, but it hurts SO GOOD!

On & Up (2002)

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onandup600The sequel to “Chrysalis”, “On & Up” pairs Beston’s musicianship and song-writing with the electronic wizardry of producer Rafi Benjamin, a mixture which proves to be at once raw and hype. These tunes, most of them thoroughly road-tested by Beston’s erstwhile San Diego group The Kitchen, can light up the dance floor like a spinning disco ball or groove you through the long drive home.

M’Bwamba (a.k.a. Beston Barnett) is a ferocious giant African monkey spirit conjured up by a voodoo ceremony gone wrong in Port au Prince. Scuzzy (a.k.a. Rafi Benjamin) is another reincarnation of Godzilla, cantankerous, fire-breathing, rising out of the Pacific with murderous intent. In what’s being called ‘The Heat on Echo Street’, they’ve agreed to do battle in a bedroom studio in Highland Park. Is it be the fattest thing since the EMU, or apocalypse?

1. on & up
2. another tear of joy
3. already there
4. seven breaths
5. the crocodile’s eyes
6. mosquito
7. your smiling eyes
8. lock & key
9. i will burn
10. my only only
11. step up
12. hook & reel
13. the firecracker

Lyrics and Credits

  • Rafi Benjamin – all sound design, programming, and sequencing
  • Beston Barnett – all guitar and bass
  • Unity Horns (Alan Lomax and I TIMOTHY) – trumpet and trombone

on & up

written by Beston Barnett; featuring Amp Fiddler and Luis Resto on keyboards
this is the sequel, we got the people
peekin in the door callin out for more
come on brethren, feelin irreverent
wackin and wreckin, the samurai seven
excedrin, high-strength, volume eleven
not hipnotized by the dotted lines and dollar signs
it’s Ma Belle’s fate to ill-communicate
come here quick, it’s the lickin stick
the shot gun, shoot it where he run
tra-la-la-la-la, tipitina-na-na
the Vaughn’s jutebox rocks clocks
so plug it in and turn it on and up
on and up, on and up, on and baby up
on and up, on and over, baby up
get down, sugar sugar, up and up
on and up, on and up, on and up
on and up, getting up, up and over
step up, check it, wreckin it
got too many people on the dance floor
just tune in, turn on, and heat em up
a a a a come on, baby up
somebody gotta show em what’s up and up
and that’s me and Homie and Canario
and Andi and Graci even Billy-o
with the prime function at the booty junction
shake, shake, your money-make
movin, groovin, doin it, you know
countin it, pushin on and up
and ya’ll say boohoo – it ain’t funky enough
you say, wah, wah, wah – it ain’t funky enough
what am I tryin to do? – it ain’t funky enough
wah, wah, wah
come on, we gon, rock on, too strong
bag it, tag it and wrappin it
pushin it, keepin up, shockin it
hip-hop it, come on cuttin hard, yo
this is the music that I grew up with
so stop harpin on the authenticity myth
if 85’ll wait, and 10’s gon hate
then 5 are gonna push it on and up

another tear of joy

written by Beston Barnett
I’ve never felt so lucky
I’ve never felt so right
I’ve never felt so grateful
I wanna, wanna stand up tall
chicky, chicky child
chicky, chicky, chicky child
with our hands together
we’ve traveled miles and miles
wakin up somewhere
just to catch the sunrise
some one smilin mornin
maybe break down and cry
lookin in your face last night
I saw a shinin star there
I thought it was some kind of sign
but it was just another tear of joy
lookin in your face today
I saw a shinin star there
I thought it might show me the way
but it was just another tear of joy
you take it out of my hands
you make it come alive
it’s something more than chemical
so, so, so good feelin
chicky, chicky child
chicky, chicky, chicky child
how you love me like that?
so, so wild
with that crazy feelin
pent up inside
some one smilin mornin
maybe break down and cry
hold up a second people
put your hands in the air
shake it up like soda pop
come on, a little higher
chicky, chicky child
chicky, chicky, chicky child
I see your natural smoothness
I see your beautiful smile
when I see that I got you
and just wonderin why
some one shinin mornin
maybe break down and cry

