Lyn Starr is a Pittsburgh rapper (and CEO of the entertainment company High Five Productions) whose Universe 25 project was released in June. He and Saige Smith recently dropped by Studio Friendship for a live performance of their track “S&G.”
“S&G” tells the story of a city (or world) partying while it burns down, thousands of Neros playing their metaphorical fiddles while everything crumbles. The chorus, sung in overlapping high and low octaves by Smith and Starr, borrows the titular refrain from Tenor Saw’s “Ring The Alarm” to warn of impending doom, but the exhortation is quickly dismissed (“Oh shit, this is my song!”), allowing resignation to set in (“It’s hot in here/But we don’t care”). Environmental degradation is a theme that Starr lingers on throughout his verses; at one point, he imagines sticking his tongue out to trip on acid rain while the sky falls down around him. Partying is used as a metaphor for complacency in the face of catastrophe. Interestingly, it’s framed as a vicious cycle; we engage in escapist practices because the world’s problems are too horrible to face, but the problems worsen when they aren’t addressed. In the end, as Starr puts it, “All that’s left is trash and ashes/Burned holes in the fabric/People looking for answers.” It all sounds very dire on paper, but Starr and Smith bring a lighthearted chemistry to the live performance, and Smith really lets rip on a few “hey yah”‘s near the end of the track. It’s only fair that we have a bit of fun before the world is engulfed in flames.
Plus, there’s art! Studio Friendship creator Zachary Rutter live paints during all Friendship Sessions, adding a visual element to the music.
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