To the Batcave!
Written by: J. Stokes – November 29, 2016
We said it was coming, and here it is; a thorough discussion of “Return to the Batcave,” the latest mixtape to be produced and distributed by K3mistry Productions (boy, that was a mouthful…). For those of you who are new to us here at Tit 4 Tat, we serve as the official weblog for K3mistry Productions. In a nutshell, K3mistry is a media literacy company, seeking to encourage the well-being of both teenagers and young adults through exploring various media and entertainment. A possible question of yours might be “Well why not just called this The K3mistry Weblog, or something like that?” As a response, we say this: Tit 4 Tat serves as an extension of K3mistry, and is meant to combat harmful media and media messages through our analyses and suggestions. Isn’t that what the term “tit for tat” kind of gets at anyways? Besides, Tit 4 Tat just sounds waaaaaaay cooler!
So then, where do we begin? First, let’s take a trip down memory lane. K3mistry Productions initially stepped on the scene with a mixtape/album entitled “Metropolis Lp.” This project had multiple intentions, such as capturing the attention of music connoisseurs who wanted to hear hip-hop albums with an overall positive message and captivating a diverse audience. At that time K3mistry was still formulating its overall aims and operated as a music label. However, one thing was for certain; teaching youth how to be media literate was a main objective. So as the years went by (and we thank those of you who bared with us), the company figured out where it stands and what it seeks to accomplish.
Obviously, Tit 4 Tat will elaborate more on K3mistry’s official breakdown of attributes and services in a future post, but that’s not the point of today! Right now we are discussing K3mistry’s latest project, adding to its repertoire of music.
If you have been listening to the music released by K3mistry Productions in its entirety, then you would know that since 2014 an album or mixtape has been released each year. Each collection of songs follows the journey of a young emcee named Memo. In essence, each album/mixtape builds off the last in a story format. “Metropolis Lp” was created as the beginning point of many stories to come. Although a full discussion of “Metropolis Lp” was never provided, we wrote a piece on the 2015 album entitled “higher” as an explanation behind that album’s double meaning. At the conclusion of “higher,” Memo has, through the messages in his music, successfully accomplished his goal of encouraging youth to follow their dreams and constructively think about how to succeed. This understanding, from the listener’s point of view, is derived throughout Memo’s musical journey, in which he uses his “craft” (his artistry) to transition himself from the mainstream hip-hop world (known as the metropolis) into outer space. “Return to the Batcave” picks up five years after the events of “higher,” with Memo narrating an introductory track stating that he decided to leave the metropolis and regroup in Gotham City (more on this will be covered later).
For those of you who follow comic books, “Return to the Batcave” is just the mixtape for you. In DC Comics, Metropolis is a city inhabited by Clark Kent, or Superman. Gotham City, on the other hand, is the hometown of Bruce Wayne, who assumes the role of Batman. In the mixtape’s introductory track, Memo states that he can no longer be Superman.
This brings us back to “Metropolis Lp,” where Memo made it clear that he wanted to promote more positivity in mainstream hip-hop music as a way to positively shape the lives of youth. The beginning of “Return to the Batcave” indicates that Memo has not been successful in his original mission, alerting us that between the album “higher” and now something must have happened to shape his outlook. The second track “To the Batcave” elaborates on Memo’s ideology further, explaining how corporate America has tainted hip-hop music through its promotion of problematic messages by mainstream hip-hop artists. This track ends with a snippet from the 1989 movie “Batman,” meant to tie together the mixtape (more scenes from this movie are used later on as well). “Headquarters” immediately follows, in which Memo has seemingly entered the Batcave and is now reflecting on everyday societal challenges. Batman fans know this as “prep time,” where Bruce Wayne/Batman considers a foe and strategizes ways to defeat said foe. In this case, the foe is mainstream hip-hop and a brainwashed society of followers.
