day and watching tons of Spongebob
I still love the things that I did in my youth
And I’m way more awkward than George Michael Bluth
So many great things that I wish I could acknowledge
And half of them happened in my freshman year of college
In more sticky situations than if you were in a taffy truck
A looney U of O student, that makes me a daffy duck
It’s time for me to go now, I’ve got other crap to do
But it’s been a real pleasure that you let me rap 2 u.

You, we’re rapping to you my friend and only you
To you! So don’t ever say we never did nothing for you

Sexy Lexi, ask what the address be
Press be makin’ a face, Dizzy Gillespie
Applause, pause, hand me my ESPY
Grammy, I’m Leslie Nielsen, you know I’m chillin’
Float like a butterfly come my sugar baby
On my shoulders, 7 million, sugar babies
Float away on my good looks and charm

But good looks and charm only get you so far
When you never work hard
But you think you’ll be a star
And you say that you’re a rapper but you never spit a bar
You say you got drive but you’re never in the car
Everyone is just a pebble in the jar, man
Come on, search for me, Carmen
San Diego like Ron Burgundy
Panda birth
Y'all stay classy, planet Earth

Track Name: Bout Ta Go Fishin' [Bonus Track]
So I was at my friend Heather's house last night
And I really wanted to write a rap
So I said "give me a topic."
She said "fishing."
And I was like "...okay."

I'm 'bout ta go fishin'
Because I'm so official
I'll leave you all wishin'
You was with me goin' fishin'
I'm 'bout ta go fishin'
Ya dig, son?
You gon' be so jealous
When I catch a big one

I got my tacklebox
And my fishin' pole
I'm finna get some fish
Out on the Pacific Coast
Don't act like you don't know
I go to Florence, yo
On the water I wanna float
Like T-Pain, I'm on a boat
And you know all the ladies wanna holla but
I'm out in open water tryna catch a halibut
Not a bass or a salmon
I'm the master at plannin' this fishin' trip
It's a mission trip; not a frickin' ship
But I'm powerful like a freakin' blast from a cannon


It ain't fishin' season
But I'm killin' 'em
Like a high school classroom
My fishing net is fillin' up
Growing like it's cancerous
But I'm not minding chemo
While your man is watching movies
I'm out grinding, Finding Nemo
And he can kiss my behind
They'll say "he touched the butt"
I got a Japanese family tree line
So gettin' fish is in my blood
And you can stay home
But now just notice
While you're playin' cards
I'm about to Go Fish

[Chorus x2]

Dedicated to Heather and Ashley Cates.
Also dedicated to Brian Steveson: so fresh... to say he ain't fly would be a sin.'s a song about fishing.
Enjoy the rest of your day.

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