In the Michael Gondry film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, protagonist Joel Barish (played by Jim Carrey) aims to have all memories of his ex-girlfriend, Clementine (played by Kate Winslet), completely erased from his brain. The company that implements this cutting-edge treatment is called Lacuna, Inc. The word “lacuna” has multiple definitions, according to Merriam-Webster: “an unfilled space or interval; a gap; a missing portion in a book or manuscript; a cavity or depression, especially in bone.”
The new album from rapper Defcee and producer knowsthetime--the fourth in a series of collaborations between the two released in 2019, two of which were released alongside rapper CRASHprez as the trio defprez--is named Lacuna. It addresses material that Defcee has hinted at but never explored, those memories he wants to discard, but still return to him. There’s the hometown where he was raised (“Pleasantville II” and “Pleasantville III”); the party-going kids with whom he grew up, some of whom now fully within the grip of addiction (“Memoirs,” the perspective-shifting “The Poor Little Rich / devil n me,” where Def raps from his own point-of-view and that of one of his peers); the awkward break-up (“Simp (But Of Course)”); Adderall prescriptions and the process of weaning himself off of them (“25mg”); and the deaths of friends that continue to haunt him (“awakeinthemourning”). For everything else, there’s even “A List of What I Want to Forget the Most.”
This album is Defcee confronting his past, openly and honestly, for the first time in his music. It’s a difficult twenty-four minutes that still rewards repeat listening and deep dives into the lyrics. It’s Defcee’s finest work thus far, one that could only have happened with knowsthetime behind the boards.
released December 1, 2019
All songs written by I. Carroll and A. Levin, except for "I'm Rewinding It," written by I. Carroll, and “Pleasantville III,” written by A. Levin and A. Sigel-Bruse.
All songs produced by knowsthetime, except for “Pleasantville III,” produced by BoatHouse.
All songs recorded, mixed, and mastered by knowsthetime.
I was born in the lap of their luxury: average house, four hundred Gs.
Mid-two-thou’, they were pumpin Ps, whip it to the city every couple weeks.
Scrips, capsules, dubs, and keys just to cop some dunks and E.
Used to be the man where the functions be; they’d come through drunk, cuff, and leave.
But nothin will addict ya quicker than the cash can,
so rich cats still pitched bags like the trash man.
Made every single delivery in they dad's van.
Invest in cess in pursuit of that last band.
Skunk in they Lac at all times. Truth is your block didn't matter on mine.
Snakes in the grass that’d tattle on time. Only type of love was the catalogue kind.
Analogue lies from a digital mouth. “Don’t tell your moms what we did in her house,
but your daddy don’t care. Move the mattress right there, but remember right after I finish I’m out.”
It was Mrs. Cleaver, Ward, and Beaver. All of 'em were secret keepers,
Heard a teacher [redacted]; ruthless how he'd meet and leave her.
Bass in trunks, speak through tweeters, bathroom stalls heating cheaters,
Po-po stalkin', beat the geekers walkin' near their tweener nieces.
Treat the beaches like it's a personal clubhouse.
Love droughts. Flippin' off the cops with they drugs out.
Bud stouts, cans of Guinness, prepaid cellies handle business,
Daddy's lawyer brand em witless, slander heavyhanded witness.
Cop it, snort it, shoot it, sell it, losin' all they brain cells
Had to do it or they weren’t movin like chain mail.
Ain't hell, but it ain't heaven. Never seen a 187,
but I have seen a man die running through the streets on his last high.
Track Name: simp. (but of course)
I don’t like talking about love a lot, but…I been in love a lot.
Been on bathroom floors talking to the bottom slat
Of a wooden door after I been slugging Schnapps, like
“I met a lady and she sounds like butterscotch.”
Keeps nothing locked, secret kinda lover’s rock.
In the shade of her grace, swear the sun’ll rot,
and the moon’ll play her birthday at the numbers spot
cuz her vanity’s my Apollonia, crying dove or not.
Tell NOLA she could make the bayou pin a hurricane.
Tell the world she could make Atlas give the earth away.
She’s the best way to go bad.
Her handwriting would look so pretty on my toe tag.
She makes my name ache, and my voice die.
She makes my lips move, and my pulse sigh.
Her palm reads, “Loving me is a field of broken glass.”
