Deejay, the Great and Powerful

(Originally published on the Outlaws of Avalon Tumblr page)

So imagine that you’re a minstrel dropped into this world from a faraway fairytale universe, and your first encounter with 21st-century music went like this:

Whoa-oh-whoa-oh-whoa 

Putcho hands up, hands up!

Shawty on the dance floor,

Shakin’ it like what, wha-what?!

I’mma be with muh baby in the club,

Goin’ all night long!

Don’t you stop my song, dee-ee-jay…”

Teeth gritted in pain, Allyn forced his hands away from his ears long enough to press the power button a second time, bathing the car in near-silence once more. He glowered at Will Scarlet. “What in all hells was that?!”

“I gather that whoever played the radio last was somewhat hard of hearing,” Will said, bouncing back from a cringe of his own. “Though whether they started out hard of hearing, or only became so after listening to hip-hop at such a volume for any extended space of time, is anybody’s guess.”

[…] Brow puckered, he tried again, his finger unintentionally sliding a little bit lower. It proved a happy accident, for the radio abruptly forsook the song about the hip-hop minstrel’s encounter with the highwayman called Deejay (or such was Allyn’s best guess as to what the lyrics had been going on about)…

(From “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”, emphasis added)

Weird, sure, but as an isolated incident, it’s just one random nonsense song.

Except the more you listen to hits on the radio, the clearer it becomes that this Deejay person is no mere highwayman.

Clubbers everywhere are praying to this character as if he holds their hearts in his hands.

  • “DJ give us something to ride to”
  • “Play my song, Mr. DJ, I’m in love with the DJ”
  • “Oh DJ, ease my mind will you”
  • “I love the DJ, the DJ loves me”
  • “DJ’s got the party started, there’s no end in sight”
  • “I’m so into you ‘cause I love the DJ”
  • “Last night a DJ saved my life”
  • “The DJ’s gonna save us, DJ’s gonna save us tonight”
  • “Listen to what the DJ’s spinnin’, he’s tappin’ into just what you’re feelin’”
  • “Close your eyes to the DJ, close your eyes and fade away”
  • “DJ! Don’t do this to me – I tried to do my best – I tried not to sing out of key – DJ! Don’t you dare to leave – I tried to be the one – and now I’m on my knees!”
  • “Don’t blame the world, it’s the DJ’s fault”

*record scratch*

What are you, otherworld minstrel, to make of it all? You never once doubted that music has power, but this…

Is the Deejay a wizard?? A legion of demons?? A sentient drug?? Is he God???

In Deejay we move, in Deejay we love, in Deejay we trust! Don’t abandon us, Deejay! We pump blood to your beat! We succumb to your groove! Don’t take my baby from me, Deejay!

It’s Deejay’s party, and we’re just living in it! But of course there are those who resist.

Rebel leader Ke$ha declares “it’s time to kill the lights and shut the DJ down”. She’s backed up by The Smiths, calling for the people to “burn the disco, hang the blessed DJ”.

It is to be war.

And you can only wonder… when the smoke clears… when silence falls … who will be left standing on the dance floor?

marcela-laskoski-118684-unsplash
Thanks to Marcela Laskoski for making this image freely available on Unsplash.com

“Pre View” or “HYSLTT!”

No, that’s not a typo – I really did mean to separate the “pre” from the “view” in my blog title. Why? Because that’s how it goes in the title of the newest album from my favorite hip hop artist, t.Jay: “The Pre View”. And yes, this post’s subtitle is having the usual fun with subverting the original “HYSRT!” acronym – in this case because, Hey, You Should Listen To This!

Regular readers of my blog may remember T.J. “t.Jay” Pompeo from this post, when he was cool enough to let me interview him about his previous album, “Iris”. The man is at it again, writing more inspired music and offering it for free  (yeah, you read that right: I said FREE) to any and all who’ve got a computer to download it with.

I just nabbed my own copy of the files, and I’m telling ya, some of these tracks have been getting some major play time with me. You know I dig a song when I can play it some ten times in a row and be excited that it’s starting again every single time. And it’s not just me enjoying these songs: I’ve got a character in my head who not only loves them, he was moved by them; encouraged by them; majorly blessed by them. And that’s exactly what t.Jay set out to do with this album. …well, maybe he’d been aiming more to touch technically real people, but as an artist (and therefore probably a little bit crazy, just by definition), I’m sure he wouldn’t cry boo at my character’s testimony. (Fictional people need the love of Christ, too.)

The Pre View

The album’s track list includes:

1- Fairytales

2- Tomorrow

3- If I Have to Wait

4- Buy Focals

5- Money Ain’t Everything

6- Make It Reign (I’d heard a preview of this song on YouTube, a while back, and was pleased that the full version made it onto this album. The chorus always makes me wanna bounce.)

7- Lens Crafter (My favorite track! Its happy little beat and lovely harmonies do joyful things to me. I am honest-to-goodness listening to this on loop as I post this.)

8- iShadow

9- Remember When— (Another one of my faves. It gets me right in my nostalgic side.)

10- Don’t Let Me Go

11- Far Sighted (This is the one that touched my character the most out of all of them. It was really relatable for him, and just what he had been needing to hear at the time it first reached my headphones. And then it was back to looping “Lens Crafter”, for joy for the both of us.)

12- Hourglass

13- Love – Acoustic Remix

So, in summary: The artist’s legit, the songs are sweet, and you can totally— no, should totally download the album, ‘cause it’s awesome and it’s FREE. And who knows, it might be just what you – or a friend, and/or someone in your head – need(s) to hear.

