Kopp | The Lost Cause

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Hip-Hop/Rap: Alternative Hip Hop Hip-Hop/Rap: East Coast Moods: Featuring Piano
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The Lost Cause

by Kopp

An awkward introvert’s profoundly personal story of overcoming his own mental barriers and discovering that happiness is by no means a lost cause.
Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap: Alternative Hip Hop
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Prime Encounter
8:26 $0.99
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2. Ghost in the Machine (feat. Kidd)
5:04 $0.99
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3. This Is It
4:45 $0.99
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4. Lost Cause
5:30 $0.99
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5. Middle of Madness
3:45 $0.99
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6. Prelude to the Future (feat. W.B. & Kidd)
5:08 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
THE LOST CAUSE

INTRODUCTION
I imagine the best place to start is at the beginning, so here we go. It was November of 2014 and I was winding down from the August release of ‘2014: A Rap Odyssey’, my second mixtape which I had believed to be a more than significant improvement over the first. The level of pride and pure joy I felt after finishing and releasing that project can hardly be described. My only concern was how I could improve upon it and move forward. I had taken what I deemed to be the necessary time off, and had now set my sights toward finding music for my third project.
Perhaps it’s not worth talking too much about, but I should mention the difference in sound quality on this new project. Up until this point as an artist, I had recorded on mp3 versions of music, rather than the more professional, high quality (and more expensive) fully tracked out instrumentals. For anyone who may not know, a “tracked out” instrumental allows the engineer in the studio to tweak and alter any individual instrument or sound by itself, whereas a simple mp3 version of an instrumental can only be altered as a whole. I was seeking that next step in my sound, one of higher quality as well as a more developed level of maturity. I truly believe that Tellingbeatzz Productions was the gateway to that step. I was fortunately able to find a connection with multiple pieces in the catalogue, and this gave me the initial motivation to begin writing as soon as I did. Most of the instrumentals I was listening to had featured a piano throughout, which was right up my alley at this time in my creation process. I had been seeking a softer, singer/songwriter feel in my music as a means of regressing from the energy of ‘’2014’. These pieces offered me the opportunity to take my mind off the traditional hip-hop songwriting structure, and focus on writing in itself. I had wanted to direct my attention toward better content and more meaningful lyrics first, and musical appeal second. This project was to be for all intents and purposes a diary of sorts. The exact content and material however was still a mystery, which remains the biggest understatement imaginable. For I hadn’t the slightest foresight as to what the creation process would be like in the year to come.

