Vast Aire - Adversity Strikes
Prepare for another long winded Atoms History 101 novel
This was the 2nd or 3rd joint I ever recorded with Vast (first was Lemmie Atom i believe. He came out to the studio with the rhymes already written and the idea for the intro of the track being the Cannonball Adderley intro sample. While recording the verses he thought of the Organized Konfusion “one plus one get it together” hook/sample combined with sampling himself “swinging at my man but got trapped in the Vast nucleus” from Not For Promo. I had the beat already made before he arrived and then I recorded my vocals for the first “Im from the Atoms Fam” part and we ran through his verses pretty quickly. This was back in 97, maybe 96. First released on Persecution of Hip Hop, then later released and remixed on The Prequel.
Some completely useless uninteresting trivia about the song:
- Vast says the line “… after i meet the track (track meet) and cross the finish line in 4 minutes flat”, so we came up with the stupid idea of making the song exactly 4 minutes long to reference the line to be funny… knowing that no one would ever pick up on that… there are a lot of stupid little inside “jokes” on a lot of these old joints
- Another thing that no one really picked up on was Vast flipping the jeans metaphors “you telling lies wearing gasoline levis, cause man was made to crawl to walk but never to fly (too fly), its in our genes (jeans) Im trying to close the gap (The Gap) that bleeds”
- When it was time to release the song I wanted to re-create the beat to clean up the mix because it was so muddy but the original floppy disc was damaged so I could only work off the HD recorders tracks. I even went so far as trying to locate the original sample from my vinyl stash… a search that to this day has been unsuccessful… im 95% sure its from a soundtrack… and I really originally thought it was the soundtrack to The Dark Crystal… but havent been able to find it in all these years… these were the days where you would just sample shit and use it and not keep track of what you sampled… times have changed
- It was supposed to be released as a single a few years later with a new joint “Adversity Strikes Again” by my label through a distributor that I wont name with the B-side being ”Apology” with Aesop Rock produced by Blockhead… I had the artwork done and was supposed to be blue vinyl and a done deal, but the distributor wound up fronting on it last second… less than a year later Cannibal Ox dropped Cold Vein and Aesop dropped Labor Days… obviously afterwards, the previously mentioned distributor started contacting me about the single again… but it never happened… lesson learned? industry rule# 4081 was clearly about distributors
my favorite lines from this joint:
Put a muzzle on it… Reality Bites
Im a peaceful cat, but I respect beef like a hindu
Must one fail for another to pass?
Said by a wise man watching a fool pull a mule’s ass
and the line that got the most rewinds and LOLs was “I think hard, like Christopher Wallace with a cheeseburger on his mind in his last minutes”
This was definitely the breakout song that got Vast known in the NYC underground scene at the time
anyways thats all… and here is the remix version from The Prequel
—Adversity Struck Cryptic One Remix
Atoms Family - Adversity Struck (Cryptic One Remix) feat. Vast Aire, Jestoneart, Windnbreeze, Alaska, & Cryptic One
Here is another never released Atoms related joint… well kinda unreleased… as usual with any unreleased joints i let out into the world there is a disclaimer: its unmixed, unmastered, and missing some elements of the beat… including 1 major beat change
(be warned…a long story about the origins of this track follows below… and it will be a boring story to anyone but the die hard Atoms Fam fans)
The story of this track is basically this. Me and vast did a song called Adversity Struck (i produced it)… the song just never clicked so it just kind of sat around and we eventually scrapped it
Embedded Records was putting together a compilation at the time and asked Atoms to get on it. They sent us a beat and vast, alaska, wind and jest came through to record over their beat (Vordul was MIA). Vast didnt have a verse ready to go and couldnt get motivated to write a new one that day so he re-used the first verse from Adversity Struck since the song was scrapped
So anyway everyone laid their verses and when it was my turn to record it was mad late and everyone had to bounce. I never felt the beat that the Embedded guys sent us (sorry jesse) so I remixed it just for the sole purpose of having a different beat to spit on… we sent the song to embedded with their beat and they released the compilation Embedded Joints (i think sometime in 2004 maybe 2003)
So with all that said none of us were feeling the song at all so Vast re-vitalized his original song Adversity Struck and re-used that verse again and you can see him recording the song on the Def Jux Documentary with Jestoneart and the final song is on youtube somewhere… (just search for Vast Aire Adversity Struck 9x9)
Anyways… i said all that to say this… i remixed the embedded joint with all of us on it and this is the remixed version… i never released it because frankly the Jestoneart produced Adversity Struck 9x9 version with just Vast is a much better song in my opinion… but im throwing this out there now because i think wind and alaska kill it and its worth hearing those verses over a beat that i feel is better than the original… the original is on youtube too and i cringe every time i hear it (again sorry jesse if you read this, it is what it is homie)
Cannibal Ox - Metal Gear
This was actually the 1st joint that Cann Ox recorded with EL-P… it didnt fit with the rest of the Cold Vein so they wound up leaving it off the album…
side note and rarely spoken of fact is that Vordul freestyled a good portion of this verse (and others). If you listen to the track when he starts with “im too motherfuckin ill” at the 4:01 mark the rest of the song is off the head
This wasnt a rare thing for Vordul, there are a ton of songs it happened on… Ive seen it firsthand so many times where he is spitting a verse and forgets a line or stumbles over a word and just starts freestyling… so when recording sessions with vordul we always just let him go until he would stop because you never knew what gem was going to happen naturally… and a lot of times we would go back and listen to the freestyle part and just wind up using that take instead of the actual verse he wrote…
off the top of my head (pun intended) another song he freestyled on was Atoms All Stars… everything was written until he said “I shine for allah with mad skills” then the rest of the verse was off the head… on the take we wound up using he kept freestyling for a good 3 or 4 minutes… but to keep the length of the song manageable i cut it off at “fly in the sky live pigeon” and echoed out the word pigeon to make it sound like the end of a verse…. somewhere i have the old version where he just raps for 4 minutes straight… gotta dig that up
Thought this was a good article. (link above)
For those not in the know SYFFAL is Tim Baker aka Alaska site and he wrote the article. Alaska of Hangar 18 and Atoms Fam obviously
yoitshim asked: why waasnt windnbreeze on the cannibal ox atom track?
