All this scratchin’ is makin’ me itch – DJ Qbert
1983 sucks hard.
Because I’m fat.
Because I’m poor.
Because my mom is bedridden and we live in a 1 bedroom duplex in one of the richest neighborhoods in Southern California.
In lieu of a car, I drag a shopping cart across the street to the laundry and grocery store. BIGGEST REASON I NEED THERAPY, btw.
No matter. I hear that first beat break on ‘It’s Like That’ and I am a different person.
Not the girl who started 9th grade with some bullshit B-52’s sticker on my Pee-Cee.
Oh Hell to the niz
I hear the calling. It’s War at 33 1/3.
The confidence I lack is replaced by a bass-line. I can’t find the nerve tell you to fuck right off for calling me fat, but you can believe that I am battling you in my brain.
Leigh Anne Rutkin, I’m talking to you.
Peter Piper picked peppers and Run rocked rhymes – Run DMC
In 1983, I love me some cheese-ass R & B. Solid Gold and Soul Train are my favorite shows. I have every Prince and Michael Jackson record and I’m totally into Freakazoid by Midnight Starr.
This new genre doesn’t have a name. Our parents have never heard of it. This is music with a nutsack.
Hello, LL Cool J. Shirtless and sweaty, pounding on your chest and talking about your dick FOR REAL. If LL wants to fuck me he’ll tell me. Or maybe grunt and grab himself. He won’t waste my time whimpering about a Little Red Corvette.
I remember when no white boy wears shell-toed Adidas, only Stan Smith or Rod Lavers. When your pants are firmly pulled up over your ass unless you are homeless. There must be something broken loose inside my water polo-playing classmates as well, their fancy Vespas are replaced by huge radios that they carry to swim meets and tennis tournaments.
Everyone tries scratching at home. Everyone pisses off their parents who have to replace the needles when it doesn’t work.
Eazy-E’s fucked up and got the 8 ball rollin’ – Eric Wright
At the end of the 80’s, the innocence of the electric boogaloo has been rolled over by the 20-inch rims of South Central and Oakland. Rap has a name now and it is a different breed of pitbull. This dawg comes with an Uzi and a drive-by. All of a sudden it isn’t safe to go to certain concerts or movies if you’re a white girl like me. We all hear about a new kind of cocaine that will turn you into Flavor-Flav if you even so much as LOOK at it. Strawberry gets a new definition and sales of malt liquor skyrocket. I made that last part up. I don’t really know if people bought more beer.
Trips are made downtown to 9th & Olympic where I buy schwag and gas from the Chevron on the corner. Straight Outta Compton is on the Celica stereo, fostering a swagger and a stupidity that only a 21 year old is capable of possessing. Nights are spent bent over a mirror. Everyone’s pants are eight sizes too big.
Mowin’ down MC’s like we’re mowin’ the lawn – Beastie Boys
It’s around this time that I move to Seattle and I watch the riots on TV in my tiny apartment while I wonder how much Ice's Cube and T have to do with this. Between school and work I am in a kitchen 14 hrs. a day. My flannel-clad brethren at work is into Soundgarden. Rap becomes a side-dish again. When a group like Arrested Development or Digable Planets come around, they’re embraced for a few weeks, they fade away and the guitars turn back up. Few original sounds and then God-bless-the-Jew-fro, the Beastie Boys pick up some instruments, and blow the world away with Check Your Head. Add Cypress Hill, Wu-Tang & Snoop and you get something people are now calling hip-hop and taking a serious as a heart attack. Now folks are using their vocabularies instead of their dicks. Work becomes fun again when Mudhoney is traded for Jazzmatazz.
Lollapalooza 1992. I think my brain will explode with idea of Ice Cube, now AAAmerika’s Most Wanted, playing a show with Pearl Jam!!!!! Plus the drugs. Oh lord, the drugs. So much weed is being smoked, I wonder why Seattle only has 1 hip-hop group worth a crap. I have pee on my ankle (inside joke)
Until the Cash Money crew comes along, this new wave kills the terrible era of gangster rap where a single track gets looped while Too Short’s cousin’s uncle tells me how he shot a bitch and drank a 40.
