Review: The Hell Hole Store – Return To The Hell Hole

The Hell Hole Store - Return To The Hell Hole back cover

Artist’s Commentary:

Cow Tippin’

Written, recorded, and produced in the greatest record store in all of Philadelphia, Brewerytown Beats. Donnie made the beat sampling a record he found in the dollar bin. The start of the song is about a time where I was with my mom in the car and Tom Waits came on WXPN and she changed the channel and made fun of it. That’s the point I realized I’m adopted. Not really, just kidding mom, love you.

Green Ski Mask

Recorded in the lovely Knights Inn of Kalamazoo. An ode to the genius of Goon Planet. We had just saw them tear down Louie’s Back Room, the night before. It was one of the most incredible sets I’ve ever seen. Truly brilliant. It was on my mind while writing the chorus. The lead singer wore a green ski mask the whole night, as he does at each show. Don’s verse is a juxtaposition of mine. He’s softer than cotton candy flavored tooth paste, but I have corrupted him it seems. Much like our relationship. I think some of my cynicism has unfortunately rubbed off on the warm-hearted Donovan. The song’s a metaphor of course, but there’s some truth to it as well.

Three’s Company

This track was recorded at Cody Jones house in Pittsburgh before our show that night of tour. Cody was originally gonna go on that specific tour with us, and we wanted to call it “The Three’s Company Tour”. So because of that I made a beat sampling the theme song. Later on it became this. Fuck the Phoenix Cafe in Detroit, and the Burlington Bar in Chicago. Both venues we got cut off early on tour.

Mellow Yellow 2

The first song recorded for this album. Me and Don made the beat together at Emma’s House. A sequel to our track from the first Hell Hole Store. This time we actually sample the original Mellow Yellow by the beautiful genius Donovan, my personal favorite songwriter. Also performed for that NPR dealy-o we didn’t win. Oh, well.

Hell Hole Cafe

Written over at All These Finger’s place, my favorite producer. We got to hang out with him while we were over in Michigan. This song was inspired by our journey we went through at the Phoenix Cafe in Detroit. A very odd place that for sure didn’t deserve our beautiful art. “Yelling at the customers like Trap Sade.” Trap Sade is a very aggressive rapper from NY who yelled at me and my friend Jack Wilson to stand up at the very start of her performance. She yelled at everyone forcefully to stand up before ever performing one song, and singled me and Jack out, it was very off-putting. Just wanted to preface that lyric. ialive’s verse was recorded after a trip to the dentist. Novocaine’d up with a mouth still numb he forged the creation of Drool G Rap. Also an ode to “Lineage” by Serengeti.


Another track written, produced, and recorded in the lovely Brewerytown Beats. Again, I’m not sure what Don sampled for this beat, but it was from the dollar section, and he killed it. One of my favorite beats on the album. Just straight up BARS! I don’t drive a white Dodge Fiero, (which doesn’t even exist, Pontiac made those cars) but everything else I said is absolutely true. The ending is taken from one of my favorite songs of all time, Donovan’s “There is a Mountain” which is something me and ialive first connected on when we met at The Fire (Hell Hole) when he opened for DJ Abilities.

Dying to Get Old

Another song recorded at the Knights Inn in Kalamazoo. It’s about jobs and death, at least that’s what I take it as. My part in the chorus is taken from Eyedea’s “make money and die that’s the American way”. I wrote the lyrics way before the election of course but the Beastie Boys line I used “we got a president we didn’t elect” became a lot more true with Donald in office.

Musician Street

ialive, Torito, and Johan Sebastian all live on Miller St. in Philly (if you ever wanna go beat em up or something). I wrote the chorus driving to Don’s house to record one day. Torito was telling us about a conversation he had with his mom about Miller St. and she suggested they should call it Musician Street. Being that there’s 3 musicians (possibly more?) who live there. Torito killed it, really glad we got him on there.


Written, recorded, and produced at Brewerytown Beats, digging through their dollar section. I don’t remember what I sampled for the beat, but it was a lot of fun to make. One of those songs that are fun to make but also have a meaningful message behind them. I really like this one. “If you think you’re free, try going anywhere without money” is a paraphrasing of something Bill Hicks once said. ialive’s verse on here was about a true story his dad told him. There’s a lot of truth in our lyrics, no matter how silly they sound, they probably happened.

No Coupons

Written, produced, and recorded at Brewerytown Beats. We did happen to meet a hooker at the Knights Inn one night, but respectfully declined. I had recently watched the original Twin Peaks series before the making of this album, that’s why there’s a lot of Twin Peaks references in my verses. Das Racist was my favorite group, and I was very bummed when they broke up, I’m glad I got to finally lament that in this song. Don absolutely crushes it on this song, “you got a wedgie like Oswald Cobblepot” c’mon?! He’s a madman, I love it. This song even has a direct Jingle All The Way reference in it. Has Run The Jewels done that? Probably not, that’s why we’re the best.


Once again, this track was written, produced, and recorded at Brewerytown Beats. I have no idea what I sampled but it turned out to be very Alchemist-esque. Pretty haunting, yet soulful somewhere. I only know of Moviefone because of Seinfeld, but ialive is actually old enough to have used that service. I really love this track, it’s dark yet goofy. I think we’re both pretty good at that combination.

You Forgot The Bread

Another Seinfeld reference, and ialive solo track. “Even Jesus Christ got the Hell Hole on tape.” Probably my favorite song on the album. It’s amazing. I can say that without sounded conceited since I didn’t have anything to do with the making of it. It’s unbelievable. Some times I feel we’re these prophets that everyone ignores and assumes is insane. I think this track sums up that feeling very well. “Get out of line, you get no tapes!”

Room 123

Written, recorded, and produced in Room 123 of the Knights Inn. A reference to Kool Keith’s Apartment 223 from the Dr. Dooom album First Come, First Served. We brought a bunch of microwaveable food on this tour since our room in the hotel had a microwave. We ate a whole giant box of White Castle burgers, it was great! I love milkshakes, and quite possibly the best milkshake I ever had was in Kalamazoo at the cafe next to Satellite Records. I would get a milkshake, Don would get a coffee each morning. I was Buddy the Elf in that shower it was so small. “I ordered pizza from Tower Records” is another Kool Keith reference, he’s my favorite rapper of all time. Don’s favorite drop he did on the whole album is for my line “hookers like my Nascar cooler”. The first night we were there, a lady of the night complemented me on my Nascar cooler I borrowed from my dad. “I’m a slice of Mancini’s, you’re a pizza Pringle”. My favorite slice of pizza I ever had is from this spot way out there in New Jersey called Mancini’s. It was delicious. I won’t say who Don’s verse is about, I’ll instead let the lyrics speak for themselves. This is my favorite ialive verse on the album. He felt super mean when he wrote it, which is always a good sign.

Sorry We’re Closed

And now the end is near. The last song on the album. I wrote my viscous verse in Chicago about my experiences that day. Everything I said is 100% true. This is my favorite verse I’ve ever done. All These Fingers made the beat, he’s a beautiful genius and I love him for it. I’ll let this song speak for it’s self. There’s not much I can say about it, just listen, please. Thank you.

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