I wanna run a forty-yard dash.
Do I love her? Do I? Do I not?
(But of course...yahmean...but of course...yahmean)
Simp simp simp simp simp
simp simp simp, simp simp simp simp simp simp simp
Love song twenty-eight. Voodoo potion number forty-nine.
Got me drunk and picking forbidden knowledge off the vine.
Tryna get even, but ain’t no country for Eden
so when her eyes fell apart on my chest, I was dreaming of leaving.
She a light sleeper. My feet are heavy thunder.
I’m fawnin’ in the wrong places. She a steady hunter.
I got hands like I’m nervin and she got hands like a surgeon.
I got blood like a wafer. She got me looking for her in churches.
The father and the son. Spirit unholied in her name.
When I’m happy, she prototype. When I’m mad, she one in the same,
but turn my heart to stone? Simps never have that option.
Leave her all alone? Pimps never have that problem.
I see art in her flaws, she see me shapeless in cheap clothes.
and try her hand at sculpting marble from both of my cheekbones
but ain't my face a painting? Ain't anger better than love?
Ain't addiction crazy? Ain't she a helluva drug?
Track Name: memoirs. (forty iv)
I made an escape tunnel outta paper
Back when my classmates were getting higher than Taylor…
Gang. Experimentin with crack cocaine,
Held back a grade lookin older than their age.
Some of my heroes did dooooooooope…
Some of em did time. Some of em did both.
Some of em put coats on my back like cloaks
And sent me back to my parents’ crib smellin like smoke.
Laughin like a jackal, puffin on that killer kill,
but broke down Pac lyrics like villanelles.
That white girl had em thinner than sickle cells,
And ceckin through their pockets like it was prison mail.
They tried to bring God to my house
Like they were W.D. Fard in the South,
But I was too atheist to be self-righteous,
Somewhere between a cure and another virus.
Not a pimp, just had blood on my wingtip.
A bird that flew crooked--I made the sky my quilt.
Said a lot that most of these dudes wouldn’t.
Nothing to fall back on. I burned a few cushions.
Yeah, it’s ten years later...and I’m still trippin.
Been the same since “Ridin Dirty” and “Still Tippin.”
Under construction--this the sound of the drill clickin.
I can’t stand the rain, and my sill drippin.
I can’t tell you how close I was to killswitchin.
Broke in college, Ramen cookin and pill pitchin.
Church taggin, plate robbin, and till strippin,
But my spine didn’t break...cuz my will didn’t.
When the drugs was just pillows for the pain,
Head on my neck like a willow in the rain.
Class skipped, room dark, wiltin in the shade,
Music so loud it knocked windows from their panes.
Felt like Ali throwin his medal in the river
Cuz I won when I ain’t want it, but I never been a quitter.
I’m a composite sketch of all of my lost battles.
Bruises on my face. Throwin hands with my long shadow.
Crooked eyes over the wrinkles that’s in my button-up.
Suckin in my gut, and thinkin about a tummy tuck,
But everything I want’s in my palm like a touchscreen.
I’m godbody, man--planets in my bloodstream.
Track Name: the poor little rich / devil n me.
[Verse 1: me]
Still tippin’ on 44s, draped in four Vogues.
Lookin’ like Drake in photos after tryna take eight Nodos.
They uh toast my tape with Solos, over couple crepes in Soho,
or rollin’ up grapes in lolos, whippin’ up eighths of Sno Cones.
Mr. Popularity, cop kicks of croc as therapy.
Clip the crop, twist the top, lit and popped for clarity.
Spliff of broken flowers. Burning tiger lily petals.
Ice and hail all in his beard and they shinin white as devils.
Idle hands hittin’ all the tacks up in that crystal stair
so he be poppin’ percocet pretending that they isn’t there.
Escapism’s contagious, catch a case of exi-stasis,
most of us uh never make it past them first eleven stages.
The only time he recover is when he backslide,
and the clouds all on his clothes will dwarf him like a crack high.
What he remember? Selective. His regrets are not addictive.
Off an ounce of outer space and a quad of quantum physics.
[Verse 2: him, then]
No more parties in River Forest.
Let the dope dealer smoke and chill until he bored us.
We put the “gorge” in gorgeous.
Knocked out and woke up halfway to a diploma.
Kush comas and hemp cures.
