“Even In Death” is a collaborative project from veteran Strange Famous Records emcee Seez Mics and Cubbiebear (AKA Joshua Bailey), a talented and true Strange Famous homie who left this world far too soon in 2017. SFR is proud to help bring more of Josh’s work into the world. We encourage you to seek out and enjoy his entire catalog. May he never be forgotten.
This isn’t a conventional album release, and as such, we aren’t offering a conventional write-up to accompany it. Instead of trying to describe what you’ll hear if you check out “Even In Death,” we’d rather let Seez tell you about his longtime friend. We’ll begin with the final paragraph from his longer story below:
“Our friend DJ cam-one eventually got Josh’s computer from his brother Bill, and began the seemingly impossible task of accessing and making sense of the files for the songs we’d been working on. Because he is a technical god, Cam was able to work his magic and get everything in shape. I redid some vocals, Teddy Faley jumped on “What Could I Do,” Max Bent added his unique flavor to “Random Drug Test,” DJ Addikt laced “Meat Eating Media with cuts, and Alxndrbrwn brought the entire thing over the finish line by mixing and mastering an album I titled “Even In Death.” I chose the title based on how I felt on the night of Josh’s passing: even in death, he selflessly gave people comfort, even if it came at his own expense.
I am proud to share my story about my friendship with Josh, AKA Cubbiebear. I am even prouder to share our album “Even In Death,” especially because it’s being released by Strange Famous Records. But above all, I’m proud to be the kind of person that Josh wanted as a friend to his dying day.”
We strongly encourage you to read the rest of Seez’s words below. We strongly encourage you to listen to “Even In Death.” And we strongly encourage you not to take a single minute that you have in this world for granted.
The album will be available on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Tidal, and wherever you stream music on January 28, 2022.
The “Even In Death” video was directed by Seannie Cameras
01 All Friended Up
02 What Could I Do feat. Teddy Faley
03 Random Drug Test
04 Don’t Look Down
05 Meat Eating Media feat. DJ Addikt
06 Constrict & Release
07 Hooray feat. DJ Addikt
08 Even In Death feat. Barbara van der Vossen
MORE WORDS FROM SEEZ MICS ON “EVEN IN DEATH”:
“Cubbiebear and I should have hated each other.
In the early 2000’s, Cubbiebear was a Baltimore-based MC/producer and I was the frontman for a D.C.-based hip hop duo called Educated Consumers. We were in direct competition for the limited number of opening slots on national indie-rap shows in the DMV. He was a humble introvert who sold tickets hand-to-hand to his fans. I was an arrogant loudmouth who specialized in getting others to do the heavy lifting. From personal and artistic perspectives, we seemed to not only be opposites, but the kind of opposites that should be at odds.
However, as with any good relationship, it turned out that what made us strong as individuals made us stronger collectively.
In the fall of 2005, a mutual friend named Mental Stamina recognized that Cubbiebear and I could benefit from knowing each other, so he arranged for us to meet at a bar in D.C. called Velvet Lounge.
(I don’t say the following merely to boost the impact of this story, or because Cubbiebear is no longer with us. I firmly believe that we all experience a handful of relationships in our lives that begin with an instant yet imperishable sense that the relationship will be one that proves to be eternal, and my relationship with Cubbiebear began exactly this way. So, I say the following to encourage you to reflect on any such relationships you have already experienced and to remain hopeful that more of these relationships are in your future.)
I spotted MS and Cubbiebear sitting at the bar, but they didn’t see me. I walked over to them with my guard up and a chamber full of rap-ego-politik talking points… but I was immediately disarmed by a smile.
MS introduced Cubbiebear as Josh. Josh’s smile was an interesting blend of shit-eating-grin mixed with a healthy dose of don’t-cross-me, all finished off with a hint of I’m-actually-a-nice-guy. And, like the rest of him, that smile was effortlessly genuine and unfalteringly human. I don’t remember the particulars of our conversation that night, but I will always remember Josh’s smile.
Both our friendship and our artistic alliance proved to be mutually beneficial, so we grew very close as friends and frequent collaborators. We went on to create a bunch of songs, share dozens of stages, and make countless memories.
