“Before I see the lights, make sure you’re recording this one properly” , the mic screeched like a drift car on a NASCAR track. Sure it was loud enough, “shut it down, NOW!” Before Jackson could hear my voice over the shrill and disturbed tone, I grabbed the jack and pulled it out of the socket disconnecting the mic eventually.
“Man I thought you said hit the lights”, Jackson’s baffled tone was another one of his cluster bombs upon my ideas. “Plus we don’t have that much time man”, I looked at my watch 8:30pm Jackson was right after all. Before I could sum it all up and make rags to riches storyline, there was always that gloomy feeling of being caged by the orthodox society, the so-called ‘wise guys’. “Alright man I’ll see you in the morning, got some tuning to do in this”, the ink-stained paper had every emotion of mine imprinted on it, “and do me a favor please”
“Just keep the volume low next time, cause my eardrums ain’t that friendly to the screeching stuff”, Jackson climbed down the stairs with that evil smile every best friend gives. He surely was one painful guy for your lyrical desires but above all he was my friend. “Done with your noise?” the gloomy days haven’t passed yet, obviously my parents weren’t supportive to the idea of expressing what’s inside. Just like all other college going students, my name was already registered in the list of guys with decent salary packages and lives.
“I’ll uh…… wrap this up pretty quick, just lemme try one last time”, I requested. “Had there been good grades on your report card, I would’ve happily accepted every accolade of yours but it’s already enough son”, now that was something really depressing. Since the beginning of my 8th grade I was into literature, started writing stories on different dark characters I could imagine, the hip hop music already infected me so literature seemed to bond well with my mind. But when I stepped inside my house, the same fear would always prowl over me. I looked at my trophies and then changed the focus on my mother. Those trophies weren’t shining anymore.
Being the elder son from a middle class family was never easy, and I guess it never will be.
Before you open your eyes to see the rainbow, someone or the other would claim your future in the hands of the one and only hunter of all your creativity, the family relatives. It was like an epidemic, “my friend from the division told me about his son’s job. He’s a lawyer” my father broke the silence while we all were having dinner. It was obvious that it would all dawn upon me in the end “but here people show interest in blatantly showing themselves off among some cheap friends” he rattled again “you know his salary is nearly the same as his father….” he turned to mom and she gave him an attentive ear, that was a long night.
The next morning when I was packing my bag for the college lecture I got a message from Jackson. GOT SOME INTEL ON THE NEARBY HOOD, IT’S OPEN FOR ALL. STARTS TONIGHT AT 8, BE THERE, a seriously juicy opportunity. An open for all event happens only once or twice annually, but judging the course the family squabble had already taken. I wasn’t certain that I could see, let alone take part in the battle.
Later that evening at 6 I got a call from the emcee saying “your friend Jackson has put your name in the battle, last call. Are you in?”
“I’ll be there man”, somewhere amidst the tempest, my rhapsody’s boat was still afloat.
Finally when I heard the familiar honk of a car at 7:30, I understood it was time. I opened the door only to receive greetings by an old Mazda, “hop in, you probably don’t wanna be late for this”
Before I could open my mouth I heard my father asking who was it at the door, I looked back at him.
“Uh…..my friend, I’ll be back in 5”, I rammed the door shut and ran towards Jackson’s ride, “DRIVE
DRIVE!” I wasn’t planning on coming back in 5 minutes though.
Upon reaching Biggy’s Lair, that’s what they used to call the hood, I ran a curious scan over the people who were busy jumping to their own beats. Ambient lights coupled with slow riffed hip hop in the background was pure cocaine for me, Jackson was busy telling me all he knew about the hood while I was still scanning for serious competition.
Clouds of confusion started to diffuse into thin air when the emcee in his deep voice greeted everyone over the mic. “How’s y’all doin’ tonight, now we got some good competition here folks, you know the rules. I’ll flip the coin between the homies here, the one who wins grabs the mic in the first place. Alright here we go, the first battle tonight is between….” and the show started. The first battle erupted like a fireball, both the rappers spun verses dissing each other off, the crowd would shout “Owwwwww man” for every good rhyme, to my surprise, one of the contenders was a girl in her 16s I guess. Now that was some sort of dedication, that pumped me up with adrenaline. “And now women and gentlemen, for the next battle we have Dr.Razor up against Battle Borg”, I gave a final look to Jackson, his eyes were hoping to see something ballistic that night. The coin was tossed, I called my turn but unfortunately lost to Dr.Razor, the guy was a hunk of muscle. The beats finally filled the arena, even I couldn’t stop myself from grooving, “on and on I see some weird people off the floor……” Dr.Razor dissed me as much as he could, even the emcee laughed hard.
Finally he handed the mic to me with that “I’mma punch ya on the face” look. The beats rattled again but this time it wasn’t me but my anger spitting rhymes over the mic, I could hear people saying “man he’s good”. Jackson was shouting “my man my man” with the crowd until I gave a hardcore chorus and the crowd went wild. That was my first major evening, results were announced a day later so we had to go back home. It was already late, when I reached home I got bombarded with questions from the family but for the first time in my life I wasn’t paying any heed to them.
At 11:45pm I got another call from the same emcee I had met earlier that day “man is this Battle Borg”
“Yeah that’s me”
“Oh good, I’ll tell you what man you were fire, people had already declared you the winner so I guess you already know it, congratulations man. And um…if you’d like to hit the crib sometime, I got my studio open for ya, we can make good music man.” you don’t come to hear this easily, unlike all other stories that single battle against those inner demons of mine only gave me the strength I needed the most, I rang Jackson up “man I’m in, big time. He says, he wants to collaborate with me” what followed was a thrilling journey I’ll be telling y’all shortly.