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Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Currently Writing This Piece... Part II

I know, I know... It's been a week since I gave you the first part in the saga of that kid going to that party and thangs. It's been a hectic week since I threw things at you. In the words of Grand Puba Maxwell: Sorry I left you!

There have been some things that kept me away from the story and I'll blog about that when it's time. I got some serious stuff happening over here in the Chi and trust me fam, I will address that in due time. I need time y'all. Keeping true to form as I mentioned last week I will compose this joint as I go along throughout the day. As I type this it is 4:17 in the AM Tuesday morning and I just let this little piece flow from my head at about 3am. I have early morning physical therapy going on today along with a hospital visit and me doing my volunteering thing at the Children's hospital right across the street from where all the medical tests are happening. I'll keep you posted, and when I get home, I will continue the live blogging experiment. But for now... Part II

3:09am
"C'mon man, you're kinda' early, we haven't started yet", Tammi says as she tugs on his jacket. She grabs him by the wrist and begins shuffling through the packed basement crowd. If this was early he thought, then it was sure to be packed like sardines by night's end. The basement had three sections, the rear area in which he entered looked like a wash area with washer and dryer giving that away. This was a vestibule of sorts, there were kids hanging in this area, going in and out of the party to the back yard of Tammi's house. There was a lot of chatter going on in this section because the music wasn't as loud as it was in other sections. Moving torward the front of the basement, they walked through a pack of dancing folk, grinding and working up buckets of sweat to the grooves that came from the multiple speakers scattered throughout this section of the basement. It was so dark and rightfully so, he noticed through the flicker of the strobe light that if it weren't for some remaining pieces of cloth on certain people, a lot of children would be born from activity on this night.

He was doing his best in casing the party, looking to find a few people he knew but trailing from behind he was distracted by Tammi's outfit. So happy that he came and so eager lead him to the mystery at the front of the basement she had no clue that he was checking her out. She outfitted herself in the most perfect pair of form fitting jeans she could find, her backside catching his eye and meeting his approval. Trailing throughout the crowd right behind her he had a full view. The t-shirt tied off at her navel was blocked by the unzipped sweat suit top that draped to her waist. He noticed that she was rocking two belts, one that helped her jeans hold in all of the thickness that caught his eye and another draped across her hips complete with a nameplate weighing it down in front. His eyes followed her form all the way down to her ankles where she sported the cutest pair of shelltop sneakers he has ever seen, pink and white fat laces complimenting her striped pink jacket and matching sunglasses keeping her hair from obstructing her view.

His thought process on Tammi and the efforts she went through to put on her jeans on was abruptly interrupted when he ran into the posse he hung out with at school. "How you living?" shouted his friend Poppy as he extended his hand, "Good to see you dog!" his homeboy Sandy yelled over the music while giving a handslap. He bumped elbows with his partner Wayne and gave a head nod to the tall, quiet brother Enyo standing near the speakers with a drink in his hand. All of the guys from outside his neighborhood that went to his school were there. These were the kids he tried so hard to get along with and share a little commonality during the school day, but never at a party. In his mind he wondered what took them so long to invite him to a gathering like this, but really he didn't care. He was in the house now and the party was just starting to jump off. After shaking countless hands and getting hugs from about a crew of twenty, he glanced at the makeshift DJ booth near the front of the basement and saw his man Al spinning new music he hadn't heard before. As he glanced in that direction Tammi said: "I know, we're about to go over there so we can get things started". He wished he knew what she meant by that.

The path to the DJ booth was a hard one to navigate. At these parties, droves of 'heads' gathered around the sound selector in an almost trance-like state watching the DJ spin his grooves. It was like Al had his own fan club. A head, or hip hop head was a guy or girl that probably came to the party alone just to hear the DJ play new records and watch him spin. A DJ had to be crafty, so he or she would place plain white labels over the labeling on the middle of the records in an attempt to hide what they were playing. Couldn't let anyone find out the names, record labels or groups that made the songs, each turntablist has his or her own way of blending grooves that makes that makes their style unique. He remembered traveling far and wide with Al in the weeks leading up to the party, going places he never expected to cop records from. All the hot new music along with old grooves kept a disk jockey fresh in the minds of partygoers. New music mixed with old favorites drives the crowds wild, and white labels on the records will keep them guessing what song is what and who made the it. Blame it on the boogie.