Im pretty sure wind was finishing up school at New Paltz at the time so he wasnt around, but I could be wrong, it was a long time ago. It could of also been that me and Tim (alaska) were just the most active Atoms at the time and we were always around recording, at shows, etc in those days.
For the official “real answer” you would have to ask Vast and Vordul for the reasoning. A lot of the Atoms songs over the years used to just happen because of whoever happened to be around and able to make it to the studio that day, so it might have just been as simple as that, me and Tim happened to be around and answer the phone when we got the call.
stepfatherfactory-deactivated20 asked: When I first heard atom, your verse stood out the most to me. That shit is fucking incredible. No riding intended. Lol
Thanks man… no worries, it isnt riding man, always cool when people are feeling my work… i always liked that verse a lot too but always knew I could have spit it better… it is what it is
Cannibal Ox - Atom ft. Alaska and Cryptic
“Yo, I ain’t superstitious, but these niggas is nice…”
That “Yo I aint superstitious but these niggas is nice…” line was a hat tip to the song we did in 96 or 97 called “Not For Promotional Use” with me, vast and vordul. Technically it was the first recorded song of Cann Ox and originally was released on the double vinyl compilation I put out in ‘98 called “Persecution of Hip Hop”… im sure its on youtube somewhere. I guess you could consider Adversity Strikes as the first true Cann Ox song but it was really a Vast solo song..
The song “Atom” was an interesting recording experience. I wish we had more time to prepare honestly… The Cold Vein was just about finished and Vast and Vordul wanted to get an Atoms track on the album so they called me and Alaska up and we headed to El P’s crib in brooklyn, heard the beat for the first time, and recorded it and bounced. Vordul hadnt even recorded his part yet so it was a pretty sick surprise to get a copy of the final version a few weeks later (Vorduls verse is my favorite on the song)… Alaska came with a verse he already had, and I wrote specifically for the song. It all happened so fast because there were deadlines to hand the album in, but Alaska and I always wished we could have kicked those verses over… it is what it is, and at the time we knew Cold Vein would be pretty big but never foresaw just how big…
Sidenote: just about every lyric site has it wrong and lists Alaska’s verse as mine for some reason… only lyric site that has it right is rapgenius.com because I actually emailed them to correct it
Ambient butterz from the Atoms Fam.
Side note… I made this beat in about 94 or 95… maybe even 93. Originally i rhymed over it, and i scrapped the song… then it wound up in Hangar 18 of Atoms Fams hand and they did a song over it that never got released. A few years later Vast was working on his solo and came through to hear beats. I played this beat accidentally because the ASR-10 disc had a blank label on it and Vast stopped me right there and said “BOOM” and thats the track that wound up as the single and title track.
side note 2: i wasnt really feeling the beat (mainly because it was so old), and was a little upset that I didnt get to play the new tracks I made specifically with Vast in mind. I wound up not mixing the final song (i forget who did the final mix) so the beat sounded different than I originally intended when making it… not complaining at all, just stating the way it was… good times
I remember the day I took this picture. We had just come from a rehearsal space on the west side. Ox was about to go on their first headlining tour if I remember right. We left the spot and walked past this truck that said Oxford Transportation or something and I obviously had to take a picture blocking out the “ford” in oxford.
The pictures were strictly for us at the time, had zero clue that they would eventually end up in magazines and on websites everywhere. The picture was taken sometime in early 2001…. good times