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FIXME This article is a work in progress; It is currently not approved as canon.

Take The Lead

Hailing from the massively mighty Nepleslian Military Machine, the voices and logs of the punk-rap/industrial hip-hop band Take The Lead, incorporating lots of cryptic and dark lyrics taken from wartime experience. War is a constant facet of each of the band member's lives, whether they took up arms with the Nepleslian Space Marine Corps, Nepleslian Star Navy, a gang, private military contractors, or off on their own battles.


Having formed during the First Mishhuvurthyar War informally aboard a Nepleslian Empire Navy ship, Steven Barnes and William Cheng were both soldiers involved in battles against Mishhuvurthyar in Nepleslia. Sometimes the fighting grew so intense that the gangs of Nepleslia went fighting with the soldiers. Worse still, Nepleslia was also fighting against the Reds, so fellow men were spilling each other's blood senselessly. All of these wars were fertile grounds for imagery that inspired Take The Lead's form of artistry.

Both Barnes and Cheng fought in those wars and spent their downtime rapping at each other, usually in fairly good-natured but highly aggressive rap slam battles. Soon, other soldiers were interested and started distributing videos of their performances at each other through the Nepleslian communications networks. When the Mishhu showed up for round two, Barnes and Cheng put their microphones down, picked up rifles, and found additional soldiers for their crew. Together, they got some new scars, wounds and experiences to sing about and discuss together.

With boxed crook Carl Hyde, engineer Daryl Keenan, and marine pointman Gill Fortesque as additions to the band, they continued working via communications to create new songs - though their deployments were in vastly different locales. Of note, Keenan was charged with misusing military-grade communications, but the conviction didn't stick when an officer saw the extent of the operation and what it was producing, noting that this is 'the right message' for Nepleslians. The band that'd lived through the birth of an Imperium and two wars against tentacled bastards decided to cement it by finding a record label and going, in Steven Barne's words 'go apeshit'.

In YE 34 though, William Cheng was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Funky City as he left the record company. Fans and the Take the Lead crew lamented his death, and kept on singing about fighting and war - because that's what Cheng would've wanted. However, a dirty rumour circulates that Steven Barnes had some involvement in Cheng's death, but they haven't been substantiated.

Noteworthy Songs

  • Pissing in the wind (1:43) - A very short, with minimal instruments, basically Barnes and Cheng shooting the breeze lyrically about urination. In the ship's head, in a portable toilet, against a wall in a warzone, into a bottle, or against a dead Mishhu crab.
  • Catpile (3:02) - Oppressively smothering lyrics from Barnes and Cheng talk about the pervasive cultural hegemony of Yamataian assimilation and occupation. They almost sound matronly together. Of note, sounds were sampled from the operation of a Mindy, as seen in training videos.
  • The Blood is, Too (2:28) - A song about the Reds and how they'll be screwed by the Greens for licking at the cats. Some attention is drawn towards the claustrophobic jungle fighting on the marshy planet of Kennewes.
  • Chase (4:40) - Penned by Hyde, Chase tells the story of someone like him, who had ambitions for a clean life, but was dragged down by gang violence and fell into a cycle of killing and vengeance. The simulated sound of ear damage is used throughout when the violence happens.
  • Night Terrors (5:25) - Written by Fortesque and performed by Keenan and Hyde, Keenan and Hyde talk of the night terrors the crew shared together while Barnes makes a demonic growling noise throughout, occasionally making full blown screeches.
  • Clusterfuck (2:26) - An aural assault of the sounds of war, punctuated with screams of pain. String Smasher's Gibson and Brinkman were brought in to create the perfect hailstorm of terrible noise.
  • On Droksin (2:22) - Decidedly coma-like with slurred lyrics, the downturned and mechanical sounds of slowed-down drums simulate how each of the band members felt when they were receiving medical treatments. When performed live, the band members ingest quantities of medical drugs to get that slurred performance just right.

Band Members

Here are the current and previous members of Take the Lead.

Steven Barnes

A hulking pure-blood ID-SOL vocalist and the leader of the band, using his natural talents at strength, a booming voice, and frequently appearing on stage shirtless and shrugging off smallarms fire with an artificial ribcage. His service record goes into all the shittiest battles of the Second Mishhuvurthyar War that Nepleslia had to face, and sometimes he even performs in his old FIRE.

He is known to share tea with Aoi Tanaka despite the two artists having vastly differing styles. He also holds degrees in mathematics and physics.

