WHAT SHOULD BE THE FEAR: An album by Precious Gorgeous
Album chronicles true story of an artist's fevered quest to outrun his fears on a 4000 mi bicycle tour performing one-man Shakespeare.
Into the Wild
What Should Be the Fear will be the first ever Hip-Hop road album. It will tell the story of how personal tragedy led me, Brooklyn artist Ralf Jean-Pierre, to bicycle alone across the United States for eight months performing One-Man Street Shakespeare. That project, called The `Speare Bearer: One-Man Shakespeare on a Bike was funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2011.
I've been writing, recording, and performing hip-hop music for nearly 20 years. My focus for the last few years has been growing from just being a rapper to becoming a full-fledged songwriter, making a point to study great songwriters of any genre.
The First Hip-Hop Road Album
I’ve long been fascinated with the tales of the American outlaw and the folklore from the wild American frontier. The spirit of adventure and mystery that permeates in rural America, from the swamps of the South, to the endless fields of the Heartland, captivated my heart. I was hard-pressed to find a project where I could really express this interest, until I completed this nationwide tour. Artists I'd long admired but couldn't quite relate to, like Chuck Berry, Ryan Adams, Howlin' Wolf, Neil Young, or Tracy Chapman were suddenly the most pervasive influences to my songwriting in capturing the tone and texture of this journey.
The album will consist of 13 songs I wrote and composed. With some basic audio recording equipment I was able to develop a simple technique of layering and looping my singing and beat-boxing into compositions which describe the intensely singular and harrowing, experience of this tour alone with my thoughts. This process was a way of sketching the songs in their rawest form, the best way I could, with the intent of forming a band later that could fully realize the songs.
Capturing The SongsAll the songs are my attempt to capture stories and moments from my journey. For example, a significant part of my tour were the moments I'd come to literal forks in the road. They were perplexing because I could easily make a wrong turn down a road, and go 5-10 miles before I'd realize I'd gone the wrong way and end up taking a useless 2 hour detour through an area that was completely unfamiliar to me. Similarly, I'd often be faced with high-stakes personal decisions while on the road such as: "Can I trust this stranger offering me help, or do they mean me harm?" "Should I risk getting arrested to perform here?" "Should I become emotionally involved with this woman if I can't be sure I'll ever see her again?" and I felt similar pressure to make a choice. These instances felt like such dreadful, elemental tribulations, that it would take a Blues song to adequately express them. That's how the song Unsure came about.
"Of course on a course coarse as this/
A fork has no course but to show up and serve me a course"
—Precious Gorgeous, Unsure
Plan of Attack
My collaborator, music producer, Noah Lekas and I plan to record the album in San Diego, where Noah lives and works. Together we will interpret and translate my demos readable music that can be built on in collaboration with a live band into fully produced songs. San Diego also happens to be the point of the tour where I was furthest from my home of Brooklyn, NY, so it’s fitting that I should return there to complete this record.
"For here, I hope, begins our lasting joy."
I’ve gone as far as I can on my own in this process. What Should Be the Fear has the potential to be a powerful collection of dynamic, inspiring, American music that tells a unique story. Please help me to make this record a reality.
"Dunno rhyme or reason, I just know how to rhyme/
No, I dunno why I did it, I just knew I had to ride/
Got an hour and stomach for it I’ll tell you 'bout my year/
Hell yeah I was scared, but What Should Be the Fear?!"
—Precious Gorgeous, Prologue
Risks and challenges
Working in the music business in San Diego my collaborator Noah Lekas has established connections with musicians, producers, and engineers who are prepared to work with us for a reasonable rate. The goal amount we’ve set will be enough to afford a good studio, a competent engineer, and to pay quality studio musicians a fair rate for their time and talents.
I took a whole year to build these demos and, although the soul of my songs are there to me, their structure is poignantly simple enough for our musicians to translate. With this money I will be able to refine and develop my songs by collaborating with other talented musicians in the studio.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)