PRIME ENCOUNTER
The instrumental caught my attention right away. It possessed a tone of uncertainty, which presented the perfect opportunity to foreshadow the project if used as an introduction. I had used a highly energized song to kick off ‘2014’ and felt that this time around would be different, whether it should be or not. I had not entirely figured out what mood or style I was hoping to pursue with this new project, only that this instrumental was right for me, right for now.
I began brainstorming and crafting what I would traditionally find to be a compelling introduction. A dash of concern struck me after the first three or four drafts had proved incompetent. However the true worry came after around two months later, when I had seemingly ran into a brick wall. I had somehow found myself blocked in regards to song content. Lyrically I was still intact, yet my imagination seemed to have plummeted as I struggled dearly to create a cohesive and attractive song.
It was nearly February before I was able to finally write a draft I was satisfied with. The root of my problem appeared to be a lack of not only motivation, but mostly emotion and enthusiasm. While I had pondered and played the instrumental for over two months, I hadn’t the slightest idea how to lace it with lyrics. I still remember the night I wrote the final draft (well, the beginning anyway). I was awake late at night, maybe two or three in the morning. I sat calmly, listening once more to the music. I made my best attempt to clear my mind completely and go from there. I had told myself that I would treat this as a journal, rather than a song. If I were recording my innermost thoughts at the given moment, what would I write? This became my method for not only the introduction, but unbeknownst to me at the time, the entire project.
The opening line came to me out of desperation. “Well I guess it looks like Tin Man’s never gonna reply, I’ve been stranded” aptly suited my emotion and sentiment towards this song. Why had it taken me so long to write a decent draft, and was there a deeper reason involved? The three verses played out as an open letter to myself as an artist, to my friends and listeners, my closest and longest supporters, and my God. The hook was incredibly difficult to construct, but came nearly all at once when it finally hit me. At a time when it seemed as if maybe something was changing or ending as a songwriter, I was somehow still making the song anyway. No matter how difficult it had been to write just one song, I wanted to emphasize the fact that it didn’t make me enjoy the music any less. I was still determined to push forward and work through whatever block I would face, because after all, I could not and would not let it go.
One of the most important pieces of the hook originated from introspection and self-evaluation. Among other concerns, I still struggle with certain social situations and relationships. I realize that while I don’t always come off as the friendliest of people, my intentions are not evil, and my soul always means well in the end. It’s the speech I continue to give myself when I begin to feel like a bad person. I’m not intentionally cold or quiet to others, but it can’t possibly seem that way to most. It’s an aspect of my personality that I truly wish to change, but at times feel to be a “Lost Cause”. This was the premise of the line “worst of my character, mixed with the best of my soul”. This concern is most noticeable in parts of the second and third verses, as I voice my concern for what my future holds with music as my outlet. I had somehow developed the theory that my shyness and seemingly distant personality were the byproducts of writing lyrics. I believed that by voicing my thoughts and emotions through song, I had found a scapegoat for my standoffish social characteristic. It was beginning to become easy to blame my difference on my hobby, and I can assure you that it worried me.
The hook represented my current attitude and really set the tone for the ending of the song. I had felt defeated and exhausted from the songwriting process, and was really beginning to embrace the “giving everything I’ve ever had as I’m crash landing” mentality (yes, I’m aware that it’s only the introduction). Still in love with the instrumental, I wanted to keep writing to it. I wanted to put off the anxiety and fear of being blocked on the next song, and just have some fun writing anything more to this one. And so I did.
What began as four lines quickly turned into eight, then sixteen. I had written an extra verse’s worth and wanted to keep going. I finished with an additional forty-eight bars (three verses) of essentially ranting and venting, as if I would never again have the opportunity to say what I have always wanted to. By the time I finished this rambling on of frustration and fear, I decided to keep it in the song. If I were to treat this as a journal, I had to leave no segments omitted. This would be the complete definitive collection of my thoughts at this point in time. In hindsight, this is how you end up with an annoyingly long introduction involving too much vocal aggression. I looked onward toward the next chapter in this story, hoping and praying it wouldn’t take nearly as long to write.

