Damn Near Grown

by Defcee

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Damn Near Grown is about adulthood and what you find out--good or bad--about yourself, who and what you love, and the world around you in the process.


released December 14, 2015

Thank you to my parents and brothers, my biggest fans and my first teachers, who have constantly supported and encouraged me to make music, even when it didn't look like I would.

To Kristina, the love of my life, my favorite person, and my rock.

To S.K.I.L., Klassik, Sev Seveer, Saba and Joseph Chilliams and the whole PIVOT GANG, Benjamin Earl Turner (my brother for life), Noname Gypsy, Collasoul Structure and the whole Tomorrow Kings crew (my big brothers), DroP Beats, Rice the Sound Transmitter, MikeWavvs, Shaun "SCP" Peace, goldenbeets, Otis Brown Jones III for lending their considerable talents to this project.

To Lamar "Jus Love" Smith for co-piloting this record and putting his all into making sure it sounds as good as it does. You're a genius!

To Dewey Saunders, Rift Gardiner, and Aris Theotokatos for their help in putting together the cover art.

To my family and friends at home and around the world who I love, who give a lot and ask for nothing in return. I love you back tenfold.

To the Spoken Word Club and Hip-Hop Wing at OPRFHS, Young Chicago Authors, Urban Sandbox, Lyricist Loft, Street Level Youth Media, YouMedia, and First Wave for helping to mold and improve me as a human being and an artist.

To SkighMOB, Tomorrow Kings, Catch Wreck, Future Cult Leaders of America, and Natural Selection for being my family (and I mean FAMILY) through thick and thin.

To Ben, Brent, and the whole crew at These Days for the support this year and posting the premiere.

Free Jimmy. Free Baby G.

Rest in peace to my loved ones who are no longer here. This album and everything after it is for them.

Album mixed and mastered by Lamar "Jus Love" Smith, except for: "Purplewatersugardrank" and "RapperShit," mixed by Saba.
"All of my Heroes Did Dope," mixed by Sev Seveer.

Album cover and design: Dewey Saunders
Cover photo: Rift Gardiner
Shirt: Sense One

All songs recorded by Lamar "Jus Love" Smith, except for:
"Purplewatersugardrank" and "RapperShit," recorded by Saba.
"All of my Heroes Did Dope," recorded by Sev Seveer.
"Legends," recorded by SolarFive and Shaun "SCP" Peace.
"Keep," recorded by Death Juke Studios.
"Sunsets Over Panama," recorded by Owen "Otis" Hill.



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Track Name: Working [produced by S.K.I.L.]
[Verse 1]
I’ve never had to be more with less
so I smile in down times to seesaw the stress.
Keep it movin, ease off regrets,
and hold down the middle like a 3-4 defense.

See, this a game that I lost, all told.
Tried cheatin through it, but I tossed those codes.
Gotta beat it myself, cuz I’m almost grown
and ain’t no shortcuts on this long road home.

I’ve always been a couple sentences from great.
Kiss success up in its face, then resemblin its traits.
Kickin my gut, dog, heavy as an ache.
Got me messin with this bass like I’m stretchin’ it to eighths.

But the only time that I’m peddlin some weight
is if I’m askin all the fans for extensions on a date
that I bless ‘em with this tape. Welcome. Here’s a plate.
Now pardon me as I start two-steppin’ with my fate.

Just another day of bein on (this grind)
I do it to the death of me. Put it on my pedigree,
I’m knowin that my legacy will be (this grind)
I do it for my mama, look up to her and my father
cuz I know how much sleep they lost for (this grind)
That’s finna be me, and when I most need help,
I’ma tell myself about how this, (this may come)
especially when you on (this grind)

[Verse 2]
Up and runnin’ like I’m turnin’ a rickshaw.
cuz this the record I been burnin’ to give y’all.
ever since Muggs started workin’ with Sen Dogg
and Trick Daddy first started cursin’ his lips off.

Eight steps from perfection and eleven from divine.
These words hold me up. They embedded in my spine.
Life’s sweeter than them red peppermints and vines.
Too good for me to even try to measure it in rhyme.

But onstage, I been rhyming while I’m bummy,
focus on the crowd, then I’ll bother with the money.
I’m tryna put my hands around the collars of this country
so I can spend a couple thousand dollars like it’s twenty.

And I’ll be sippin’ from a half-full glass.
Just gettin’ my feet wet like a half-nude bath.
Slow cook gourmet. Ain’t no fast-food swag,
and if you happen to stand in my path? Too bad.


[Verse 3]
This is life as a post-grad.
Eyes getting tight, spending nights with your notepad.
That cold world be draggin you by the coat tag,
sleepin down the hall from wherever your folks at.

Ten toes down, and my loans been due,
but at least it ain’t nobody I owe rent to!
Been stackin and savin and scrimpin on by,
Been up, been down, tryna center this shine..

Got nothing in this world but my happiness and health,
and life’s too short to be rappin’ at myself.
Even if it’s times when I’m madder than I’ve felt,
cuz the plotting and the writing and the planning doesn’t help,

and I’m losin all the feeling that I had when I started,
wondering when the hunger and passion departed,
I remember why I first started putting words to paper.
Rap saved me. I’m just returning the favor.

Track Name: Squares [produced by Klassik]
This is home, where Hip-Hop doesn't mean that you gotta rap.
I know breakers who could hollowback off a bottlecap.
Ain't sayin who's gettin up...but it's a lot of cats.
DJs put scratch into crates to make their dollars back.

Beatbox 'til the horizon snap, and the sky yawns.
Find a rooftop and baptize it with Krylon.
Duck into the darkness until the fives gone
then find a high-rise to make your name to style on.

We bumpin nothin but these Twista and Tribe songs.
Old folks tellin us we spendin our lives wrong.
We ride with it. Defy 'em with fly fitteds,
and midnight studio visits as soon as the rhyme's finished.

But some of our parents love that we got a hobby
and stay whippin' our fare cards like they Maseratis.
Flippin off the tourists wavin at us from the trolleys.
Talkin in slang I always tried to copy. Yo, cop me some....

HOOK: And I’m back like...whadown, jo?
Ayyo, Adam, why don't you ever come round more?
Know you get love soon as you touch down, so
forget college. What you wanna cut out for?
This is home.

Hook (x2)

This the home of proud parenting, flicks until the mantles thick,
cuz you don't know when death comes or how to handle it.
When friends turn into vigils, pictures, and candlesticks,
we write em gorgeous epitaphs on abandoned brick.

Campaign ‘til they’ve shown us worth.
Tag ‘til the veins of our throw-ups burst.
Crash of the waves that these shores crush first.
Handmade prayers from a storefront church.

Put it all on God, on my mama, on chief.
At a graveside, pictures of the fallen on wreaths.
Short cash, long week, long shelves, short eats,
Short words, long reach, long silence, short peace.

And I ain't even from here...like the guns here.
Like the planes and the trains and the drugs here.
I'm just a suburbanite who used to come here
Cuz the only home that I felt love was here.

Hook (x4)