Sivion’s 2006 Spring of the Songbird LP gets lots of play to this very day at BavuBlogs headquarters, and even in our Accord and Camry. It’s that banging soulful Hip Hop style popularized by groups like Slum Village, Common and Strange Fruit Project.
Sivion, who studied architecture at the University of Miami, has personalized the genre through his presence on the Dallas underground scene by adding two unique elements — his saxophone skills and his embrace of the Christian gospel. But he’s not the guy who only raps at churches, more like a man of the people.
I did a show with him around 2005 at the Gypsy Tea Room in Dallas, and have kept up with his music ever since. And even though I have three Sivion CD’s and a cassette of he and his twin brother’s old group, Phat Kats, something about the Spring of the Songbird LP stuck to my ribs.
This album has endured, and there’s always been something special about the song So Perfect produced by the ARE. I was playing it as I typed this, and my wife said “what song is that again? I like that one.”
[ click the words “So Perfect” above to read the lyrics ]
B: I love the track, and I definitely understand the “seven ways to love you” concept based on the seven-bar musical sequence. With that said, what are you addressing in the hook?
S: Actually the song’s about being perfect in Christ. Seven is the number of completion, due to the seven days of creation. So, “you think you’re so perfect, so complete? Well I have seven ways to love you.” There’s a “perfect” and “complete” that’s better than what we think fits those categories in our daily lives. I’m striving for God’s level of perfection, which to man would look like flawed imperfect organic produce! [laughter]
The seven-bar loop on the track inspired the whole thing. When I finally counted the bars I was like HOW SICK IS THAT?!?! Praise Him…..all day! [smiles]
B: So the chorus speaks directly to anyone who’s listening to the song?
S: It could be for those listening, or it could be directed at people who think they have all the answers in and of themselves. The idea is that no matter where you are in life, God’s grace creates a perfection greater than what you think you already have. That’s really all. No deep hidden meanings. Just simple faith in who’s really runnin’ thangs! Haha…
B: Makes sense, and perhaps listening to it in rap song form makes it seem a bit deeper. So are the “seven ways to love you” anything specific, or just a poetic way of saying “God’s perfect love”?
S: I think we as humans try to make things out to be deeper or more complex than they really are [d’oh!]. The “seven ways to love you” are just as you said, a metaphor for God’s perfect unwavering love for us. God speaks in simple truths and as I get older I’m trying to equally simplify my life and the way I communicate with others. Easier said than done, though.
B: Easier said than done, but worth the effort. This is one of my favorite beats by The ARE but i always felt like the cymbal crashes sound weak in the mix for some reason.
S: Well, I think the cymbal crashes are part of the sample, so there wasn’t much that could be done to bring them out. But all in all, I agree, this beat is really fresh. I fell in love with it immediately. The ARE really came with it on both tracks he did. This one and The Spring Show.
B: So glad you mentioned that, because the Spring Show intro is a great burst of energy that sets a proper expectation for the rest of the project. On the new Butterfly Sessions project, did you intentionally duplicate that energy on Here We Go?
S: Haha. That must have been God’s doing. Here We Go just sounds like a “jump-off” joint. So I put it first. Dert’s a beast on the boards, so I tried to go beastly on the raps, which isn’t my normal steez [style]. I remember the reviews when the single dropped. Cats were like, “Sivion’s attacking’ the mic like he’s been dying to spit that verse for years!”. [loud laughter]
B: Those two are parallel to me, in a really good way. So don’t let us down on your next project!
Changing topics a bit, what comes to mind when you hear/read the four words, 12 letters HipHopGrewUp?
S: I won’t let you down on the next project, because The ARE’s setting that one off too. Word up.
But in regards to the phrase, HipHopGrewUp — to me that means Hip Hop matured a bit, in content and age. All of the cats that were old enough to enjoy Hip Hop’s golden era from about ’91-’96 are getting old now. Hip Hop will never be the same now that the almighty dollar has taken the place once occupied by the heart. Hip Hop used to be considered a fad that would pass, and one that would only apply to the youth. But that’s not the case. As those golden era peeps grow older, they’re taking that good music with them. And it’s a beautiful thing.
B: That answer was So Perfect. Thanks for your time, and we’ll catch up later (dap)