GHOST IN THE MACHINE
There’s not much more I can say about Kidd that I haven’t already. We began “XLife Sound” together, crafted my first few songs together, and recorded in a studio for the very first time together. As co-workers in the fall of 2012, we discovered that we shared this common passion, and have been working together ever since. I knew almost right away this would be the song we’d collaborate on. The instrumental caught my attention and seemed to match the style of both myself and Kidd. Although I knew this would be an aggressive track, the content and message of the song were still a mystery.
I let the instrumental play over and over again during the course of my final spring semester of college. I still remember the unfathomably easy schedule at the time, which gave me more free time to write lyrics and brainstorm. One thing that will never leave my mind about this time period is the ungodly weather. Now don’t think that I’m against the snow. I’ve always been a fan of the snow and have traditionally loved the winter time in general. In fact, I’ve favored the cold for the majority of my life, which made this change of heart a little more interesting. It seems that just about anyone in the continental U.S. can recall the winter of 2014-15 (does winter vortex ring any bells?). It wasn’t necessarily the amount of snow or even the frequency of which it came, but the season itself seemed to drag on forever. Month after month seemed to pass and the temperature stayed in the teens and twenties, with nights dipping into the negatives. While these conditions and worse may be the custom in many regions of the world, it was beyond annoying to me. I eventually entered a state of depression, feeling mentally drained from being physically blocked in so frequently. My job and my classes both required my presence naturally, but the snow and ice that lay stacked upon my curvy backroads argued otherwise. The constant worry and dread of commuting got increasingly old increasingly quick. Let me again say that this has been the first winter that I’ve felt such a way. I could feel myself going numb, beginning to change.
You could say that since the release of ‘2014’, I had become more interested in some of the older music I used to listen to growing up. Perhaps this is the first time I’ve said so, but I listened to nearly no hip-hop of any kind until late high-school. I had been wanting to retreat from my own music and revisit some of my favorites. The interest became unhealthy for my own process, as I can now say that this was likely a major contributing factor in my lack of will to write new songs. I had managed to get a piano that Christmas, and wanted to learn to play again. I had played some when I was young, but now I wanted to recreate my favorite songs, and even write ones of my own. I started growing my hair out, resembling my teenage self. I still cannot say for sure what the exact cause of this reversion was, only that it was uncanny and unpopular in my environment (and that’s all I’ll say about that). In retrospect, it seems the instrumental choices made sense, given my mood at the time. It’s not that I had become burnt out on hip-hop or writing hip-hop songs, but I found myself trying desperately to balance the advancement of two very contrasting styles, and to this day I’m still not certain which was the victor.
To summarize “Ghost”, I think I was trying to send a message to my good friend. It was not necessarily a plea for help, but maybe a caution signal that something different is definitely happening with me right now.

THIS IS IT
If there’s a rock bottom to be experienced during the creation of a musical project, “this is it”. The concern and eventual worry that plagued my songwriting had transformed into panic. From the speed and mood of the process so far, this was definitely not shaping up to be an acceptable successor to ‘2014’. Among changes involving myself, there had been a few other adjustments in my everyday environment. The last project was so collaborative that I would literally exchange ideas and learn new tricks almost every night at work. Not a single song was made without the input of my closest friends. This new project had been the polar opposite. Aside from my engineer, and the two featured artists regarding their respective tracks, I was the only person who knew anything at all about these new songs. I wouldn’t say that I needed reassurance that I could make good music on my own, or that I had become so ashamed of the process that I was afraid to show anyone what I had so far, but there must have been a little of both mixed in. Overall, I had felt a sense of isolation musically because of my decision. It simply wasn’t all that fun when I was doing this on my own, nor did it seem to be very fruitful. It was that point in my “career” that I genuinely thought that this may be the end of my short run.
The song is not directed at any one person or entity, but rather three or more. It’s a cry for understanding. I needed everyone who listened to understand that this wasn’t fun anymore, and that if this is all I can write about, then my decision to potentially quit is justifiable. I had wanted someone, anyone to grab me by the shoulders and shake me out of this slump, this cold. I was freezing up inside and needed someone other than myself to hear my call. The only problem is that no one could have known, this project had been my secret.