Palms of popped pills. Mouthfuls of left turns.
I’m dancing on the ceiling with a chandelier.
I took my first bump in a Chevy Cavalier.
And we used to call Adam weird,
Until we blacked out and came back with Adam’s beard.
Could steam a kettle with his burning ears.
Three weeks indoors, I’m keeping all my curtains clear.
Ritalin got me feelin like Thomas Edison. No man’s
an island but I been colonized by my medicine.
Opened Pandora’s box and let the devil in.
Opened Pandora’s box and let the devil in.
Henny spillin out the reels in my brain.
Got my head spinnin like an old 45.
I drank myself half-dead all weekend,
and told my friends I never felt more alive.
[Verse 3: him, now]
Off to see the devil. I'ma give em what he wants.
Robert Johnson of the block. Trade my music for a nod.
Charlie Parker: part the water then I slip into mirage
cuz I feel a little better when sittin in a facade.
Fistful of dollars. Spaghetti Westerns in my head.
The high make em quiet like a blessing for the dead.
But I'm haunted on the train by the sound of my veins cryin.
Hungry for the liquid remains of that same silence.
([REDACTED], WHAT YOU LOOKING AT) Switch. I'm a pussycat.
Click. I just shiver for fixes under my hoodie scraps.
Girl: I would murder everyone I saw without you.
I'm only too proud to beg with my mouth full.
And I ain't eaten since I woke up. I'm coming to see you,
My arms famished, and screaming for that rush it bleeds to
Feed through. I love you like ten fingers
When they’re wrapped around a needle
Track Name: 25mg.
If people didn’t remind me what I was like between
the ages of ten and nineteen,
I wouldn’t remember it. These raps is scrapbooks of what the medicine left to me. Mosaics of memories.
Head full of white noise and run-on sentences.
Boiling over in conversations of kettle hiss
and awkward silences. Hear the tension drip
slightly behind schedule to the rhythm of metal clicks
of my train of thought switchin tracks.
Forgot what I was sayin as I said it, and my friends had to spit it back.
Those pills ain’t help me focus.
Got suicidal when I was dopesick. Talkin like my throat slit. Palms sweaty, dose lit me like a coke hit.
Came down and told my moms I was better off pulseless. She’d cry, and I wouldn’t feel it.
Leave her weeping by herself, echoing off the paintings in the house.
Came home cottonmouthed, last bit of empathy crawlin out.
The family tapestry is braided with pills.
Man, my bloodline’s crazy for real.
All this medicine taken just to get CLOSE to how capable feels,
so that we never collapse under the weight of our bills.
Working at being happy’s like puttin blades through a shield.
Suicide letter rough drafts, changin the date on my will.
Taking the homies’ concerned looks like nails to the heel.
The brain a biohazard. My expression wearin the seal.
Angels takin the wheel. Demons giving advice.
Knuckles fat from breakin down and then rebuildin my life.
So calm and levelheaded, friends would never suspect
til the day that they saw the shadow of a belt on my neck.
I had moms prayin in her nightmares,
wakin up with wet eyes rushin to my room makin sure I was still right there
with a chest full of tight air. She gave me the world,
and I was too sick to give anything back except for white hair.
They told me it was medicine in this bag, but I know I [“got speed”]
Accepted my burden then I shoulder pressed it.
Know the ledges well I walk heel to toe against em.
Decoded what I used to quote, and it's coated in codependence.
Way before I had started rhyming, I wrote this ending.
My broken edges unraveling in the smoking session.
These bottles were loaded weapons, but I’m over threatening
I used to eat dope for breakfast and skip my lunches.
My eyes vacant--each day was a different nothing.
Losin weight on my diet of limitless pills.
In the mirror dipping the reel, fishing for feels,
In the kitchen rinsing the gills, sizzlin kills.
Three-star Michelin meals, written to fill
Riding lightening outta sunspot til my lungs locked.
Walgreens for the drug drop, pulse hit the uprock
With my mother's scrips wrinkled in my other fist
Took another fix like a ton of bricks, even when I wasn't sick
Track Name: awakeinthemourning.
Heard my dead friend’s voice in my head, saying,
“Get me out this box, man! I didn’t mean it!” The check came.
Snapped back to where I was. It’s bugged:
Recovery’s a broken vein I’d been tryna flood with buzz.