“Iris” or “Rappin’ with t.Jay”

Something new today, readers: Ever On Word is excited to present an interview with hip hop artist T.J. Pompeo (that’s t.Jay to you, music world)!

            A lot of today’s hip hop has me cringing like a minstrel forced to listen to… well, a lot of today’s hip hop. My main gripe with it is the content, which is usually nothing but a lot of, “Hey, [cuss], check me, I’m [cussing] awesome, [cuss, cuss, cuss]!” Not my style, not what I want in my head, and not at all what’s to be heard on T.J.’s recently-released album, “Iris”.

            I had the pleasure of meeting T.J. in person when he and the rest of the talented bunch known as Soulseed played a concert at my church last summer, and have been creepin’ on his Facebook page ever since. There’s a good deal more I could say about this guy – like what an inspiration he is to me as a creative Christian, or how one of his YouTube videos helped me stand strong against personal temptation, or, and, also, in addition to, plus… – but that wouldn’t be much of an interview, now would it? So what say I quiet down a bit and we hear from the man himself? T.J, come on down! *applause*

Thanks for joining us, Teej! First, a little background. How did you get started in music?

            I got started in music with trumpet, actually. I started playing back in middle school when I was 11. I really enjoyed it and it always kept me connected to music in some form or another. Then when I was 15, I really noticed that I liked the genre of hip hop. My older brother and all 6 of my older cousins up in NYC did underground hip hop at that time and would always tell me that I should try it out. So after A LOT of encouragement, I decided to finally write my first song in February of 2006. Of course, it was incredibly amateur (terrible… haha), but I didn’t care. It provided an outlet for me to express myself and I fell in love with it INSTANTLY. From that point on, hip hop and I were inseparable. Of course, at that time, I wasn’t saved, so I was doing all secular hip hop. My crossover to Christian hip hop came months after my conversion to the Kingdom.

What went into the creation of “Iris”? What inspired the project?

            “Iris” entailed MANY, MANY hours of creative energy and MANY sessions for re-recording, but it was such a fun album to create! Every ounce of energy that went into it was well worth it and it was such a blessing to be able to give it to the listeners for FREE. I chose “Iris” as the title for the following reasons:

            –The iris is part of the anatomy of the eye. Its function is to respond to the amount of light entering the eye, which then allows the muscles attached to the iris to expand or shrink at the center of it, depending on how much light it’s receiving. It correlates and connects directly with the pupil of the eye. The larger the pupil, the more light can enter.

            Spiritually, this has significance, too. Is my spiritual “iris” allowing in all of the Light that God is trying to reveal to me? If it’s not, then my spiritual pupils are small and shrinking, and they’re not fully receiving the “eyes open” experience and revelation that the Lord has for me. I want to EXPAND my knowledge of who He is and what He’s calling me to, not shrink it. NEVER SHRINK IT! Daily, I want to let ALL of the Light in that He has for me and enhance my iris so that I can continue to become a true “pupil” of Christ!

            –In Greek mythology, Iris is the personification of the rainbow and she is the messenger of the gods. She travels with the speed of the wind from one end of the world to the other, and into the depths of the sea and the underworld. I know I’m not a female… nor am I a goddess… haha, BUT! I am a messenger for THE ONE TRUE GOD. And you already know what that message is allllll about! HOPE AND LOVE through Christ! The Gospel has traveled from one end of the Earth to the other and He’s called all of us to be a part of that process (The Great Commission)! I know that I’m called to go into our modern-day depths of the sea and our modern-day underworld where sin is most prevalent and bring that message forth of HOPE and RECONCILIATION!

            (An excellent naming, Authorial Me approves.)

What is your songwriting process like?

            To put it quite simply, the HOLY SPIRIT.

            (The ultimate muse!)

Which were some of your favorite songs to write? To record? To listen to?

            I’ll do my top 3 for each.

            – Favorites to write: “This I Pray”, “Reason”, “The Meaning of Purpose”

            – Favorites to record: “Fantasy”, “No One”, “New Me”

            – Favorites to listen to: “No One”, “Who Am I?”, “Fantasy”

            (My top 3: “The Meaning of Purpose”, “Find the Answers”, and… er… either “Phone Home” or “We Go”. It’s hard to decide!)

Where can my dear readers access a copy of the album?

            You guys can pick up a copy of the album FOR FREE at: tJay.Bandcamp.com. When you get to the site, just click the “Buy Now” link and then enter in a zero as your amount and you’ll get the free download!

            (Feel free to pause the reading of this blog post to go do that now. Don’t worry; I’ll wait for you.)

What other projects or performances have you got in the works?

            I’m currently workin’ on my next project and am INCREDIBLY excited about it. It’s gonna have some amazing features on it and I can’t wait for you guys to hear it! It’s set to release somewhere in the time frame of July-September of this year. An exact date hasn’t been decided upon just yet.

            (Lookin’ forward to it!)

Any last words (I ask in my most ominous voice)?

            For myself, the word that God has been hammering into my everyday thought process is… OWNERSHIP. Owning up to what the Lord has called me to; a.k.a., taking FULL ownership of it. Kind of like a piece of property, the call to being men and women of God is something that all of us inherited at the moment of our spiritual rebirth. I know FOR ME, the Lord has made it very plain that it’s time to take ownership of biblical manhood and not avoid the calling ANYMORE! I challenge each of you reading this to begin to take ownership of your inheritance. Whether you’re a male or a female is insignificant. The time for all of us is NOW. Own it.