LOST CAUSE
I took some time off after “This Is It”. I pursued other interests and tried my best to free my mind of my songs for a few months. It was early Fall when I got back to writing. This instrumental had been on my list for quite some time but I’d yet to even attempt a draft until now. Over the course of the summer, I was slowly escaping the mindset of feeling powerless in a “cold damned hell” as I had called it. I had come to terms with my current state as a lyricist, and so there was no pressure to do well, as pathetic as that may sound.
There was no topic or subject that I could think to write about of course, as I knew I’d struggle to stay on topic either way. Like almost every song I write however, I began with the hook. The instrumental was comforting and had a sense of warmth to it. It wasn’t going to judge me for what I came up with, or tell me to try harder. It was inviting and patient, listening to my words with open ears, like a therapist if you will. It’s this song that I finally made a move in the right direction. I felt no desire to craft a hit, or please any listener. My only objective was to sit quietly and confess my probable last words as a lyricist to this song. It would be my best friend for the duration of the track, and it would be told everything I’d yet to say, or simply whatever came to my mind at the given moment. For all intents and purposes, I was “just getting these notes out”, and making an attempt to apologize to the music itself that I wasn’t able to properly reciprocate its impact on me.
I started off by sharing my love and affection for music, and my journey creating it up until this point. I proceeded to reflect upon my past ways of dealing with obstacles, and begged the question of what had changed. Since late Fall the previous year, through the winter and into a great portion of the summer, I was simply not in a good place mentally. My greatest fear was that this transition was a part of growing up, and that I would never recover my ability to feel emotion as intensely as before. Whether peaks or valleys, I wanted to feel things again. There have always been places I could travel to in my head; pictures, sounds, memories and ideas that holistically shaped a world of my own. It’s not possible to describe it, but it definitely exists. It was that portion (mainly the second verse) where I was curious to see if others felt the same way. I do wonder if other people have these places they run to where no other conscious entity exists, and no one could ever visit. I concluded by once again referring to my social anxiety, and delivering an inward observation of my current state and where I’d go from here.
Although it began and ended as a collection of random thoughts, this song is by far the strongest in my opinion. It chased no recognition, but rather existed as a byproduct of the joy of writing. It was written therapeutically for me and no one else. It was not my intention for the song to be fully understood by anyone, as it was mostly a practice exercise. It is for these reasons that this song is the most raw and purely genuine song on the entire project, and aside from one or two others, is my favorite self-written song so far.
The completion of this song meant the completion of the project. It would be an EP, and it now had a title. I decided to aptly name it “The Lost Cause”.

THE WALK (Not Included in EP Version)
This is the only song on the project which doesn’t use an original instrumental. It’s rather the instrumental to a song by Joe Budden, whom I’ve always admired and sought inspiration from as an artist. The level of respect I have for this artist is unparalleled, and there’s no other single hip-hop artist who can pull me out of the dumps more effectively. This instrumental had been playing in my head for almost a year. I had so longed to use it someday for a song of my own.
The song is about my grandfather, an artist in more ways than one. He passed on in 2013, only three months before the release of my first collection of songs. I still to this day haven’t the slightest idea what he would have made of them, but I’d like to think he’d admire my willingness to create and express myself.
Living so far away, I was only ever able to meet him in person once. I can honestly say it’s one of my favorite memories growing up, and I’ll never forget how we almost immediately became quite fond of each other. I remember his house being loaded top to bottom, room by room with paintings. His forte and main interest was animals, but proved more than brilliant at portraying people as well. Not only were there beautiful canvases lining the walls, but he possessed a moderate sized collection of music boxes that he had hand-crafted from wood. It’s an understatement to say that this will always be the greatest house I will have ever walked through.
Over the course of 2015, I was really beginning to realize similarities between us. Although I share some common characteristics with both parents, it doesn’t seem to compare to the resemblance I see between mine and my grandfather’s personalities. I may have only spent a few days with him in person, but we’ve shared several phone conversations over the years. One of these in particular I’ll remember forever. I remember asking him about why he wanted to be an artist and how he’s managed to become so gifted. He told me that to become an artist, I had to gather up all the marbles I could find and hold them all in my hand. Puzzled, I listened on as he revealed that you then must begin to let them go one by one until finally none remain. He explained that the more marbles you relinquish, the more affection you and others will come to hold towards the art you create. At the time I remember taking it as nothing more than a piece of humor, interpreting it as “you have to be a loon to want to be an artist”. Several years would pass before I would understand what he meant. As brilliant as he had become artistically, stories and the like always told me that he was a bit peculiar on the social level. Although he was perfectly capable of engaging with the general public, he preferred to be alone. He had no interest in fostering a network of social ties, but rather in creating a relationship with his craft. I truly believe he definitely had one of those “places”. In a dream of mine, he and I walked through it together, sharing one more visit.

