Strange Famous Records is proud to present the return of BLACKLIQ x MOPES!
Choice Is A Chance, the sophomore effort from emcee BlackLiq and producer Mopes, following their 2021 debut Time Is The Price, dropped April 14, 2023 and is now available at Bandcamp & is streaming on all digital service providers!
Check out the first video from the album, "Strange Famous"!
“This album isn’t a sequel. This is what happened next… but it’s also what is happening now.” - BlackLiq
Choice Is A Chance is the second album on Strange Famous Records from the duo of emcee BlackLiq (Richmond, VA) and producer Mopes (Providence, RI), but it’s not a bridge between beginning and end, as many second acts are built to be. It’s another step forward in a journey that has no planned finish, just as its beginning was never conceived, but simply lived.
“There's an aspect of maturity to these songs that isn't present in Time is the Price (the pair’s 2021 SFR debut), and that allows the record to journey to places where, as a listener, I would expect confidence from someone who has introduced themselves in the way that I did,” explains Black. “Embedded in the foundation of this album is the fact that I am not trying to convince the listener, just as much as I am not trying to convince myself. It's building with acceptance instead of building up to acceptance.”
This maturity and confidence in part springs from the bond forged between the two musicians during the sessions for their first album, which led to the progression apparent in the second, as Mopes explains: “When producing Time Is The Price, Black and I really hit our stride with the last two songs we made for that album, which were “Endtro” and “Dumb.” I knew we weren't done. We found our sync point and set the foundation for us to be able to push ourselves further with Choice Is A Chance. Most of TITP was assembled piecemeal from previously-made beats, whereas the production for CIAC I built from the ground up. Every beat was constructed specifically for Black, for this album.”
Black continues: “When we did Time Is The Price every song I wrote was me progressively getting more unhinged with what I, at that time, found to be the areas of my story and my life that I was comfortable sharing. This time, I went in unbridled.”
"Therapy" is the second visual from the album!
The artistic comfort zone that resulted from the process of formulating the first album helped to cement their ties, bringing them beyond a casual collaboration, but just short of an official ‘group.’ Mopes describes their working relationship: “Black and I are an interesting duo. We both share the same energy, work ethic, and love for hip-hop. But, when the dough's not ready, the dough is not ready, and while it’s developing, we’re each going to go off and flex our creative muscles in whatever way we see fit until it’s becomes apparent that it’s time to circle back to the business at hand. We're patient with each other, and when we're both locked in we cook something special. We've learned how to communicate, agree, disagree, and gain trust with each other. I love working with that dude. He brings something out of me and I bring something out of him. I'm super proud of this project and I don't think heads is ready for how good it is.”
In many ways, TITP acted as a trailer for the fleshed-out cinematic epic that is CIAC: “On the first record, my being so candid in very matter-of-fact ways, led to a lot of surprised reactions - "oh, his dad’s in prison,” or, "he did shows with major artists and realized that they suck,’” Black recalls. “That was me making minutes out of moments, this is me making moments out of minutes - reflecting, instead of looking back. I did a lot of remembering on Time Is The Price to set the story and to give people glimpses into my world. I've slowed down a lot of the passage of time on this album to bring shit into focus and stare at it all.”
As the title infers, these songs take chances, a conscious choice made by the artists: “Lyrically, I wasn't even trying to rhyme, and a lot of this hits in a conversational tone. There's not many end-to-end schemes, and none of this shit was written to make me sound cool or to shock people.” The uncharacteristic approach to the construction of the tracks also informed the selection of the first single: “That's why I felt like ‘Strange Famous' had to be first. The obvious homage to the label’s name aside, it’s a reminder that none of our lives fit into a pretty box, and just because you may gain a level of fame doesn’t make it any less strange,” Black grins: “If anything, it’s quite the opposite.”
While “Strange Famous” became the first visual from the album, Black made it clear that within every track is a lesson worthy of the listener’s focus: “‘The Tooth’ requires you to be deceived and uncomfortable, just like I was and am. The magic of this album is that it isn't a trick, its honest. ’Music’ felt like a conclusion as much as a confession. Referring to my last album as ‘piece of advice’ and that ‘I wrote all of those rhymes in the wind like a chime / it felt like the first time your attention was mine’ - whether I thought it at the time I wrote it, or just now, it really drives home to me just how much i've made peace with all the years I've spent paying dues. Like, how long can you live angry about some shit that you thought you were in control of, before you realize that the anger is just ego, and in reality, you had no control over how things turned out at all?”
In the end, Choice Is A Chance is anything but a conclusion: “I guess what I'm trying to say is, for once, I'm not sitting here thinking ‘how did I get here?’ After we escape the maze of feelings and failure, we get a chance to grow into appreciation. It all starts with a choice, and this is mine.”
7-INCH RECORD TRACKLIST
A - Strange Famous
B - Dogs That Bark But Don't Bite
DIGITAL DOWNLOAD TRACKLIST
01 Strange Famous
03 Little Me
04 In The Beginning
05 The Tooth
06 Dogs That Bark But Don't Bite
08 How I Did It
11 Words From Black
Mixed & mastered by DJ Zole
Cover art by Pat Jensen
Limited edition package deals are exclusive to StrangeFamous.com, and include an instant download of the full digital LP!