The worlds of magic and hip-hop collide in rapper and producer Charles “Butter B” Jackson’s new track “How That Works” — a tribute to local mentalist and magician Dan Cain.
With the video posted on YouTube and song available on iTunes, Cain is pumped to use the mildly-eerie “How That Works” as a soundtrack for future videos and performances that cater to a youthful audience.
And considering he and Butter B — who became pals about two years ago — haven’t heard another track that merges magic with rap, Cain, of Hartly, who often gigs in Smyrna, believes the unique tune has the potential to inspire others.
“This is perfect,” Cain, 38, said of the song. “I think it would be a wonderful gift for the younger crowd. It would entice them to look into magic more and how two totally different arts can come together and be something great.”
Rap meets magic
Since catching one of Cain’s acts at the Fire & Ice Lounge at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino about two years ago, then introducing himself after the show, Butter B and Cain instantly developed a friendship, as the two shared a mutual respect for one another’s talents.
They’d mostly keep in touch via phone and Facebook, discussing everything from ‘90s rap and mentalism to family life.
“We’ve always talked on and off,” explained Butter B, 28, of Dover. “He’ll throw quotes at me from A Tribe Called Quest song. He’ll throw A Tribe quote at me or a 3rd Bass quote and see if I catch it. Then I’ll joke with him and we might end up talking about hip-hop or ‘Hey, what are you getting your daughter for Christmas?’”
How it started
Early this summer, Cain suggested Butter B build a theme song for him based on his popular catchphrase: “I don’t even know how that works,” Cain said. The aforementioned quote serves as the sarcastic response Cain usually offers once baffled spectators question how he’s able to execute a magic trick or is able to demonstrate his mentalist skills after they catch of one of his shows.
Specifically, Cain suggested Butter sample an audio clip of him reciting his quote during one of his street performances from his video “Dan Cain Drunk Monkey 12.” Cain envisioned the sample being a potential hook for the theme song — something he could use as background music for his forthcoming videos.
Page 2 of 2 - “He gave me the idea and I just thought about it for about a month,” Butter B said. “I had a couple ideas in mind. There’s this old rock ‘n’ roll song ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper.’ I was thinking of using that, but then I said, ‘No, I don’t want to use any samples’ because Dan was telling me about using the song for his videos and stuff, so I was like, ‘No, I’m not going to do that.’ So I just made everything original.”
He crafted the beat with his Triton Le keyboard.
“You figure the [strings] have a suspenseful feel to it, so I figured that would work, because that’s what Dan does — a whole bunch of suspenseful things,” Butter B explained.
Nearly two-and-a-half weeks ago, the ball of creativity got rolling for Butter B to pen the song. It started during an impromptu phone call with Cain a week prior, where the rapper introduced the rhyme: “Me and my team celebrating/We popping champagne/I’ll make your crew disappear… Dan Cain” and afterwards the magician/mentalist was consumed with glee about the lyrics, Butter B said.
On the morning of July 31, the track was a wrap.
That same day, Cain expediently posted the tune on YouTube, in which he compiled a slide show of his previous performances to go along with the track.
Cain said it’s possible he might debut the song during his show at the Brick Hotel in Georgetown on Sept. 15.
In the meantime, Cain said he’s digging the delicious combination of magic, mentalist and music.
“You put all three M’s together and it’s Mmm… good!”