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"I try to paint pictures," Coleman says, "and he'll just shoot a bullet through that canvas."
"I'd rather keep it raw and honest for myself because that's the only way that people will feel you," James says. "He's a little bit more calm and reserved and, honestly, a little bit more tasteful."
"Is tomorrow Thursday?" Coleman asks.
"It all blends together," James says.
It's about 3 p.m. They're hungry. They talk about going for steaks at Plaza III. They settle for the $2.99 meal deals at Church's Chicken.
James' left biceps is freshly tattooed with a pyramid with an all-seeing eye surrounded by a sea of flame — a basic, dollar-bill-style illuminati symbol — and the letters "COA," which were drawn by Coleman. The birthday gift from his girlfriend took three hours to complete. The script for the words "center of attention" is hard to read on purpose, James says. He wants people to really look at it.
On his right arm is a tattoo of an eagle and the word "freedom," which he says he got when he moved out of his parents' home at 17.
James meets Coleman at his apartment. Coleman works on a Jimmy John's "Italian Night Club" sandwich. James drinks an iced tea. They're going to a meet-and-greet with Tech N9ne, who's playing that night.
"It's the No. 1 way I'd want to spend my birthday," James says.
James and Coleman grew up idolizing Tech N9ne. Coleman modeled his style on the Kansas City rapper (along with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac). Now Coleman and James are working with Tech, who they say showed at their recent RecordBar show and proclaimed his approval.
After their performance that night, Tech bought shots. The party moved to the Riot Room for Caribou Lous. They made a makeshift VIP section on the patio to celebrate Tech's "Caribou Lou" single going gold.
Another night, the trio started at Luna and ended up at the Foundation. "We were all kind of messed up, and this fool gets onstage and starts rapping at the Foundation," Coleman says of James.
"I was trying to express myself," James explains.
"He starts freestylin', and then somebody was like, 'You've got to get off the stage,' " Coleman says. "They kick him off the stage, and this fool says, 'Who the fuck are you?' That shit was the most hilarious thing ever. Tech talks about that all of the time. We've got a song coming out with Tech called 'Who the Fuck Are You?' "
"It's probably not one of those things that I would have done in the past five or six months," James says.
James is already working on the sequel to Barz4Daze, and he says he's written a lot of it. "I'm going to try to knock that one out real quick after the first one comes out," he says. "I'm already in my stride."
But they say their focus is on a COA album. "That album is going to be crazy," James says.
A couple of days ago, Coleman released the first song off an R&B project he's almost done making, a come-on called "Believer." He and James smirk as the track plays on a laptop.
Your body is calling so you want to believe, Coleman sings in a smooth voice. I'll make you scream Jesus. I'll make you a believer ... Call me the messiah because I'm back for the second coming.