In My Write Mind
Somewhere, in the recesses of lower Manhattan, south of Houston Street, past the Gray's Papaya and not too far from one of the many Gap stores in the area, if you listen closely enough, you can hear it. If you press your ear close enough to the pavement outside of your place of residence, if you turn off all engines and fans and air conditioners and kitchen appliances... you can hear it, I swear... even if only faintly.
Do you hear it?
You don't? Really? Strange... I still do. And I'm here to warn you, hold up signs, prophesy... whatever necessary to make you understand. I have to make it clear to you that a few weeks ago (I know I'm late, but I truly needed a few weeks to recover and reconcile all of my thoughts), I saw firsthand (and unfortunately firstear) the coming of the 2Pacalypse.
And Hip Hop Karaoke brought it on.
Now I know what you're saying... But Will, you've blogged about karaoke before. You love karaoke. Yes. Guilty. I've always wanted to be able to sing. Karaoke is an outlet that keeps on giving... surrounded by a room full of fellow non-singers, all hopped up on liquid courage and a screen full of lyrics you NEVER knew were in the song... it's GREAT!!!
So when my friend Rockin' Robyn called and said, "Hey, there's a spot downtown that does hip hop karaoke," I said to myself, "Self, you love karaoke... and you have an affinity toward hip hop. This could work." Should work. So I said, "Rockin, I'm IN!"
It started out innocently enough. Picture a standard auditorium that could just as easily be used for dinner theater as it could for a Tyler Pe.rry stage play. No chairs, except for a few bar stools up against the wall. The stage--brightly lit, in fact the only light in the darkened room--was 5 feet above ground, holding turntables to the left, and mic stands for up to five individuals to the right. The host was a mighty sailing man, the DJ brave and sure...oh, wait...sorry, Chilligan's Island was on.
The host was mulatto, a B-boy, it seemed, from way back. The way he spoke it, felt it... you could tell that hip hop was in his blood. He got the party started right with his rendition of Black Sheep's "The Choice Is Yours." It's the perfect crowd-hyping song... and he actually knew all the words. But ummmm... he was the host. He better had knew 'em. LOL
The DJ was on point, Tip. Dude knew the words to all the records, spent most of the night diggin' in the crates, supplying the rhythmic crack that the crowd and, errr, "performers" lusted after. Sure he was white. Sooooo? Let me put it this way... if one of the Be.astie Bo.ys' sons were to become a DJ, this would probably be him. LOL
This, my friends... is where the "flattery and kind words" portion of the program concludes.
What I witnessed next... is almost beyond description. But I'll try...
Here's how Hip Hop Karaoke (HHK) works. Yes, the concept is the same. You get on stage, sing (or scream) your lungs out to the stylings of your favorite artist to the polite applause of total strangers and drunk colleagues/homies. Here's where it goes horribly wrong. Unlike regular karaoke, with HHK, you go sign up to rap and are given laminated sheets with the lyrics to your selection. Then, in the time in between sign-up and performance, you are asked to MEMORIZE THE LYRICS. *sigh*
Add some liquid courage to the festivities, plus the rule that there is no freestyling allowed... and you have a recipe for disaster that may include the commitment of Hip Hop Hari Kari. Oke. (Just shoot me.) The crowd is made up of a rainbow of bodies... brown NOT being a primary color, if you know what I mean. LOL So, with that said, and with the brown people occupying one group of chairs to the left, I think you can tell how much I was about to enjoy myself. How great it sounded to be subjected to yelling and cuss words for an entire evening. Oh...joy.
OK...I've set the scene. Now... keeping your ear to the pavement (just keep listening, dammit...lol), let's review the first few people that came to the stage... see if you can hear what I heard that night two weeks ago that has forever traumatized me... *deep breath*
First up, is Jerry. The thick glasses, the receding hairline, the A&F attire... of course, the first person you think of... is Ludacris, right?!?!? Yeah... and when I heard the music start playing, I thought he must've been... playing. But alas, he wasn't. Yup... "Move, Bitch" filled the room. As did Jerry's mouth, which simultaneously devoured the microphone and a girl in the front row. Lawd.
(It's funny...but right after that performance, I could've sworn I heard galloping... like, from a distance. Do you hear that? Maybe I'm trippin'. On with the show...)