already there

written by Beston Barnett
yeah, yeah – just a yes or no answer
yeah, yeah – just a single word
yeah, yeah – the way you’re talking in circles
yeah, yeah – it’s getting absurd
how come you come
actin all high and mighty?
you can rant and rave and work up a rage
but you can’t slip nothin by me
I know you know
That we’re gonna find you out
You know I’m tired of the poses and the same lame lies
And I’m gonna have to start to shout
I’ve already touched down, I’m already there
I’ve already touched down, I’m already there
and if you wanna talk smack about the things you seen, don’t you lie to me
cause I’ve already touched down, I’m already there
umm-hah – don’t get theoretical
umm-hah – I want the heart of the thing
umm-hah – the more you’re talking in circles
umm-hah – the falser the ring
Simon says, but Simon don’t do
slip through the loop but come up with nothing new
no debut, no stage for your foolish ways
no fan crew licking your shoes
no time for your un-rhyme, your non-spine
your criticality and your doubt
we’re going outside your mind and upside your head
and you’re making me wanna shout
liar, liar, your pants on fire
you talk like that, you ain’t getting no higher
hot air, takin us where?
don’t you know I’m already there

seven breaths

written by Beston Barnett
what a beautiful morning
a beautiful morning
beautiful, beautiful
a beautiful morning
you touch my hand
you touch my hand
touch it and hold it
love’s got fire
eyes shining
eyes shining
shining like water
perfectly still
in golden light
da da dee da da
on that beautiful morning
I know that
seven breaths is all
I’ll need
love’s got fire
love’s got fire
got fire, got fire
da da dee da da
like a match striking
like a standing wave
like an endless garden
a moment of mercy
on that beautiful morning
when you touch my hand
like an endless garden

the crocodile’s eyes

written by Beston Barnett; featuring “Schwee” Michael Schwartz on alto sax, and Ed “PMA” Portillo on turntables
catch the butterfly and crush it
see the pretty flower and pluck it
dig the oil well and suck it
find the virgin forest and fuck it
ah-hah, sad to say, ah-hah, it’s the Taker way
too many raiders in the tomb
too many powers on the moon
too many gold-diggers tryin to boom
I know: Simon says
the idealogy that chased the Indians on the res
curiosity fed the cat to the crocodile
no pyramids in the belly of the Nile
what’s left of Tutankamen’s piles?
I spies the crocodile’s eyes
I spies the crocodile’s eyes
if we converge don’t mean we gon rise
what’s left when the Buddha’s smile dies
I spies the crocodile’s eyes
it’s not just the eyes it’s the teeth
nobody wanna get underneath, nobody wanna reach
it’s super-duper bleach that we teach
and super-sickly sweet what we reap and eat
and here comes the gang of cameras tryin to steal your soul
I am the conquistador with the drum roll
but what is it that we stole?
nobody knows, nobody knows
the eyes of the watcher can distort the watch-ed
a songwriter can change the words that Heisenberg said
but what happens when the microscope lies?
I spies the crocodile’s eyes
the mystery of the missin notes, the missin…
ah, Mingus still screamin bout that, Mingus still screamin
on my record player, Mingus still screamin bout that
in his goodbye pork pie hat, would’ve liked to have fought back
but not everyman get the chance to decide when he’s not gon turn his back
it’s wack, but half the world be tryin to cross the tracks
more wack: the other half’re tryin twice as hard just to cross back
white adobe walls, blue spanish tiles
black african masks, red Thai textiles
what’s left of Mona Lisa’s smiles
I spies the crocodile’s eyes
written by Rafi Loiederman
Mosquito, mosquito soy
Mosquito quemandome las alas
En la bombilla desnuda
Compartiendo penas, pan, y son
Con los tumbadores en el malecon
Somos bichitos en el rincon
Cada miga, una bendicion
Mantenemos la ficcion
Que nunca va acabar esta cancion
Compay, apreta tu cinturon
Sigue pegando el cajon
Como el queso llama raton
Como el amante y su pasion
Como un borracho ojeando su ron
Como la joya y su ladron
Tan intoxicante la pocion
Su dulzura roba la razon
Entre la luna y su reflexion
Queda el lago y la perdicion

