Written by: Cooper Aspergen
It was on a trip to England when sophomore Finn Mayer embarked on his first music project, a remix of Bob Marley’s reggae classic, “Stir It Up,” with his cousin, Ed Young.
Eventually, they became inspired to form a rap group, Oversees, using the respective nicknames “Prime 8” and “Teddy Slim.” After their first single garnered close to 60 downloads, the group released its first Extended Play, “Optimistic Linguistics,” in April 2012.
Mayer writes and performs the lyrics while Young formulates the background beats and samples using Apple’s recording software program “Logic”. “I listen to old music and listen to the song, see what could be a good beat, isolate that, mess with it a little bit, and see which samples Finn likes,” Young said.
Oversees’ style can be described as very eclectic and influenced by a variety of genres. “I guess it’s sort of psychedelic,” Mayer said. “It’s very heavily soul and funk-influenced rap. We use a lot of soul and funk beats.”
The group finds inspiration in the work of the rappers MF Doom, MF Grimm, A Tribe Called Quest, Del the Funky Homosapien, Lil B and Wu Tang Clan, the latter of which Mayer describes as “some of the greatest rappers of all time.”
Mayer characterizes his first experience writing rap lyrics, during his freshman year, in a modest and self-deprecating fashion. “First I sucked a lot, obviously,” Mayer said while reflecting upon his earliest work.
However, as soon as he gained a greater level of proficiency in his songwriting, Mayer found the practice to be an ideal form of liberation. “When I’m upset, I’ll write about my own problems,” he said. “The reason I like it is just because it’s the most pure form of expression. I try to not release any lines that don’t put an image in my head that I feel is accurate about me.”
Mayer greatly appreciates the work of his cousin, describing it as an essential component of the music they release. “One time, Ed used a sample of a rhythm from a song and then cut it up and completely switched the order of the notes, and that was pretty interesting,” Mayer said.
Frequent collaborator sophomore Ross Cardillo, from Palo Alto High School, known as “DGA” or, “the Dopest Gringo Alive,” speaks highly of Mayer’s skill as a rapper. “Finn is the best freestyler I’ve ever met,” Cardillo said. “He manages to embody a lot about himself through rapping. He’s picked it up crazy fast since he’s only been doing it for a few months now.”
Oversees is currently in the process of recording a new album with rappers King Goo and Cardillo.