Crucify
by k-os

Album: Can't Fly Without Gravity (2015)
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Songfacts®:

  • This song is based on a sample of Ella Fitzgerald's version of the Cole Porter song "It's De-Lovely," where Fitzgerald sings:

    Control your desire to curse
    while I crucify the verse


    K-os heard "It's De-Lovely" for the first time when he was in a Vancouver movie theater watching American Hustle; the song plays during a dinner scene in the film.

    Movies are a passion of the Canadian rapper and often a source of inspiration. When this scene came on, he immediately pulled out his phone and looked up the song (yes, he's that annoying guy in the theater - but at least it's for his art). He made notes throughout the rest of the film, and when it was over he went home and programmed the sample on his Ensoniq ASR-10. He had the beat together in about 20 minutes, and the lyrics followed.
  • K-os was drawn to the word "crucify" when he heard Ella Fitzgerald sing it. While "murder" has become a rap cliché (used in both a literal and figurative sense), "crucify" has a lot more gravitas. When we spoke with k-os in 2015, he explained: "To crucify the verse, I mean, what more could you want? There's so many metaphors in that: to say something so powerful that you kill it, for it to rise again. Or to do something so well that it ceases to exist, but in ceasing to exist, it's immortalized. There's so many ways to look at it."

    He added: "Murdered leaves me feeling hollow. Crucifixion feels like there was a purpose for the ending. It's an ending of memory. It's an ending of people's experiences, which is why human beings are so afraid of it they don't know what to do, because all we are are memories, and the idea that that's going to end scares us so much."
  • Lyrically, this song explores the roots of hip-hop, and how many in the current generation of rappers don't respect it. "They know that it's there, and they know how powerful it is, but they've killed it a little bit because it's hard to live up to," k-os told us. "So that's my subversive statement about where that's coming from: Come on, you guys know that you crucified the Tribe Called Quest verses, come on, admit it. You know you crucified all the De La Soul and the Public Enemy. Everything that everyone loves right now is from that, but no one wants to let it keep living."
  • K-os manages to turn the late '80s - early '90s hip-hop act Wreckx-N-Effect (the guys who brought us "Rump Shaker") into a verb on this track, as he raps:

    I'm chin checking 'em
    Seconds, I'm decking 'em
    Wreckx-N-Effecting 'em
    Vexing 'em

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