Carl Hyde

Secondary rapper who came from much less dignified, but no less spirited fighting stock. Having grown up around violence all his life in numerous gang wars and battles, Carl was caught by the long arm of the law and boxed into a penal unit. He managed to survive long enough to get a proper cut of the Marines, where he excelled as a competent grunt - as he always had been in the gang.

Carl enjoys playing sports too, and had ambitions to be a basketballer before gang violence dragged him down.

Daryl Keenan

Tertiary rapper and keyboardist. Came from a richer family of mechanics and traders responsible for managing motorbike chop shops around Nepleslia, Keenan's Hot Rods. When he saw news footage in YE31 of one of his family's shops being destroyed, he had to take action. He served as an armourer and engineer for a few ships.

He often gets flak for being a softer member of the more hard-headed band members, but he has punched out his fair share of fans who bring up his cushy upbringing in negative.

Gill Fortesque

Currently serving as the band's instrumentalist and mixer, he uses frequent samplings from the battlefield, such as explosions, whizzing bullets, crackling lasers, launching missiles, and stomping feet from power armour. He has post-traumatic from some of the things he's had to bear witness to, and one of his psychs suggested music therapy.

He is glad to have taken control of his condition with Take the Lead, releasing his experiences constructively.

William Cheng

William Cheng had served in both Mishhuvurthyar wars, being both NMSC and Navy, as well as having some serious proto-Nepleslian involvement in the colony ship that landed on what would become Funky City. He was known to have worked under Robert Davis. It was never cleared up what his exact involvement was, and he never talked about it much in public, only ever alluding to a time much more confusing and chaotic - a world without the Imperium.

Cheng was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Funky City in YE 34. A couple of years since his death, people consider Steven Barnes to be involved…

Taro Shiguchi

An ex-member of Take the Lead who tried joining in YE 33, because he felt as though he had something to say about fighting against the Mishhu in Yamataian controlled colonies. He was booed off stage by the audience on his first night on stage despite having sick rhymes. He flipped out, went berserk and ended up maiming three concert goers, concussing four more, and stabbing two others before being dogpiled, held down, and beaten to a pulp.

He had a Soul backup handy, but he still regrets his involvement with the band, and moved on to singing smooth jazz instead.

Notable Tours and Performances

Take The Lead will perform wherever there's a stage and lots and lots of speakers

  • YE28 - Go Out And Kill - A video archive of Barnes and Cheng's rap battles, widely circulated throughout the InterNep. Its not uncommon for the videos to be used as a video codec test, due to how many different formats and angles the videos were shot in. A 'remastered' version was released in YE 30.
  • YE31 - Fuck 'Em - A Mixtape released during the Second Mishhuvurthyar War, recorded semi-anonymously and left around during a shore leave Cheng and Barnes were together on. In so many words, they told the Mishhu where to stick it because they couldn't find it the first time.
  • YE33 - Lonesome Rifles - Alluding to the practice of making a gravestone out of a fallen soldier's rifle, this performance requested that all concert-goers bought a rifle with them to make a grave out of, and to make a graveyard when the performance finished. Three 'graveyards' were erected, and when they were taken down a year later, the rifles were donated to gun charity.
  • YE34 - Big Enough Tombstone - An album dedicated to the end of the Second Mishhu War. A cut of the profits from this album went towards creating the eponymous tombstone, a memorial in Prime City. Lots and lots of money was raised for the project, and a big enough tombstone was created. In YE 35, William Cheng's name was engraved onto the bottom.
  • YE36 - Black Antebellum - After the Imperium entered DATASS, a masked Lorath rapper was invited to do a slam segment during a performance, speaking in his native tongue with quick-fingered translation at the ready. Even with the rapper slipping into dialect speech occasionally, the translators kept up and the audience could feel the violence in the rapper's voice. Nobody knows who they were though.

OOC Notes

Luca created this article on 2016/01/04 01:11.


Listen to these bands and their songs if you want to get an idea of how Take the Lead sounds.

  • Death Grips - The Powers that B, Big Dipper, Inanimate Sensation, Guillotine (It Goes Yah), You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for…
  • The Chemical Brothers - Left Right, Galvanise, Hey Boy Hey Girl
  • Hella - Better Get A Broom!, The Devil Isn't Red, Bigtime and the Kid

media/take_the_lead.txt · Last modified: 2019/05/05 15:36 by wes