Welcome to Topeka High, the newest release by our friend Mike Schpitz, who we’ve featured on previous ocassions with works like Spring Cleaning (300k downloads), Sunday Skool, and Paid Time Off (45k downloads)
On this ocassion, Mike has written a story about each one of the tracks in the album, and he has transcribed all the lyrics for FrostWire users. If your music player supports reading the lyrics off of the mp3s you will be able to see the lyrics right on your player. If not, we’ve included a folder “lyrics” in the .torrent that has all the lyrics for you to read/rap along the album and get a much better feel of Mike’s talent and where his mind is in the game at this stage of his life, as always, elvolving, growing and getting better with each work.
01. Riding High (produced by ThatKidMyself)
The first full song I ever wrote was called Riding High and it was a beat that my brother, Tyler Jones aka DJ Tanner made back in college when we first figured out how to sample using Fruityloops. The original track is FazeO’s Riding High and Rappin’ 4Tay used it at one poin and actually a lot of people have used this same sample. Once I came up with the album title and direction, I had to start the album this way to bring my whole musical journey full circle. The original song is just an incredible record, so we didn’t do much to the beat. Lucas aka ThatKidMyself and I just picked our favorite parts and added a couple sounds to the original for the intro. I never imagined that I would go back to the first song I ever wrote and it would be the perfect intro to my album but it just fit perfectly.
02. City Council featuring Stik Figa and Pedro Bizz Juanjulio (produced by SlotA).
The funny thing about this record is that it started off with Stik and I just messing around in The Blap Cave with some beats that my guy SlotA had sent. Stik was in Chicago for a few days and Slot sent us some beats to record too. We actually recorded hooks for two records and this was one of those records. After I added a verse and some layers to the hook and bridge, we decided to send the record to Bizzy. When I got his verse back, I knew I had to finish the record and put it out. Bizzy and Stik are two of the most talented and wellknown emcees out of Topeka and it felt like with us three on a record, we were the city’s City Council. It is was real cool for me to bridge my two music worlds, Topeka and Chicago, by getting two of my favorite emcees on a record by one of my favorite producers.
03. Schpitz!!!. (producedbyMaja7th)
I always wanted to make the Mike Schpitz theme song and I came close a few times but with this record, I feel like I actually made it happen. Maja 7th is another one of my favorite producers to work with. He has a great knack for picking the right records for the right artists. When he sent me this beat, I knew exactly what to do with it. I actually wrote this whole song on the train and bus to work one day. I was texting Maja the whole time like “Bro!!!!! This is my theme music. I finally got my theme song!” This was the first beat Maja sent me for the album too, so it was crazy that he knew exactly what I needed. For those of you who don’t know who Maja 7th is, just google him.
04. Gandalf (produced by Maja 7th).
This was one of the easiest records to write on the album. After Maja moved back to the Chicago area from DC, he came by my studio one day and we were listening to beats. As soon as he told me the name of this beat and played the record, I wrote the hook on the spot. After getting the hook down, I knocked out the verses pretty quick and both Maja and I loved the song. We have an insane idea for a video too, so hopefully we can bring that idea to life.
05. Respect My Mind (produced by SlotA).
SlotA and I originally met back in 2008 and have been very close collaborators and friends ever since. There are a couple people who I give a ton of credit to for my musical evolution and Slot is perhaps the most important person in that journey. We tend to make the best music together whenever we are in the same room, creating something from scratch. During this particular session, Slot created this beat that had kind of a reggae vibe and the hook just was stuck in my head. If you aren’t a Hot Boys and Cash Money fan, the hook is actually from track 3 on Guerrilla Warfare. The way Wayne’s verse started the song has always been so dope to me. I’m not sure why this particular hook fit with this beat but when I was singing it over the beat, it just felt right. It took me a long time to finally finish the last verse for this song but it ended up being one of my favorite records on the album.
06. What You Say? (produced by ThatKidMyself).
Perhaps the most important person to the creation of this album is my guy Lucas aka ThatKidMyself. Lucas and I actually met back in college at the University of Kansas in my garage during a freestyle session. We linked up a bunch of times after that and even recorded a few songs in college. When I moved to Chicago in 2007 and told Lucas that I was working in Evanston, he let me know that he born and raised there and lived a couple blocks away from where I worked. Fast forward several years, Lucas was really pushing me and my guy Pete Sayke to make more music. He was sending us tons of beats and just constantly encouraging us to write and record as much as possible. This track was made on the spot at my studio and kind of like Gandalf, I wrote the hook on the spot. My favorite part of making music is that energy that certain sessions create and this song was one of those moments that just came so naturally.