One of the songs was “Hooray.” We recorded “Hooray” so long ago that I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t get carded at Charles Village Pub, which is where Josh tended bar. I’ll never forget how quickly I wrote my part, words that became what to this day may be my signature verse. I like to think of “All Friended Up” (another song found on the new album “Even In Death”) as the updated version of “Hooray.” Josh’s friend DJ Addikt did cuts for the song, and I consider myself fortunate to now claim Addikt as one of my closest friends, which seems impossible given our conflicting positions on whether or not soccer fucking sucks.
One of the stages that we shared was at Metro Gallery in Baltimore, and the last show I remember doing with Josh was opening for Sage Francis there. That show occupies an irreplaceable space in my heart. Not only because Metro Gallery was perhaps the most important venue in Josh’s career, but also because Josh and I were both diehard Sage Francis fans.
One of my favorite memories is of the last birthday gift Josh gave me. It was a huge box with a card attached. I opened the envelope and stared at a card proclaiming “Happy Mother’s Day, Grandma!” I cracked open the cavernous carton to discover 120 copies of his album “Force Back To Sleep.” He was a funny dude.
Eventually, all of our songs and shows and tours put us on the path towards creating a proper full-length collaborative album. Josh began sending me beats around 2010, and he proposed that our project be called “You Die At The End.” I liked the name because it was typical of Josh to choose a phrase that can’t be argued with. For whatever reason, we never set aside a few months to focus solely on this album. Josh was very successful as a solo act, and my fruitful run with Educated Consumers gave way to what I like to think of as a not-entirely shitty solo career. So, we would often joke about the album we were working on for almost two decades and how well it was coming along.
Then one night in August of 2016, Josh passed out after a softball game and was diagnosed with a Stage IV brain tumor and was given maybe 6 months to live. That changed things.
As Sage Francis noted shortly after Josh passed, Josh fought like hell with the time he had left. He certainly had his moments of sadness and despair, but to his undying credit, those feelings were vastly outweighed by the energy he spent enjoying new experiences with loved ones. He traveled, he hosted game nights, and he ultimately did what he did best: he found happiness in making other people happy. Quite often by making them drunk.
Josh also initiated one final push for us to finish the album we’d been working on. During our first discussion about how to proceed, he said in his trademark deadpan, “I think we should change the title. ‘You Die At The End’ feels a little on the nose, given the circumstances.” I almost pissed myself laughing.
We spent the next few months trying to make a handful of demos into an album full of gems, but Josh’s health declined rapidly. At my wedding that October, I told him it was very inconsiderate to show up at a ceremony looking better than the groom; he was always a handsome guy, and seemed so vibrant that for a split second I thought he would actually beat that bitch in his brain after all. But by December he was declining, and by May the next year, he was gone.
There’s nothing witty or particularly insightful to say here, but I hope this may offer you some comfort: Josh’s passing was merciful, given what he was facing, and there’s no guilt in feeling more relief than remorse when a suffering loved one dies.
Our friend DJ cam-one eventually got Josh’s computer from his brother Bill, and began the seemingly impossible task of accessing and making sense of the files for the songs we’d been working on. Because he is a technical god, Cam was able to work his magic and get everything in shape. I redid some vocals, Teddy Faley jumped on “What Could I Do,” Max Bent added his unique flavor to “Random Drug Test,” DJ Addikt laced “Meat Eating Media with cuts, and Alxndrbrwn brought the entire thing over the finish line by mixing and mastering an album I titled “Even In Death.” I chose the title based on how I felt on the night of Josh’s passing: even in death, he selflessly gave people comfort, even if it came at his own expense.
I am proud to share my story about my friendship with Josh, AKA Cubbiebear. I am even prouder to share our album “Even In Death,” especially because it’s being released by Strange Famous Records. But above all, I’m proud to be the kind of person that Josh wanted as a friend to his dying day.
Much love to all who helped this album grow from an idea between two homies into a banging ass record: Josh’s brother Bill, DJ cam-one, Alxndrbrwn, DJ Addikt, Max Bent, Athena Hiotis, Teddy Faley, Barbara van der Vossen, Virak, Erika of Suburban Slang, Storm Davis, Sage Francis, Seannie Cameras, Early Adopted, Pat Jensen, and most importantly, Josh’s dog Tank.