your smiling eyes

written by Beston Barnett
ain’t no reason why the dead can’t talk
ain’t no reason why dem bones can’t walk
ain’t no reason why the world can’t start
spinnin the other way – it’s like I say
there’s a wind in the oldest tree
there’s heat in the coldest sea
there’s a ticket to anywhere
printed in your name – on the back of your brain
o sol brilha pros olhos
tell me one more time why the sun shines
o sol brilha pros olhos
why, why, why?
your smilin eyes, your smilin eyes
my heart comes alive when it’s under your smilin eyes
it’s the season of the apple tree
it’s the season for that buzzin bee
it’s that time when the dog’s gonna try
and hump your leg – is he tryin to beg?
I’ll buy some honey and some sweets for you
we can chill down by the avenue
sittin and watchin the puppet show
to the very end – again and again

lock & key

written by Beston Barnett
I’ve got a lock you’ve got a key
we’ll mix it up eventually
walkin the streets of New York City
shake it up, shake it up, shake it up
watchin the pigeons peckin on the asphalt
I got to thinkin about love
maybe we all got our eyes stuck on the ground
but it’s the sky that we’re thinkin of
maybe the flock is eatin totally wrong crops
and we’re livin in a bellyache
maybe the moon is steadily playin our tune
and we’re fightin against fate
hey my darlin, hey my girl
prettiest thing in this whole wide world
oom-pop-be-dop, be dop-be-day
walkin and singin along
unlike Hansel and Gretel
we can skip past the woods and the widow
shovel up a ditch for the witch
cause there’s a bigger batch of sweets by the briar patch
and I know the seven dwarves and they won’t mind
if we go on a cruise by the mistletoe
if there’s time we can stop and catch some hip-hop
and on top we can croon to the jellical moon
I’m the frog prince that won’t wait
I’ll grow up at Jack’s bean stalk’s rate
gotta date with the fork and the spoon
the cow and the moon, the three blind mice and you
yo, and don’t ya kiss my sleepin beauty
Uncle Remus said he meant that for just me
so go prick your finger on somebody else’s tree
cause I see that the mirror on the wall says it all

i will burn

written by Beston Barnett
standin in the shadows the clawing eye, the red hand
the sandman stands, and we
we go on sightin
fightin the only fight we know
and despite the unknown we row
on to better shores over troubled water
we two is twice as strong in one another
so let the flame-throwers band and burn up this last stand
we’ll walk the fire-fight hand in hand
I will not forsake you
I will not turn
I will not relinquish
I will burn
somewhere there’s a red heart breaking
somewhere a sad story’s makin
somewhere a dream denied’s forsaken
somewhere a frail green hope has taken wing
sing just a little while we lie here together
softly, make forever better
even outta dime, even outta time
even outta rhythm and rhyme
loopity-loop, loopity-loop
loopity goes the ride, the crowd singing, ‘hang em high’
loopity-loop as the rudder starts to shudder
the wheel leaves the track and the sail goes under
diamonds in the sky, but there’s coal on the ground
so when I’m walkin around I keep my mind high
high enough to look for truth and even when I come down
the only thing I found is you

my only only

written by Beston Barnett; featuring Malik-Asu Moore on chorus vocals
you are my only
my only only
you are my only
my only only
only only one, make the room spin like that
umm – make the cookie crumble like that
ahh – make the cards tumble like that
ohh – put em flat on their back like that
and step back smilin, ready for more
even the score, goin up and over
ready to soar, ready to shine
ready to feel fine and lazy
la ti da ti da
with the pom-poms goin ra-ra
at tipitina’s singin tra-la-la
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
everybody get together
mess it up, sing it out, make a little better
turn it up, step out the car
get up on the hood and jump
umm babe, you lookin so good
you wanna come on, I wish you would
you wanna shake it, I think you should
watch out now, I knew that you could
so many people on this spinnin thing
goin in rings, wishin on the fish in the sea
shinin like satellites at night
but there’s only only one for me
and here she comes, swimmin through the disco light
lookin tight, outta sight
sparklin like a rhinestone moon
and movin like a meteorite
everybody get together
ooh I love it when a plan comes together
throw your high-heeled sneakers on
raise up your feet and stomp

