"Before The Ring", ca. 2015

This is a love song about the people who stand by us when we have nothing. 

Make no mistake, I had a fortunate life. But in 2015, I was jobless. My ribcage had been showing for most of the year. Crohn's had hit me hard, really hard.

But it showed me something. It showed me who would stand by me. The people who loved me just for me. 

Then the steroids worked.

Back On Fire exploded with new songs. It was my first time producing hip-hop, which I had loved since I was thirteen. Sam and I were very different musicians and people, but we shared this idea, the mantra that would become the song:

This is the beginning, and we don't have much yet, but we will. 

I had written "What That Means" in my mom's car less than an hour before. Back at home, I sat on the carpet by the back door and looked out the window. The line in the song,

Look up together,

I was living that line right then. I looked up from this low place at a whole new life I'd been given thanks to medicine. This was my "before the ring" moment: before the studio, before everything else. 

At first, people laughed when they heard me rap the verse. For reference, lines that I wrote in this time period looked a lot like this: 

Call me the hard drive / 'cuz she back it up on me

Visit www.yikes.com for more details. 

But I hopped into Reason and recorded it on my dining room table. The crickets you can hear, they like to chirp whenever I play piano. This low-quality version is probably the only one I'll release. It's the version we bumped in the car, before the studio, before the photoshoots, before everything.