07. Got It Like That featuring adullessence (produced by DQue).
During the whole creation of the album, I have been trying to get my guy Tony aka adullessence on a track. I had sent him several of the songs on the album but he never recorded anything. Finally after damn near a year of trying, he recorded a verse to this record and sent it back. I love how this record came together because it kind of reminds me of the earlier days when Tony and I made Love Potion Number 9th and Life In Surround Sound. The vibe of this record just fit perfectly with our styles and flow. Another cool thing about this record is that DQue and I had been trying to make some songs for a while but nothing ever stuck. We recorded on other track but I’m glad this one turned out how it did and made the album.
08. Keep It On The Low (produced by ThatKidMyself).
During one of me and Lucas’s sessions, he played this remix he did for Rhymefest and Kanye’s joint Brand New. The beat was so dope and had just this real cool vibe to it. He let me take the beat home and I wrote three different hooks in the car on the way home. When I recorded them, it just felt right to use all three and have this song be kind of an interlude type record but add a verse to it. When Briana came by to lay vocals for Still High, I asked her to add some layers to this record as well and it just made it sound even cooler. I thought this was a nice transitional record for the album to kind of change vibes and directions of the music.
09. Skies Are Low (produced by ThatKidMyself).
This song actually came out of the same session as Keep It On The Low. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t separate the two, so it felt right to put them together on the album. Lucas was actually making this beat when I got to his house for a session and I loved the swing and the sample. I really love the way this record ends too. I was on the fence about putting it on the album but when I played the demo version for my brother, he said he loved it, so I had to put it on here.
10. Only Ones (produced by ILL Brown).
I’ve ever written. ILL Brown had sent me a few beats for the album to listen to and one night, I was in the Blap Cave and I played this one and the vibe was so perfect. I wrote the hook and a verse on the spot and recorded it that night. After I finished the demo version, I sat in the car in my driveway, listening to this song over and over. The piano on this song and the just the vibe of the record is perfect. I originally wanted to get adullessence and Stik Figa on this song because we used to be a crew called The Only Ones aka The O’s but it just felt right to be a solo track. Stik gave me the idea of starting the verse “First the Only Ones break up, now every day I wake up,” and flip the JayZ verse from Heart of the City. This is a really personal record that is really like me talking to myself. ILL Brown records are always so rich and soulful, so this song was really written from the heart. Thanks ILL!!!
11. Town Up featuring Fresh and Andy $av (produced by ILL Brown).
For whatever reason, the ILL Brown beats that I wrote to for this album are all very soulful and reflective. His sound is just so soulful and rich, he can bring bring feelings and emotions to life. I had heard this beat a few times before I wrote the hook but once I recorded it, I thought it would be a perfect nighttime vibe record to get a couple of my favorite Topeka emcees on. I sent it to my guy Andy $av first, who is a young cat from Topeka who has been releasing really awesome music. After hearing his verse, I knew I had to complete this record. I hit up my guy Fresh from The Skeptics, who are a really talented group of guys from Topeka as well, to really make this a Topeka record. Both Fresh and $av gave me dope verse, each with a different vibe that fit the direction of the song perfectly.
12. Halo (produced by ThatKidMyself).
Halo is actually the first song I finished for the album. We released it early last year because I just loved the song immediately when I finished it. Lucas played this beat during a session with me and Pete Sayke and the hook just came to me. I wrote this song before my wife got pregnant with our second child but we had been talking about trying to have another one. At the time too, we both were really hoping for a girl, so that is why the second verse ends with “so when my daughter shows her gorgeous face, I know we’re straight/ the second time’s just as beautiful…” About 10 or 11 months later, my second song, Camden Conner Jones was born. Sorry Cam!!!
