Fifty-seven patents not that I’m blowing steam
Glowing with overlooked esteem
Not fronting or stunting
You’ll know more than just my name
Than some hall of fame
Everybody trying to plagiarize my work
Like parasitic jerks
But they can never materialize my prized inventions
A folding ironing board? Built that!
Lawn sprinkler? Built that!
Oil lubricators? Built a bunch of those!
I was never bored when I was a tinkerer
With indicators pointing to me being an inventor like no other
The stars and stripes and the maple leaf
Better recognize and save their gripes for some fakers and thieves
Who da realest? Elijah! (X8)
Colchester, keep it real, eh?
What’s up, Canada? I got a song just for you!
This is all about the inventor Elijah McCoy. Born in the unincorporated village of Colchester, ON (it’s actually part of a town called Essex) to runaway slaves, he eventually moved around to Scotland and America. He worked in various engineering and railway jobs, but he eventually created dozens of patents in multiple fields. One of the biggest ones was oil lubrication on trains which is still used in this present day. His formula was so successful that everybody and their mom tried to rip off his patent. Various companies were so reluctant that they only want McCoy’s original formula. Here’s a little video that talks more about him.
The Realest Man was a first for me on so many levels. I had never written a rap song in my life and this was the first time I ever recorded one. I made the beats and I added acousmatics as part of the sound textures. It was a mix between my avant-garde leanings and modern trap rap. Yes, I was a bit comical in my delivery especially after multiple serious songs, but I wanted to make something fun and educational. You certainly aren’t going to get constructive and/or informative lyrics from 2 Chainz, Migos, or Lil Pump, that’s for dang sure. Hahaha!
Colchester and Essex, Ontario seem to be named after the town and county of the same name in England.
The picture of Elijah McCoy is from National Inventors Hall of Fame.
I didn’t care anymore how my last name was spelled after my time on earth
Just know that I was an innovator people haven’t heard of
My family and I were in bondage in the Old Line State
Whenever I could, I’d learn from the children of my captors
That education would come to use
Printer offices and the Naval Academy would see my intellect
Too bad my captors got most of my pay
My greatest achievement involved gun barrels, pewter, steel, and random junk
With this mechanical trash came the first steam engine
My patent was denied even when my brainchild bought my family’s freedom
Don’t deny my innovations
By the way, steampunks. You’re ever so welcome.
This concludes my About A Benjamin trilogy on my Dear Innovare album. This final entry involves Benjamin Bradley. Excuse me…Benjamin Boardley. I will address him as such because his name was misspelled on the various texts and history books, so I want to get his name right. Mr. Boardley over here was a former slave from Maryland who would eventually help in that state’s naval academy while inventing things. His biggest invention was the steam engine. That was a MASSIVE innovation at the time which made so many vehicles and machinery more powerful for decades until petroleum would take over. Think about it, so many inventions spun out of just one engine that he created. Much like other tracks, he wasn’t allowed to patent his innovative engine due to the color of his skin (while others tried to steal his invention in the process), but he was able to use the sales of his engine to buy the rest of the Boardleys away from slavery which is very admirable. Benjamin Boardley is a man worth respecting.
That last line of the track is totally a dig against that subculture. How ironic that so many stories utilizing that aesthetic involve a majority or totally of white characters, but their environments were built around the inventions of a black man. Let that sink in, people. Know your roots even when it comes to fiction.
The picture of Benjamin Boardley (not Bradley) is from Recovery Team.
More watchful eyes had to be manufactured
Whether hidden or overt, security had to be in order
All it took was the technological genius
Cameras became placed
Ruffians would think twice before invading
Under those watchful cybernetic eyes
The Originator blessed this woman to utilize these cameras
Those eyes will live on
Closed circuits, open mind
This is the first song/poem I wrote involving a female inventor. This one is about Marie Van Brittan Brown. She is the inventor of security cameras and CCTV. She invented it back in 1966 which made her WAY ahead of her time with that invention. It’s a shame how people have abused and misused it, Brown was able to create this system for home surveillance to protect people. Such a concept was certainly unheard of and I’m sure lives were saved using that device. Never underestimate a woman when she’s inventing something!
The picture of Marie Van Brittan Brown is from Timeline.
I was the son of runaways, yet I would soon be the ignored father of electricity
Draft after draft, I would progress in my innovations despite the lack of praise
Gardens of inventions would be under my watch
They would certainly bloom
Trains would look like outhouses on wheels without me
I even drew up the first phone designs
Ask Alexander about that
Then came my electric lamp
Carbon would be king to shine brighter and longer
How well was a paper filament, Thomas?
I was an originator
The bigger One knows who I am when others give blank stares
This incandescent electric freeman lives whenever you turn a light on
Wait, so Thomas Edison wasn’t the real inventor of the (functioning) light bulb? Alexander Graham Bell relied on someone else for the archetype of the telephone? Yeah, I know you’re shocked, too.
Lewis Howard Latimer is completely slept on in the history books. He created so many inventions and drafts in several fields. His biggest invention was the carbon filament which is the main basis for light bulbs even to this day. Edison’s light bulb used a paper filament which was incredibly short lived. Latimer showed him how to do it right and proved carbon was king when it comes to lighting up things with his patented electric lamp. This isn’t the only song that critiques Edison on this album and I’ll get to that in future posts. Not only that, but he even was the first person in history to write a book on electric lighting. They certainly didn’t teach you that in school and I didn’t know about this innovator until 2018. Seriously! Also, MIT named an entire invention program after him, so at least they got that right.
His legacy lives on every time you flip a switch. You’re welcome, America!
What do you think? Don’t forget to stream and purchase the album!
The image of Lewis Howard Latimer is from Wikipedia.
From Paris, Kentucky, I emerged into this world
At a young age, I was on the clock a ton as a handyman and working all the time fixing
I had no time for school, so tutors and autodidactic endeavors happened
What I didn’t know back then is that I would save lives
It all started from a tunnel that was ablaze
The men in red couldn’t beat the smoke
I watched them struggle and die from the carbon monoxide
It was time to fix this with a hood and breathing apparatus
I tested the smoke myself, and I still breathed
First responders and WWI soldiers both benefited from my creation
Shame no one believed someone with melanin invented it
Next came witnessing car crash after car crash
Scrap metal and mangled bodies were all I could see
All the signs said were “stop” and “go” manually
Give me the yellow light, I know what to do
The green and red were illuminated, but that had to be an in-between
How come no one else thought of this cautionary sign?
I made traffic signals with three lights and electric
Making warnings and curbing accidents
Shame no one believed someone like me invented it
Much like other innovators, I was taken for granted long after I was laid to rest in Cleveland.
I hope others know who I am.