7 Poems, 8 Beats is dead. It died before it was born, kind of – only 28 copies were printed, many of which are already in other people’s hands. It’s a beautiful-looking thing, with art by Jase Daniels – who I never stop gaining respect for – and the mix is tight, taking the Gas Monk originals out of When You Can’t Afford Weed, Smoke This and reblending them with a few new exclusives. But it died, and there’s a set of excuses I can give but in the end it was a revelation about the nature of art and the communication of ideas that made me kill it.
The less important excuses include printer malfunctions, pretty much on every step of the way, which gave me an increasingly unbearable headache. The product itself was flawed in its initial print run – things as stupid as the staples being in the totally wrong place – not just aesthetically wrong, but functionally wrong, so everything became useless. Staples. Staples! I feel about staples kind of the same way that Allen Iverson feels about practice.
I’m too poor for that shit. But I ate my losses and got the first batch of product ready.
Then came the more crippling error, one which you might’ve already noticed. The vast majority of orders were not going through. I didn’t know it at first, but for whatever reason, the online payment system I’d set up was just not happening. Proving once again that Gas Monk is only human no matter what certain kids try to say. Nothing was going right, and all along I kept asking, quietly at first then VERY fuckin loud and firm in my head, “Why am I doing this?”
7 Poems, 8 Beats is a collector’s edition sort of thing. Something the true Gas Monk heads could own and be happy with. But true Gas Monk heads are probably not like that, because I’m not like that. The Gas Monk heads, like me, care about the ideas, and it hit me that I wasn’t really selling new ideas, just a nicer packaging for them. And they care about supporting the artist, but know there are more practical ways to do that than buying a “collector’s edition” of something. Like, telling your friend. That’s worth more to me, because then two people are listening instead of one.
Meanwhile, When You Can’t Afford Weed, Smoke This was burning through Boston, with no packaging other than a beautiful Jase-designed CD in a slip case. That felt so right. Kids ate it up, shared it, were proud to own it. Are still eating and sharing and proud. I saw both of these things happen at once. It all made me decide that I will never charge you for something that didn’t cost an especially large lump of cash to make.
I eat a small loss on every mixtape I put out, and I’m happy to, because it’s all connected me to so many people who’ve paid me back tenfold, simply by being enthusiastic enough to burn copies for all of their friends. It’s a new age – I bootleg as relentlessly as the rest of you; I understand. The Aborted Mixtape, as I think of it now, was a lesson. It reminded me how much I love my fans, because you’re all I make this music for. Expect to keep having free music put on your plate. I don’t think the idea of collector’s editions are dishonest, but Gas Monk is for the beat junkies, flat pockets or fat pockets, and if you like me you can pay me by putting me on, in the way that matters most – with your word.
Anybody who does love collector’s editions of art, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll let you know if I still have any copies of The Aborted Mixtape (aka 7 Poems, 8 Beats) for sale. It’ll be the last project of its nature I release, so if that “collectibles” urge is an urge you have, I’m here to help you satisfy it (until we’re sold out).
To the others – “One For Zane” is the only song on it TOTALLY unavailable elsewhere. I kind of think it’s cool if it remains like that. I made it for a girl I wish I could have, but she lives across the ocean from me, and only exists in my songs now. Booooyakasha.