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Dilla Donuts Month: "Geek Down"

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-Zilla Rocca “Artichokes” (“Geek Down” Freestyle)

This joint is so mean! I was glad that Ghost eventually found his way on this beat. I was half-drunk when I loaded this joint up and just went in waaay past my bedtime. Not too much thought behind it–just following that filthy ass acid guitar and the breaks smacking around my speakers. I think I did this joint in like 5 takes–back then I used to do punches, which is something we NEVER do anymore, but I remember wanting to knock this all out in one take. Listening back now, I had waaay too many words on that shit!”

Zilla Rocca is co-founder of Beat Garden Entertainment, blogs at Clap Cowards, is one half of Clean Guns along with Nico the Beast, and one half of 5 O’Clock Shadowboxers, with another (soon-to-be) Donuts Month contributor Douglas Martin.


“Geek Down” follows the super-serious combo of “Don’t Cry” and “Anti-American Graffiti” but doesn’t come with those tracks’ personal and political intensity. It’s something lighter, more fun. The focus here’s aesthetic and sounding dope and all that. Sticking the emotions to the side, letting you take an extended breather before it gets heavy (“Gobstopper” to “Walkinonit”), pauses for fun weirdness (“Da Factory”) and then gets really heavy (“U-Luv” to “Intro”).

These diversions are not only musically important in terms of pacing and avoiding same-ness, but reflective of real life, where even the most devastating or tragic of situations lets-up for a laugh or geek-out. And “Geek Down” does that, by sounding really goofy–the opposite of “Anti-American Graffiti”s frustrated fervor or “Don’t Cry”’s enlightened acceptance–and also, getting super hip-hop head nerdy diving into rap emphemera by messing with one more hip-hop sample staple: “Funky Drummer”, Mountain’s “Long Red” and now, “U.F.O” by ESG.

Really, “Geek Down” is a cover of “U.F.O”. The simple Dilla thump drums do the work of the original’s rudimentary dance bassline and he replaces the eerie siren’s prominence with some goofy wah-wah sounds and flanged-out scrapes of guitar, all the while, letting that oft-sampled siren noise flick around behind it all, even making it a little more evil by speeding it up into some Bernard Herrmann Psycho strings sound shit. On Dilla’s version though, the siren’s the oddball–it isn’t the basis for the creepy vibes as it is on the original–as rubbery psychedelics wrap around the siren and almost negate its menace.


A few days after submitting my contributions to this 31-day celebration of Dilla and Donuts, I was listening to the album again, as it had grown on me since I was first made aware of Brandon’s theme about a month or so before. I initially didn’t write anything about it, since I figured, being Joseph’s blog handle, that he’d be all over it and being one of the more straightforward and traditional rap album beats on the record, there’d be a slew of great write-ups on it. But once “Geek Down” came on, I felt the urge to do something I’ve done only two other times in my life, once in the 8th grade and once last year during a non-conservatory studio production class at my college: Write a rap.

Had I the ability to rap, I would’ve probably JSmooth-ed this and recorded it, which would’ve been great, I think, but I don’t really have the confidence in my abilities or, primarily, the voice to rap so I just left it as a long verse I worked out one night (I think a Saturday or something) with “Geek Down” up on my iTunes on infinite repeat. I rarely ever try to rap, though I tried in 8th grade and immediately gave up, feeling that my voice sucked for it. 9 years later, I regret that decision and every year that goes by I wish I had at least practiced rhyming more, especially after the high I got off working out the structure and create a story while the beat looped.

Like most writers or musicians, as soon as I finished it I immediately felt protective and self-conscious of its quality, wanting to revise it and make it sound more normalized or distant of cool, but goddamit I’m 21 and this ain’t a High School open mic so it’s time to man up and be genuine.

The following rap takes up the entire length of the “Geek Down” instrumental beat from Donuts, is inspired by just how ill and screw-face-inducing it is, and borrows liberally from the flows of Ghostface, Cam’Ron, Q-Tip, and Rakim. It’s also completely unmetered in terms of cadence so it will take a few reads to parse out the flow, or lack thereof:

Chop shop rollin’
on a bike that was stolen
taking off after bonin’
perforations in her colon and
Best believe I’m not holdin ‘
while swollen
Cuz me nah feel like jakes ‘84′n
like I’m Prole’n-
-tariat lariats, sell fake comics at the Mariatt,
dudes callin’ up, always give ‘em cheap
Chinese variants

My connect is Stan Lee the 3rd,
gully Islamic dude with a last name preferred and
Shrimps is jumbo, son, that’s my word
Fucks with my meals get Saddam’ed like Iraqi Kurds
Strict canary chop lollipop comatose birds
In my barbershop? Doo-doo wops in faux-fur
Generally electric when I roll up on a couple new Hers
Middle squid-diddle then they wake up caked up goldust and myrrh
Goddamn! Brochure is for sure ink crafted couture
Step past the candy-swirl to where the pure product’s procured
Sniff the atmosphere, B. I got forever in-stores
3rd the 1st, Jim, Bruce, Coles, Yancey and more

Right next to frying pans I sell them new Iron Mans
I tell them Dilla fans, yeah man, I miss that man
I hear that “Geek Down” all I say is “Dammit, man”
Show stans Donuts, “Fan, you gotta have it, man”
MP3 or CD, I say “Fuck it, fam”
Come through youse and your crew that’s the fuckin plan
Unwrap saran then jam to the one-man band
Breakin’ atoms, soul-controlling down at the Motherland

Headphone sessions as my makeshift elegy
For dude who blessed minds with MPC weaponry
CDs, tees and tapes, comics sold especially
“RIP” James sure he’s dropping beats heavenly


A few things…

-The always supportive Tom Breihan went more than out of his way to mention Donuts month on Pitchfork, in this news on a new DOOM album called BORN INTO THIS.

-E-Major submitted his tribute to Dilla in the form of a celebratory verse and then some over “Mash”. Check it here or on the “Mash” entry.

-Tonight, E-Major plays a Dilla tribute show along with Black Milk and others:

Written by Brandon

February 20th, 2009 at 8:13 am

Posted in Dilla, Donuts Month

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