T-pisode 25: Hip Hop Life

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I love hip hop. Been a fan since it started. From Run DMC to LL to Kool Moe Dee to the Beastie Boys in the beginning to the controversy of NWA & Ice-T & 2 Live Crew to the political messages of Public Enemy & KRS-One to the corniness of Vanilla Ice & Digital Underground & MC Hammer. Just watch what I do when challenged to a “You Can’t Touch This” dance off. It’s like Hammer’s ghost takes over my body. And the man isn’t even dead yet. To the re-submergence of East Coast rap with Biggie & Jay-Z & Nas to the East Coast/West Coast battle between Bad Boy & Death Row to the evolution of the South from No Limit & The Hot Boyz to the current state of hip hop with Eminem & Lil’ Wayne & Kanye & Ludacris & 50 Cent & Rick Ross & T.I. My iPod is stacked with hip hop. I have over 6,000 songs and at least 70% is rap. All the classics! “Radio”, “License to Ill”, “All Eyez on Me”, “Ready to Die”, “Life After Death”, “Doggie Style”, “Straight Outta Compton” and every single Jay-Z album from “Reasonable Doubt” to “Blueprint 3”!

Hip hop music and movies have always been a big part of my life. Growing up, my boys and I would always drive around blasting rap from giant stolen bass tubes, amps and woofers letting people know we were coming from 3 blocks away! We’d go see “New Jack City”, “Boyz In Da Hood”, “Menace to Society”, “Poetic Justice”, “Juice”, “Above the Rim” in theaters where fights, stabbings and shootings would occur. It was the norm for us. We used to hop on Greyhound and Peter Pan buses to New York City just so we could go see Marcy Projects, Queensbridge and Harlem. We didn’t give a fuck. We took the ferry over to Wu-Wear and we had to be buzzed into the store! Three white Boston boys walking in without a care in the world. The music stopped playing. But we had to get those Wu-Tang Forever and Butter Pecan t-shirts! Then we had lunch with Cappadonna. (Look him up if you don’t know.) My cousin and I bought “Reasonable Doubt” back in 96 from Dame Dash selling it out of the trunk of his caddy before Jay even had that Roc-a-fella deal. Years later I found myself partying with Ghostface Killa atop of Ghost Bar in Vegas drinking Scooby-Doos & Incredible Hulks wearing his spinning Wu medallion around my neck as he yelled at me “You fuckin’ crazy Nasty T from Boston!” As I replied “You have no idea Ghost! I will cut somebody!” And we shared a good laugh.

I remember the night at my cousin’s house watching the Tyson fight and after it all of our pagers going off when Tupac got shot. One of them was my mother! She did buy me “The Chronic” after all. The album. Not the weed. I got her 911911911 page and called her. “Ma, what’s wrong?!” All nervous. She goes “You know they got 2Pac right?! It’s on now!” It sucked that 2Pac got shot and later died but I still laugh at that phone call. I got an almost identical page about six months later driving around. Didn’t even get to say a word when I called. “Now they got Biggie!!! It’s horrible! Are you coming home tonight or are you doing something bad?!” Classic. I’m a grown man now. And hip hop has grown too. Maybe the MCs aren’t as great as they used to be. The lyrics not as profound. The messages have changed. But still. It’s hip hop. And I never liked it when people say “You still listen to rap?!” How come nobody asks that about any other type of music? I will always listen to rap. My boys still do. My nieces & nephew do. And my kids will one day too. Can’t wait to call my future son up one day and say “Aw shit son! They smoked Lil’ Wayne Jr.! It’s on nowww!!!”

Until next time. Always take it there.