The mixtape’s fourth track, “Where’s Robin,” gives an account of Memo’s frustrations working with others who were not reliable in helping to create positive music for youth. At this point Memo has taken on the Brue Wayne moniker, feeling he is leading a double life (as does the comic book Batman character). This feeling is expanded upon in the following tracks, “Wayne Manor” and “Playboy.” Specifically, “Wayne Manor” highlights the events which led Memo to pursue a career in hip-hop music. In this song, he deals with the pains of growing up (mentioned once before in “Metropolis Lp”) as well as his despise for those who fail to empathize with these past grievances. “Playboy” is positioned as a break from Memo’s stressors, representing a foolhardy account of past interactions with childhood acquaintances. Nevertheless, even this track can be used as an education tool, warning about the consequences associated with greed, misogyny, and recklessness. The tone of this mixtape shifts once track 7 begins to play. Jack Nicholson’s Joker can be heard explaining how Memo is leading a double life (as we’ve mentioned earlier). Though Memo presents himself as Bruce Wayne, the heartbroken playboy, there is still more to him. Track 7, otherwise known as “Peak.,” details Memo’s frustration with the upper establishment (i.e. lawmakers, corporate leaders, and higher authority). The mixtape’s version of this song is a shortened edit, derived from a single released by K3mistry Productions in September of this year, exploring political corruption and police brutality.
While it is implied throughout this mixtape that Memo leads a double life, it is not until tracks 8 and 9 that listeners are able to fully understand what he is trying to accomplish behind the Bruce Wayne persona. In a line during track 8, which is entitled “Bat-Mobile Freestyle,” Memo states “I built an enterprise to show em’ how it’s done, I make my own rules, I answer to none.”
In this instance, we find out that Memo has created his own record label (not to be confused with what K3mistry Productions has been doing). To elaborate, between the time Memo left for outer space in “higher” and returned to Gotham City in “Return to the Batcave,” he created a record label aimed at positively shaping the lives of youth. Therefore, Memo presents himself to the world as an emcee but is truly the orchestrator of a hidden movement. This movement has gained traction through the creation of his record label.
As the mixtape draws to a close, the song “City of Gotham” fully explains the meaning of the Batcave and Gotham City. First, the Batcave is meant to represent a specific state of mind, telling one to build and create rather than assimilate. In other words, Memo seeks to build up his record label and create opportunities for success as opposed to joining a mainstream hip-hop label, hoping for the best (hey, that rhymes!). Moreover, Gotham City represents underground hip-hop music. Bringing everything altogether, Memo seeks to gain a following through exploring the underground hip-hop scene in hopes of growing his record label and eventually releasing music in mainstream hip-hop. Finally, the mixtape concludes with “Tower of Babel.” In the Book of Genesis, found in the Old Testament of the Hebrew Bible, the Tower of Babel is highlighted in a story where God scatters a group of people who attempt to build a tower that leads up to heaven. The underlying message behind this song is that once upon a time hip-hop artists, though diverse, sought to use hip-hop music as a positive art form. However, as hip-hop music became more commercialized, artists were “scattered” and lost the true meaning of the art form. Memo specifically considers mainstream executives to be gods who have corrupted hip-hop music, which was once used as a way for individuals to emit positivity, thus reaching “heaven.”
So, we hope you all check out the “Return to the Batcave” mixtape at some point in the near future (here’s a link in case you missed it). Aside from being an in depth portrayal of an emcee’s tenacity when navigating through the world of hip-hop, it has some catchy hooks and clever wordplay. Ultimately, through releasing this mixtape K3mistry Productions is trying to follow the path of Memo and build an audience who will support future musical ventures. The idea of starting a record label might also be an interesting idea, especially since K3mistry is no longer that (the company now distributes music to help fund teaching opportunities as well as promote positive messages). All things considered, “Return to the Batcave” is a great addition to the stories previously told through Memo. It definitely makes you think about Batman differently. Be sure to support the mixtape by downloading for free, and let us know what you think!
- Updated: November 30, 2016