13. Still High featuring Briana (produced by ILL Brown).
This was another one of the first songs that I actually finished for the album. For whatever reason, the beat reminded me of high school. I wrote the first verse randomly one day but it fit really well on this beat, especially after I recorded the hook. The second verse I actually didn’t write to this beat either but it fit really well too. Since my singing skills are very subpar, I knew I had to get someone who could make the hook sound even better, so Briana came through, added her touch and really gave the song a facelift. The other person on the song is my son Dexter, who loves to just hear his voice being played back, so one day I just recorded him saying random stuff, chopped it up and put it on the beat and it sounded awesome. After we finished the song, I would play it for him in the car over and over. He really only wanted to hear his part though. One day, he will know that his first song ever recorded was Still High on daddy’s album Topeka, High.
14. So High (produced by LONEgevity).
LONEgevity’s house in Indianapolis a couple years ago. Our plan was to do a whole album and we actually started like 10 or 11 records that weekend. I never wrote anything to this beat but I loved it, so I had to use it for something. I just love the Mary J. Blige
sample in there. LONEgevity is another one of my favorite producers and really just an
all around talented guy.
15. Can’t Touch Me featuring Panama (produced by ThatKidMyself).
The music world is a funny thing. I never considered myself to really be a part of the music industry because I always had a full time job and never made much money but early on when I started releasing music, I met this cat Panama through myspace. Myspace was actually an incredible tool for meeting other artists and fans. Some of my favorite people who I have worked with, I met through myspace. Panama was actually on my favorite TV show ever, The Wire. He played the bully who beat up Bubbles. He also made music and I thought he was dope. He became cool but never made a record together. Finally last year, we made it happen and he sent me a really dope verse for this track. Once I heard his verse, I knew I had to make this song even better. After Lucas adding the finishing touches to the beat, the song turned out to be crazy.
16. Animal House (produced by !IllMind).
I can’t pretend to claim that I really collaborated with !llmind on this record but one day on Twitter, I saw him posting that he was leasing beats for pretty cheap and that artists could buy one, record a song and send it to him. It was cool too because he said we could put it out, use his name and even put it on a project. Every beat he was leasing on his site that day were crazy and I almost bought 3 or 4. This song turned out crazy though! I sent it to him but I’m not sure if he ever heard it or if he did, if he fucked with it but I loved how it turned out.
17. On Top featuring Pete Sayke and Fuelo (produced by LONEgevity).
This record actually was started during the session in Indianapolis at LONE’s house but it was over a completely different beat. I had Pete and Fuelo each record a verse to it but when I sent LONEgevity the beat, he completely flipped it and it sounded even crazier. This is another proud moment for me because I was able to bring three different cats together on one record. Pete and LONE have collaborated many times but I wanted to get my guy Fuelo, who is from Topeka, on a record too. One of my goals has always been to link talented people, especially from Topeka with some of my guys in Chicago, so this record is a cool moment for me. I know people assume a place like Topeka has no hip hop scene and probably no talent, so I love getting the chance to surprise people.
18. The Illest featuring DreDai (produced by LONEgevity).
One of my favorite emcees to collab with is my guy DreDai from Texas. We have worked a lot together over the years and have become good friends in the process. This track was another one from my session in Indianapolis with LONEgevity and with the screwed up sample, there was only one person I could get for this record. DreDai has a really unique ability to be able to rhyme on any type of record and sound good but a song like this is definitely a sweet spot. It was also cool how LONE and I got a Biggie sample and a Lil Keke sample to mesh on the same hook. I love how it came together.
01. Ridin’ High Intro (produced by ThatKidMyself)
02. City Council (produced by Slot-A)
03. Schpitz!!! (produced by Maja 7th)
04. Gandalf (produced by Maja 7th)
05. Respect My Mind (produced by Slot-A)
06. What You Say? (produced by ThatKidMyself)
07. Got It Like That (produced by D-Que)
08. Keep It On The Low (produced by ThatKidMyself)
09. Skies are Low (produced by ThatKidMyself)
10. Only Ones (produced by ILL Brown)
11. Town Up (produced by ILL Brown)
12. Halo (produced by ThatKidMyself)
13. Still High (produced by ILL Brown)
14. So High Outro (produced by LONEgevity)
15. Can’t Touch Me (produced by ThatKidMyself)
16. Animal House (produced by !Ilmind)
17. On Top (produced by LONEgevity)
18. The Illest (produced by LONEgevity)
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