The Contenda was a late addition to We Brought Knives. After scrapping a few songs we didn't feel were up to snuff, we sat at M. Stine's computer and listened to some beats he had lying around. Pro tip: when M. Stine claims to have beats lying around that he doesn't think are that great, JUMP ON THEM. Because he is so, so wrong about that all the time. Ha.
We wrote it like we are telling a story (my pops never left - he and my mother are still very happily married), but I think the emotion at the core is deeply personal to both Sentence and I. We both sacrificed years and years of our lives trying to become the biggest thing in indie hip hop. He worked retail, and I walked dogs, because those jobs afforded us the most opportunity for touring and free time in general to write and record. This is while our friends got master's degrees, became lawyers, became doctor's, etc.
We are still probably two of the broker dudes we know. No regrets though.
This song is us coming to terms with the fact that we fall more on the black-sheep side of things with our families, with our friends. And while we haven't been able to turn that corner where music could be a full time career, we put a SHIT TON of work in. And played shows that most of our peers wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. That's not to say we were particularly smart for doing some of the things we did. But our mentality was always "let's just fucking do it".
Which brings us to the real crux of the song, and the real crux of the album - the idea of bringing knives to a gunfight. There were ways we could have made it easier on ourselves when we were trying to get this shit off the ground. We could have taken more shortcuts. We've seen it work (really well!) for some of our peers. But again, this is why SFR is more than a label to us - look at the rest of the people on that roster, and you'll hear this same story again and again. Artists who took a strict view of how you put your work in, regardless of the goal.
On top of that, our experiences give me the continued confidence that you could throw us anywhere, in front of any crowd, on a bill with any rappers, and we will fucking make it work. That's important to me.
Lift if up high. Set it down slow. You can measure most men by the things they don't know. Find out where I'm going when they left me in the open so I ran around the world trailing a million feet of rope. Tie it to the landmarks. Long shots. Bad cards. Head full of bright ideas. Pocket full of man parts.
Dust in the wind. Born with thicker skin. I'm a big fish. I just got little fins. Ending is the hardest. Middle ain't great either. Waiting for the big time. Senioritis. 8th grade fever. Didn't ever really know the best approach to take but knew I'd break my back by hoping I could make you a believer. Right as rain. Good as gold. You can't count on me. More than just another stubborn hungry mouth to feed. Wasn't made up neat-like. Not laid out for me. I did my best. Ma, try to be proud of me.
Put it on my back. I can carry the bricks. I can carry the sticks. I can carry the stones.
Put it on my back. I can carry the skin. I can carry the blood. I can carry the bones.
Put it on my back. I can carry the weight. I can shoulder the blame. I can carry you home.
Put it on my back. Lay it on my back.
You can imagine a fire. You can imagine a bomb. You can imagine a gunshot. Just not this. When I was a kid I wrote my script through clenched little fists on a blaze of glory tip. After pops left I watched all my movies by myself. Learned every line. Tony killed Manolo. Shit burned every time. I closed my eyes and practiced accents til all their words were mine.
Sisters I'm still the same boy that you loved. Dancing on the kitchen floor just to make our mother laugh. I ain't ever coming back to ask for cash or favors. A small investment to help me get another crack. So brother pass your judgements if you want. There's a million burned out child's homes that I can haunt.
There's still blood under the tracks. Still breathe under the rasp. I never left. I love first - I love last.
We brought knives to the gunfight. We were told to look people in the eyes. Bury me in the sunlight. Tell my mom I still loved my life.« Back to Home