Introducing ‘Notes from Mr. Sandman‘ – a column slapping a spotlight on lyricists overlooked, under appreciated, or just plain criminally slept on. Or like a man named Nas once said, “I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death.” Enter Mr. Sandman with what y’all missed while chasing the REM dragon.
Dwight Farrell, better known as Count Bass D, is a hip-hop producer, lyricist and multi-instrumentalist who doesn’t know the meaning of quit. His catalog is deep with over 20 albums to his credit in as many years. And that’s just what’s been released. He’s teased at the idea of a back catalog that would make the Smithsonian jealous. But what makes Count Bass D an outstanding talent is not his workload, rather the quality of work and ideas that go into it. He’s a formally trained musician and is always pushing himself without overexerting his godgiven talent.
Dwight Spitz, his sophomore album, was the one that introduced him to the world. It was a project steeped in traditional values – mindful sampling, spirited breaks that come alive and clean rhymes. The production value specifically is very distinct, you won’t find chords like that on any other album unless of course he produced it. It paves the way for a very straightforward, unorthodox rhyme style, like when a jazz musician decides to sing or recite poetry over his compositions.
On “Aural S(ect)s” Count is an open book, believing that the makings of the album were preordained by the almighty. The message strikes fast, and with a savvy sample drop he finishes off the verse like a champ: [LISTEN]
His follow up Act Your Waste Size is an extension of Dwight Spitz, virtually the same style but in a much more relaxed tone. Lyrically Dwight is able to unwind and play with different modes, which gives him the type of freedom he needs – to be without restriction. They aren’t mind blowing verses like Nas or Biggie, nor is it an acrobatic exhibition like Doom or Edan. Instead it’s a subtle comfort zone that melds into his beats like butter on toast.
“Long Goodbyes” for example is Count Bass D at his best. It sounds like he put it together on the spot and just so happened to hit record along the way. He croons softly over some keys and it’s like he were reciting it to a one person audience. That style and intimacy can’t be duplicated and was the furthest thing from rap at the time: [LISTEN]
Most times it seems like Count Bass D has one foot out the door, an elusive guy even by underground standards. But that shouldn’t be mistaken as him being aloof, he just exists within a particular space. He’s still making music and while he may not be stealing headlines, he’s as unique as it comes because he’s stayed true to his M.O. – critical acclaim or not. Heard but not seen, just like Count Bass D prefers it.