Anything to distract me from the memories that led me here.
My last four years were fed to fear.
Call a name. Empty beers. Throw up smoke and “remember when”s.
Heard the song by Clef and them still waiting til November ends.
These bars are just parking spaces for grief, and
Every song’s a quarter in the meter I crank in and leave.
Camouflaging sadness with smiles to break the fatigue.
I’m dropping hooks in these rhymes. I’m sharkbait in my dreams.
Life without my homie’s an instrumental when bass isn’t there,
So jogging my memory’s like running blades through my hair.
I got grays in my beard. I got graves in my square.
When I pick shells off the ground, they don’t put waves in my ear.
Track Name: a list of what i want to forget the most.
Pullin teeth from my ribs.
Crow beaks on my bib.
The police sellin sleep by my crib.
Smellin wreaths in the wind.
Hen and grease in my grin.
Twisted trees in my Tims.
Withered wings in my back.
Fightin off a seven-nation army with a sling full of tacks.
Riots in my dreams when I nap.
Fires in the mirror. Smoke sweeps through the cracks.
When it feels like the pain disappears.
Cryin on the pamphlet til his name is a smear.
How my eyes feel ashamed when they’re clear.
At a wake every year, crystal breaks in my beard.
Cemetery dirt on my shoes.
Hella purp in the pews.
When we’re hurt, it’s perfume.
This hex in my head, on my heart.
Feelin like I been the real cousin of death from the start.
Corvus visited me in a dream, and had a half-moon face.
Said, “Life’s a math class, and heaven’s a bathroom break.”
I said, “Wait…did I do enough?”
Snapped awake, and the question still chewed me up.
Flinch when I hear police sirens,
or calls from numbers I haven’t heard from in a while make me freeze, silent.
Who’s gonna save my solar system? Planets in its orbit
keep dyin, people buyin spaceships to speed by em.
Track Name: i'm rewinding it.
Track Name: pleasantville iii.
Doodling crucifixes on prescription pads.
High enough to touch God. Religion in these miligrams.
Witchdoctor sinnerman, but his scriptures will heal a man.
Keep the devil outcha mind. Life pretty as a pentagram.
Land of the quick fix. Handful of amethyst bits. Get you your amulet fix.
What matter to you turn to cannibal food. Your errands is errant off rip.
Hint: “brother” is nothin but a name sometimes. That’s what I learned
in a land full of shrubs and handfuls of herb,
Where you can never tell if somebody handin you shatter or sherm
Where Whiteboy got his cash back after they raided his shooters and yay.
Meanwhile, my friend from the West Side in county tryna not catch him a fade.
Whiteness, supremacy, rage. Killin your idols, bless the remains.
Litter excuses. Pickin and choosin what we remember from back in the day.
You know...that Lacuna.
I watched these kids livin out their best years on computers.
People askin me the difference tween the dirt in the city and the burbs,
and really it’s just the distance from the front door to the curb.
I thought I was Pusha T: fitted straight with crooked teeth.
Adderall was bully feet: all the pounds it took to eat.
I thought I was Method Man...on my father’s dental plan.
Cures for my attention span aching in my head and hands.
I thought I was Beanie Sigel. Finger guns were desert eagles.
Rap game said, “We didn’t need you, false messiah: Jim Caviezel.”
I thought I was DMX. In therapy, releasin stress.
Had everything I’d need to get, my hairline packed with beads of sweat.
Never who I thought I was--just ADHD off the drugs.
Kids around me called my bluff: “Adam, you are NOT that tough.”
White as Hell, but fronted, though. Bought throwbacks with my mother’s dough.
Battle raps and stunted flows. I don’t miss my younger pose,
My face was off, my anger on. Closet full of Shady clothes.
All the spots I paid to go. Hated when I made it home,
Cuz where I’m from it’s white and whiter. Liquor cabinets. Swipin lighters
Like our problem’s higher prices. Stay-at-homes and 9-to-5ers.
whole thing slaps. Definitely don’t sound like anyone I listen to🤷🏻♂️ Babylon Bounce easily my favorite shit is fyyye. Nerve and Die Anyway soo good man. “You a glitch I’m a matrix” blew my mind.
Beats on point, lyrics and wordplay goes crazy, I fw it👏🏼 wali ali