Next up, I belee dat's Zach. From Long Island. Apparently, he's a regular at the HHK. The host said so. And Zach is here to do his regular. Dressed in all black for his homies, the 5'7 caucasian accountant from the 'burbs let everyone within earshot know that he had "99 Problems," with being signed to Tone-Deaf Jam not one.
(Speaking of tone, the galloping sound I'd heard before was getting stronger, closer. Like... horses or something. Nah...can't be that. This is hip hop, not clip clop...let the show go on!)
Ladies and Gentlemen...meet Lili and Katie. From Jersey. They bounded on stage with a mission in mind. To shock the world. Mission.accomplished. I don't even think I can explain what I expected from these two. The blond hair, the matching floral sun dresses, the long legs, the proper speaking voices... maybe a diddy from Mase... or Young MC, perhaps? Hellus nous. Kate Rock and Lil' Smooth did their rendition of *sigh* "Still D.R.E." And knew only maybe ten words to the song combined. *rubbing temples*
(WTH?!?!? Those gallops...they sound so close I could reach out and touch them...sounds like a pack... I coulda sworn I just heard a horse whinny... and a Biggie beat? I think I seriously need to leave this place... apparently it's driven me crazy...)
It was like a high-pitched alarm that I couldn't escape or turn off... I was fixated on the brutality and stomping that was inflicted upon these songs that I loved once, never to listen to again. After the hip hop debutantes, I figured it could get no worse... boy was I wrong.
Walking to the stage... Jenny and her "hype girl" Jan. Korean? Maybe. Chinese? Not likely. Something about the features screamed Korean. *huddling with family and hearing third strike for the other team* "We're gonna go with Korean, Richard." Survey SAYS...LOL Both standing at around 4 foot 11 with smiles wider than their frames, the two ladies looked more like wrappers than rappers. Their meekness meant nothing to me. I've spent the whole night being fooled by appearances. I was ready for anything.
Or so I thought.
These two young ladies... from the Lower East Side... proceeded to give "big ups to Brooklyn"... and flawlessly execute... "Hypnotize." Yes, that "Hypnotize." And seriously, if this had been a competition, they probably would've won. Still, though, while they were in the middle of the song, even while Jenny was punctuating the Ungnnh!, B.I.G. style... I heard it again. Clearly this time.
Can you hear it? It can't be just me. Is your ear where I told you to put it? If so, then listen closely... *cough* Is that dust kicking up? Could it really be horses? Yup. It sure is. Sounds like four of 'em. And they're getting closer and closer. You know what that means... the 2Pacalypse can't be too far behind.
*celebration breaks out all o'er the land, choruses of "Brand New Day" from The Wiz fill the air*
What's the 2Pacalypse?!?!? Surely, you jest. It's the time when the four emcees from beyond come back and render judgment on all that is a mockery of what they created...what they loved. And... after just four people took the stage... after four "performances" that made this grown man cry... they were on their way. On horses.
And not a moment too soon.
If you listen closely, turn down the wack music, the lawn mower, the television... you can hear it, too. But you have to listen closely... and concentrate on lower Manhattan, south of Houston Street. Or in any town that has versions of this madness running rampant as if there is no price to pay.
Because although they haven't arrived just yet, the four emcees, or Biggie, Pun, 'Pac and Jay, as I like to call 'em, are closer than you think. Closer than the HHK suspects. And when they strike... could be this month, could be not... but soon...all debts will be paid. All laminated sheet music will be ripped up. All mics will be silenced for good.
And personally, I can't wait. Bring on the end of the mockery, the abomination! 2Pacalypse! Come quickly... I beg of you!
Hip Hop Karaoke... be forewarned. And drink some liquid courage. Your days are numbered.
scribbled by Will at 7/20/2005 07:36:00 PM
link | |
I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. (Joan Didion)
The Write One
Will. Lefty. Since Summer 1971. Over the next six months, I'll be saying some hellos, some goodbyes. Living, laughing, growing. Don't.miss.a.word.
More About Will
Even MORE About Will
It Was Written
They're All Write
THE FLOW MAGAZINE
NYC BLOGGER MEETUP: LABOR DAY
EJ da DJ
< < Blackblogz > >
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Who Links Here