step up

written by Beston Barnett; featuring Rafi Benjamin’s amazing quica imitation
Rafi, he wants to talk shop
stop, drop, and start doin somethin
not that we ain’t doin nothin
fact is, we on the up and up
DQ is out walkin streets
keepin em aware of the AIDS scare
Andrea’s tryin to keep it fair
put some color in the schools
Lauren T is on the civil side
organizin for the unadvocated
Rafi is with the inner city
he’s givin kids a second try
what he’s sayin is that we gotta move
move strong and in a parallel groove
we may be on the up and up
now’s time we gotta step it up
step up, we gonna step up
my crew, we gonna step up
nobody need to pop top
step up, we gonna step up
everybody got their own thing
got their own way of givin back
fact is that plenty people lack
just need consciousness and motivatin
some people know from the top
other people gotta jump start
don’t matter where you’re comin from
just what you’re hidin in your heart
Andrea knew it in the womb
popped out wavin a many-colored flag
Rafi is from another bag
he’s feelin the community
I know because it’s not enough
just bummin around lookin cool
I feel like we could make em hop
step back cause we gon step it up
we ridin on the peace train
we dancin the merengue
we talkin to the city
laughin in the pourin rain
everywhere they whisperin change
standin up after sittin down
feels like the seed’s in the ground
landscape’s gonna rearrange
so many times wonderin why
somebody don’t take the lead
that ain’t really what we need
just strong will and open eye
it’s time we gonna come together
get together and make a plan
before the people pop top
let’s try to take a step up

hook & reel

written by Beston Barnett
the song starts it’s funky, but not enough to be sure
and as a beat junky, your nose likes only pure
just when the rapper’s flappin seems to be smack-happenin
up pops some dumb line that don’t even fit
hand on the dial, you’re about to flip it
when an inner rhyme so sublime
it’s like a dime to your spine
peels your mind’s rind
huh- what was that, backtrack, yep
listen, the MC on this CD’s getting 3-D
makin out like he knows you, even supposes he blows you
this is not a normal song
you will have to think along
best deactivate your car alarm
and start thinkin for yourself
take off your jacket and cinch up your belt
I’m handin you the mic so don’t delay
you gon break em off some, everybody say…
hook and reel, hook and reel
watch out now you`re getting hooked and reeled
look: if this was a country song
we could grab a couple long necks
and cry a few tears in your beer
empathize til your eye dries
tip our hats and ride into the sunrise
but it’s a rap, sort of
so, short of bad-ass violence
you’re lookin at least for mad-ass sexual license
fast cars and gold bars
fast speech and gold teeth
and maybe a baby-catching hook that’s took
from the 70’s soul book, but with a new
gangsta look – fuckin crooks
what do you want me to do?
it’s up to you
I’m tryin to make a living on the mic, right
it ain’t easy getting through
everybody want their own tune
want me to get a catchy hook and fish em down the moon
ya’ll get your own, I’m tired of chasin Scooby bones
so get your cone domes in the zone and bust a tone, come on
this is a sorry, sorry, sorry state of things
I try to bring something interesting
and you’re sitting, knitting, like turds in a toilet
you’re spoiled shit and I’m sick of it, sick of the trick of it
tired of the lies, prize, and thick of it
opiate of the people, syndicated steeple
radio-promulgated peephole
come on class, let’s put our heads together
keep both hands on the wheel and don’t wreck daddy’s Jetta
writing a song is like workin at Mickey D’s
you gotta start somewhere, so why not with the Royale With Cheese:
the love song, preferably involving thongs
now you know that I know that you know that I know
that you spend all day thinkin about sex
so I’ve composed a little ditty to keep your mind on titty
while we rake in dough to buy more blow, everybody go:
booty, booty, booty tonight
booty-divin til the mornin light