3:38am
As Tammi leads him away from the crowd of football players, basketball hoopers and other kids too cool to be seen in a sweaty uniform he noticed that the dance floor near the booth was packed with all the girls he broke his neck to get a glance at school. He seemed surprised that he got waves and shoulder taps from the ladies, he even had to stop and dole out a hug or two. He said hi to Cynthia the one that got away, tapped the shoulder of his old crush Angela and bear hugged his girl Sharon (the clique called her Bookie) who was the rightfully self appointed ambassador of style and grace at school. With music cranking loudly from the speakers, strobe lights quickly illuminating darkness with every drumbeat, pretty women lining every inch of the basement and yard areas and his crew of compadres, he knew that this would be a night to remember and reminded himself to savor this moment. If he stayed out too late, this would be the last party he would ever attend, and he is a long way from home.

He remembered that he had cab fare his dad gave him earlier that evening while watching the basketball game. His pops gave knew that look in his face as he prepared his outfit, making sure his sneakers were crisp and clean for the evening. Pops also knew that it would take a lot to pull his son away from whatever this special event he was going to, so he slid him a twenty dollar bill and told him: "Whatever it takes son, just get back here before your mother wakes up. I know you want to have fun, I know your friends are there, but don't let them get you in a world of hurt. If you need to get a taxi call Jiffy Cab and ask for Mr. Graves. I went to school with that old man and I know he'll get you here in one piece. Stay off that subway."

Reassured that the twenty spot his dad gave him could save him from severe punishment, he put a little pep in his strut behind Tammi. Slapping hands, giving high fives and receiving hugs from all of these kids felt good and then it hit him. Exactly what were they giving him all of this love for? At that moment he gave a perplexed look to his friend as Al looked up from his work on the turntables and said: "It's about time you got here man, you ready to work?"

2:05pm
"Ready for what, man? Y'all got me sweating over here! What's the fuss with all of this..." He was interrupted by Tammi asking him about the 'bathroom thing' and he flashed back:

It was about one o'clock and the halls of the school was quiet. There were six boys in the large school bathroom in a circle, or cipher as they call it. The tall kid with the letterman sweater had his head thrown back and was rocking side to side like he wanted to seize. He was doing his best to emulate the electronic drum sounds heard on his favorite rap records. There was an echo that reverberated his faux beatbox across the large, mostly marble latrine. The other boys also rocked back and forth to the rhythm that the human drum machine expelled from his mouth. Hand claps and ad libs were heard and that sound also echoed, giving the essence of a real, live rap record. It was a contest between two kids that started off trading notes with small poems on them which eventually exploded into an all out rhyme war. Nothing was off limits to rap about. These two kids would get together and try to rhyme about anything they could think of in order to one up the other. The freestyling contest went on for weeks... At the bus stop after school, in the lunchroom during break, in the lockeroom after gym class. Everybody heard about the quick rhymes and clever lines these two kids used to outwit each other. One day it was established that there would be a final 'rap off' and a champion would be crowned. It was to be witnessed by only a chosen few but what happened in that large lavatory that day would go on to become a part of school lore and be fresh on the minds of anyone who attended Tammi's next party because they both were invited to be there.

7 comments:

aquababie said...

more...more...more!

Ms_SoCal said...

Got me all excited ... wanting more!

deepnthought said...

More please.

princessdominique said...

Gimme more too! You are flowing lovely over there.

The Stiltwalker said...

ok I would read this but its too long. lol.;)

Luke Cage said...

Not bad brotha Hassan. Not bad at all. Talk about hook, line and sinker man. You're on a roll, don't stop now. Both combatants invited to be there??? What a cliff hanger! Don't keep us waiting...

brooklyn babe said...

I was at the same party with Tammi...