I love living in New York City, an adult playground, because of the randomness that its never sleeping nights produce.
Last night, I went to the Kendrick Lamar show at SOBs. It was packed wall to wall with rap enthusiasts and industry folk. Hennessy freely provided unlimited drinks, handled and delivered by scantily clad Hennessy models, to all who wanted to imbibe its convincingly strong cognac. Overall, his performance was dope; his first performance at SOBs a few months earlier captured everyone’s attention with his sheer skills and potent potential. This time the brown had everyone’s focus scattered.
After the show, I met the editor in chief for XXL magazine. I met a beautiful, talented blogger/magazine writer/poet from Boston. I met the founders and creators of Rap Genius, who want to work with me to bring the exploration and analysis of rap lyrics into classrooms. Lastly, I met the star of the night, the newly minted ‘next big thing,’ conferred by current and past legends, Kendrick Lamar.
The best part of the night was when a few of my friends and I decided to head to the local diner. We ordered breakfast food galore. The tables were overrun with different kinds of pancakes, eggs, and meats. We filled the empty diner with raucous laughter, fueled by crazy jokes and recounts of previously unshared stories. At one point, my friend, while looking through his grown man book bag, took out his Beats by Dre. I had never used them, though it seems that everyone has. I plugged them up to my iphone and turned on Young Jeezy’s classic first album, Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101.
Suddenly, everyone seemed to be pantomiming. Their mouths were moving, they were making conversational gestures, but I had no idea what they were saying. All I could hear was Jeezy masterfully floating on top of the baseline and accompanying instrumentation. The rugged rhymes and thumping bass excited me, manifested through my uncontrollable bounce in the tight booth pew and apparent yelling of Jezzy’s famous ad libs, all while devouring chocolate chip pancakes.
One of my friends turned to a newly made acquaintance and pointed at me and shook his head. I removed the headphones to hear what he was saying.
“You would not believe me, but that man is an Ivy League educated teacher.”
“Two times over,” I added while turning my two fingers downward to form an A, to represent Atlanta, Jeezy’s hometown.
Another friend joked, “Our youth is in trouble if you are teaching them.”
I laughed to myself. Here was a moment in which the seemingly contradictions that make up who I am were outwardly open, and I felt great because I was enjoying my beats and breakfast.