the firecracker

written by Michael Schwartz, Rafael Loiederman, and Beston Barnett
crack that ass, crack that ass,
crack that ass in the fire cracker
I nibble at the scraps and chunks of raw scribble,
shards of stray rap that flap and form riddles,
holes of black space that gape like pulled-teeth,
x-ray break beats that penetrate sleep
Like a subway screech, the delivery of speech
pierces its fiercest sound into my skin —
I’m in, immersed in rap verse ready to burst…
cursed to mimic every hip-hop clinic!
Cracker wanna polyrhythm,
wanna crack the hiero’ to make the technics pyro’
Decipher the pork-pied piper – KA-THUNK
analyze the composition of the funk, but…
Is it appropriate to appropriate?
And can a pro create music that his people didn’t procreate? And still be great?
We keep on the debate on the cracker’s great fate…
the nut-cracker suite, three crackers and a beat
cracking concrete with their feet
in the Highland Park heat
outside the dominant para-diddle,
we battle fiddle-faddle with the beat machine
and the medicine man’s bean rattle
Oom shock-sha-lock-lock
it wasn’t King Arthur put the crack in the rock
it was me and Rafi and Schwee and everybody
who turned the sound around and found a lack of integrity
ooo weee, mommy, oh the humanity!
is there any way to stop the body rock
once it’s on your block?
is there anyway to crack the sidewalk
and knock socks off the monkey that broke your momma’s back talk
cracker jack, cracker jack jack
cracker jacker cracker jacker cracker jack jack
everybody wants what’s in the bottom of the box
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
tell me, who cracked the fire that shocked the body
who cracked the fire that shocked the body
from deep in The Shire, fellowship party
the sticky Ring to bring, I, myself, and me
so beam me up Scotty, it’s smooth like gelati
but you ain’t coming down with that summa cum laude
rabbit holes will teleport you there quick
until you find out it’s an empty schtick
now I carry mad heavy like the ring-bearer Baggins
jones for lox like Gollum, steady naggin’
plumb the depths of my inner Sargasso
and come through the blue like Picasso
and I feel better, so much better
since I lay my burden down
pull the cap off my Pilot, precise rolling ball, extra-fine
navy to baby blue sky-scattered liquid sunshine
from the flower to the tip of my stylus
petal to metal refreshed pause to file this
call it a crutch, or such and such
but my total recall got the Midas touch
green, cream, and blue, my little books soak the stain
external hard drive to analog the brain
on breaks between blazes
I fill my pad’s pages
tune the beat frequency till it’s contagious
and keep my fire engine on call
gleaming clean in its cages
this life is outrageous
I’d rather burn than read about sages
I deepen my breath to stay courageous
like a rocket launch the fire cracks in three stages
pop pop ko ko, coco pop pop
watch the rhythm explode as I blow my top
the pop pop ko ko, coco pop pop
watch the rhythm explode. . .
call me the niche-filler, the ear-thriller
can’t stand the phrase they say it’s killer
I’m the spine-chiller
charging B-fields like a dynamo
plot-thickening, pulse-quickening, second-lining yo
my Prof said he was enraged when I started to teach
thought about his point for months, he didn’t mean to preach
the PhD’s a full-time J-O- as he tried to caution
but it’s too late, my stress is blown out of proportion
ain’t nothin’ like feeling free
so mental shacklectomy
intensify the quest for chi
summon up the vibe and see
there just ain’t nothin’ like feeling free
I nullify anxiety
step into my realm and be
bouncing logarhythmically
gotsta choose carefully which pipes I picks
ditch the crack for the brass and the Selmer Mark VI
either I cook the blow or swing the axe
extend the baseline for fine parallax
out of chaos comes order, but not without mad energy
’cause only locally can I break the law of entropy
my mistakes’– my number one lesson
it’s never too late, it’s still oily like Wesson