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Train of Thought: Skyzoo “Designer Drugs”

Ever since first emerging on the scene, Skyzoo has been a lyrical wizard. The Brooklyn MC uses intricate metaphors and complex wordplay to make his boasts and paint streetcorner tales. He continued with that trend on the recently released mixtape The Great Debater (which dropped last week and can be downloaded for free here). Though there were multiple verses deserving of a further breakdown, here, Sky picks apart the first verse from “Designer Drugs” (which you can listen to and read along below). —Adam Fleischer

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“OK, this is like designer drugs, hook em off the leak/Got ‘em tripping like they finding love, look for all you need/I was listening to how they pump, push that off and leave/That’s my entrance baby, line ‘em up/This shit got me right above, echelon gated/I was different than expected so I helped ‘em long the way/And they was itching for a exit and I helped ‘em long the way/And the top said they could eye it, they ain’t guess or have to weigh it/Said they knew that like initially, skeptical to christen me/Know I’m Kemba fitted and the letters where the difference be/Know I’m Kemba fitted and the letters where the difference be/Said it twice, so maybe on the second you can picture me/Perfectly aligned on the dolo, the singular/Tryna rub shoulders but they shoulders by my knees/I was shouldering the lead on the dolo, the singular/Posted by the stall, what you need?/You load up on your sleeve, on the low like” So why the title “Designer Drugs”?
Skyzoo: The whole thing with designer drugs—you know in the drug world, you have your street drugs, like you have your crack, and your heroin, weed, whatever, and then designer drugs are your coke, your ecstacy, your acid, expensive drugs. Upper East Side drugs. Just puttin’ it in a metaphorical sense, I feel like what I do is like designer drugs. You got these other guys that make that whatever, and make the cheap shit. Five, ten dollar shit. My shit is a little more exquisite. It’s harder to get.

In the first line, you talk about getting people hooked. You try to hook people off a song leak?
Yeah, it’s like that, but also when they get a taste, you know what I mean—

Right. That’s the drug metaphor basically? When they get a taste?
Exactly. It’s like, when people get addicted to drugs, it’s like a love. You know what I mean, it’s like they fall in love. That’s literally what the addiction is like, you know, for people who are addicted to narcotics or alcohol, or anything like that. It’s a love, and that’s why, you know, you do whatever for it. That’s why people give up house and homes, kids, jobs, you know what I mean, because it’s a love. Like they’re in love with that feeling. So it’s like “hook em off the leak/got ‘em trippin’ like they findin’ love.” It’s like they stay in love with it. Like they’re hooked, you know.

So you listened to how others “pump,” and then you swooped in. What made this a good time for your “entrance”?
I was pretty much saying like I was watching how everybody else is serving you, and they kinda served you and kept it movin’. That was my entrance, like that was my entrance baby line ‘em up. I can knock all ‘em down one by one. They was serving you the cheap shit.

You said “the top said they could eye it, they ain’t guess or have to weigh it.” Who’s the top?
The top, meaning the dudes before me. If you look at it in that sense, I took it as the OGs in music, whether it’s your Jays, your Nas—your legends, let’s put it like that. It’s kinda like if you look at The Wire and you see Marlo and he was looking at Michael like, “Yo. Get him.” The rest of these lil’ kids just runnin’ around doin’ whatever. Get him. ‘Cause I can see it. He has what it takes. So that’s what that meant when “the top said they could eye it, they aint guess or have to weigh it” it meant the legends could look and be like “Yo, get him. That looks familiar. That looks like what we was doing which was the real. So get him.”

So why were they “skeptical to christen” you?
Because people are scared of losing their spots.

Then you talk about “Kemba fitted and the letters where the difference be.” You lost me.
When UConn won the NCAA basketball championship, they kept showing Kemba Walker wearing the fitted and the fitted said number one. So all I was sayin’—there’s a difference between me and you. The difference is I’m number one and you’re not.

Right, word. You’re “Tryna rub shoulders but their shoulders by my knees.” So it’s like, I’m just standing above these dudes basically?
Yeah, and pretty much saying I’m alone. I’m perfectly aligned where I’m supposed to be to take over, and I’m by myself. It’s like you have the one kid in the back of the class who’s drawing, talking to chicks, and messin’ around, just noddin’ off or whatever. You’re like, why is he so inattentive? It’s because he’s not supposed to be in here, he’s supposed to be in that other class down the hall, where the work is five hours a night instead of two.

Then you talk about being posted by the stall.
Yeah, so it pretty much just goes back to the idea of me giving the people this designer drug, giving the people this upper echelon. Like I’m here, posted by the stall, what you need? It’s pretty much me going back to the old concept of what the record is about, which is me using that as a metaphor for being dope lyrically and being able to provide you with what others can’t. I’m right here.

You say that little piece that you repeat in the second verse too. Like “on the low,” like, so is that like saying that like, you’re doing all this shit like under the radar? Or is that not even what you mean?
Yeah, I mean ‘cause to the people I’m still low; I’m still coming up. I’m here. You can pretend that you want that other stuff that you used to get. But I’m here. I’m here with what you’re probably not used to, as far as the music. I’m here with what I do.

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