MIDDLE OF MADNESS
In writing “Lost Cause” and “The Walk”, I was regaining my love for crafting lyrics. As 2015 was finally coming to an end, I was feeling more motivated and determined to move forward with my music. Much thought was put into whether or not I should include additional tracks after “The Walk”. Should “The Lost Cause EP” end on a positive note or a question mark? Perhaps I felt that the five songs alone didn’t do enough justice to the story, as I relented to the idea of including a turn of events.
This was an instrumental I’d held interest for, but hadn’t the mood to work with until now. Although I didn’t have a specific topic in mind, I began playing with the hook and writing what you now hear. The overall tone became feeling better, and the message became “I can feel it coming back”. Among countless other lessons, this project has taught me that perhaps the most creative of ideas and developments come from the deepest and sometimes most indescribable of circumstances. I cannot say where exactly my words derive from, only that they come strongest from the middle of madness. I kept the lyricism simple but strong, focusing on a feel-good delivery and laid back demeanor. There were to be no worries moving forward, as there was nowhere to go but up. More than anything, this song is meant to tell you that my process is better now, and that more songs will come in the future.

PRELUDE TO THE FUTURE
As proof of my lyric-writing recovery, “Prelude to the Future” is the project’s unlikely yet refreshing finale. When you’ve grown tired of hearing me grope and moan about my struggles and emotional issues, this song will suddenly use all of it as a launching pad for things to come. Written in the late winter, early spring of 2016, this song solidifies the end of an era. It’s the end of worrying about pleasing any listener or friend, and the end of making myself seek inspiration. Moving forward, my music will reflect what comes to me naturally, and will feature no attempts to force anything onto the paper.
This is actually the first time that I’ve had the privilege of recording a single song with both Kidd and W.B. It was a stretch in the sense that I was stepping into unknown waters, attempting to get a feel for what would appeal to each of our styles. The instrumental seems even-keel enough that the three of us could each plant a hard-hitting verse without feeling out of place musically. It’s songs like this one that really give me the mental energy I need to write positive material. If there’s one thing I want to write about as I peer into my next project, its positivity. This track shows that with good friends, there are no limits or dead ends. At the blink of an eye, my crew is on my side, unconditionally ready to work with me to create at every turn.

FINAL THOUGHTS
I felt the need to write this supplement due to the ambiguity I feel may exist within. There were so many turning points, so many changes of heart, that I don’t quite feel the project will ever be truly justified at face value. It has a multitude of allegorical meanings and influences that the music itself becomes the tip of an iceberg.
Perhaps one of the greatest influences very early on in the project was religion. I hadn’t set out to write a spiritual set of songs, but it appears at times that this is exactly what occurred. Although I won’t point them out individually, there are several pieces throughout the project that reference the endgame of my Christian faith’s text. Just before the beginning of the project, and most of the way through, I had never been closer spiritually to my religion. One could even speculate that I had become borderline obsessed with what I thought would soon come to fruition. Through the course of this project, I have come to feel lost not in the sense that I am a sinner or even a bad person, but that I am human. I now believe that I, like every other person who has ever lived, am not all that good. I feel that we are all lost beyond redemption, and that it wouldn’t make sense to give eternal life to self-serving creatures like us. This is more or less the message behind what loosely inspired this project, the song “(*Fin)” by the band (my favorite band) Anberlin. I’m not saying that I’ve become an atheist, not in the slightest. However, I’m failing to understand why certain events have not come to pass, and why anyone would want to care for the salvation of us humans. I’d say that more than anything, I’m starting to look transparently through my faith, seeing quite little substance behind the flashing lights.
I appreciate this project in that I think it has helped me to grow as both a lyricist and as a person. I have gained so much maturity since the release of ‘2014’, and I now have so much enthusiasm and excitement for how it will affect future projects. It was a dark time in a few ways, but I do believe that sometimes you have to go through some bad to reach the good, and that some lessons are best learned (or only learned) the hard way. Although it may hold no relevance or meaning to you, I’d like to leave you with a quote from an artist I truly admire.

“However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” – Stanley Kubrick

Godspeed.

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