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STANDOUT TRACK:

No. 4, “Pain to the Picture,” a breakbeat track that producer Shaun Sharkey adorns with dramatic strings, abbreviated horn honks, and subdued female vocals. Walz, a Bronx MC known for his freestyle skills, delivers off-the-cuff boasts (“I’m old/But my body’s still hot/Like Iggy Pop”), while guest vocalist Billy Moon sings the enigmatic chorus: “You said you’d never give it up/I think you will boy/I’ll bring some pain to the picture.”

MUSICAL MOTIVATION:

Sharkey, who lives in Miami but still records in Maryland, says the song’s underlying groove emerged early in the Monster Maker sessions. Sharkey and Moon, both members of the now-defunct D.C. hip-hop group Crownsayers, were watching a TV show about a boy who went mute after witnessing a murder. “So the whole episode, the kid would sit there completely silent, ignoring the police trying to talk to him while he drew these stupidass pictures,” Sharkey says. “It was so frustrating that you wanted to smack the shit out of the kid.” Thus, the chorus.

THIS IS ONLY A TEXT:

Sharkey says he and Walz “kind of ran in the same circles,” so he knew what to expect when the rapper entered the booth. “C-Rayz is a real smart and self-actualized dude. He may freestyle a verse at first to get the feel for it, but if the content isn’t up to par, he’ll go back and rework it,” Sharkey says. “This was one of the fastest I’ve seen him write, though. He wrote all three verses for this song into his T-Mobile Sidekick in about 10 minutes total.”