‘Cause I’m superfly when I’m super high on the Fu-Gee-La – Lauryn Hill
RCKNDY. The only thing that stands between me & every band I love on a 20 ft. wide stage is a long-haired man in a blue-plaid shirt. His name is Jesse. My nickname is “Plus One”. George Clinton grabs my hand and gives it a squeeze. He wears a caftan made of Mickey Mouse sheets. Flavor Flav’s clock is RIGHTTHEFUCKTHERE about 3 feet in front of me. Ice-T screams Cop Killer and I am covered in his sweat. Name them. I see them. I cook fried chicken for lots of them. Chuck D. loves it. Wyclef thinks I'm making a racial statement. This is the time of my life.
Honeys play me close like butter play toast / from the Mississippi down to the east coast - Notorious BIG
I have my heart broken twice in the nineties. A big black man from New York is my rebound. Christopher
George Latour Wallace. Keats in Karl Kani. Guardian Angel. Greatest rapper of all time. It’s not twice as hard for fat people. It’s fifty times as hard. You don’t want to stand out because that’s one more chance for people to make fun of you. It’s hardly expected for an MC to hold his own in a battle when the easy target is the size of his ass. He becomes a Grammy-winning multi-millionaire. I hold my phone to my speakers to capture his daughter telling ‘all these hoes, stay off my daddy’s dick’. I don’t know what kind of message this is to leave and I don’t care. I walk to work in the snow up a hill 2 miles. All I need is my headphones and the bag of weed that is waiting for me at home. I'm Travis Bickle. I listen to Ready to Die until it wears out and by then I am invincible. None of you will ever fuck with me again.
And put one of those fingers on each hand up – Eminem
Marshall Mathers. Marisa Miller. You see how we’re practically married already?
When Eminem comes along I am coming into my own as a private caterer in Seattle. I lose piles of weight from having my heart snapped in half (see above) and I decide the next logical step is to move back to LA and marry Eminem. We have so many similar viewpoints and the same initials and our spawn are going to be blue-eyed and foul-mouthed. I am willing to settle for Ben Affleck if things don’t work out.
I get a job at Frank Sinatra’s beach house cooking for his widow. Danny DeVito lives next door. I get in my Saab and drive up to Oxnard listening to 8 Mile. I wonder where my boyfriend is. The grocery store is a Hollywood revelation. Pam Anderson and Kid Rock buy muffins. EddieVan Halen cuts me off then checks me out in his Rambo Lambo. Life is a Mamas and Papas song. Casa Sinatra is an iron fortress from which there is no escape. I watch my boyfriend win an Oscar. It will turn out that the girl he ends up with is a kind of homely tomboy who is good friends w/ some of my Seattle posse. Strange circles. And proof that anything is possible. I don't ever meet him but I do cook for Guy Ritchie which is almost like fulfilling my dream of cooking for his ex-wife. And I end up falling in love with the nephew of two real live movie stars.
I stuck my dick inside this life until that bitch came – Kanye West
I eventually move in with my 24 year-old boyfriend who doesn’t think it at all strange when his 35 year-old girlfriend quotes Tupac. I get pregnant and for some reason I cannot get enough beats. I listen to the Game and 50 Cent all day long and this tiny shrimp in my tummy dances. When he hatches, it turns out he is incredible at handstands and can spin on his head by age 4. Coincidence? I think not.
I face a dilemma at 43 when I realize that I can’t get away with listening to songs with lyrics like the one above. Can’t have Evan calling his teacher a ho. Taylor Swift doesn’t cut it. As if she ever could.
My soul wears a tracksuit to it’s funeral.
We'll walk right up to the sun, hand in hand - Lauryn Hill/Nas
I hope my son has a moment like I did. That he is witness to a revolution that moves his mind and his feet.
I was born from hip hop. I was there when it was born.