Friday, March 03, 2006

the scrotum i keep to my ears

i don't even know what had me thinking about him today. maybe it's the rain. watching the sky cry makes me think sad thoughts. that's the bad thing about having windows in my emotions are easily susceptible to the influence of mother nature's mercurial moods. sometimes i see raindrops crawling down the surface of the windows and it's almost like i feel them falling down my own cheeks.

this is one of those times. i feel like i'm crying only the tears are sliding down the crimson-bricked skin of the office building. all because i can't stop thinking about him.

i sit at my desk and stare at the monitor, thinking about when we first met. it was summer 1994 and i had just ended a romantic relationship with a guy named michael. unfortunately, michael hadn't taken it well and had proceeded to start stalking me. this was right around the time when o.j. did the cut up (or paid someone else to do it...), and women everywhere were scared. those of us sistas who were dealing with cats who didn't have it all together upstairs were getting threatened on the daily. o.j. had given those guys ideas on how to dispose of a worrisome heffa without having to do time for it. too bad those brothas forgot o.j. was under 'rich man' jurisdiction, which meant he wasn't just another negro living in the hood slashing up his baby's momma. he was a heisman trophy winner and former professional athlete who was perfectly content with living as the token oreo in an upper-class, elite environment. membership had its priviledges and o.j. was the mascot, which made him a member by default.

anyway, michael was stalking me and i was rarely venturing out of my house. my younger brother aswad was really worried, as he watched me lock myself in my room everyday after coming home from work. i know he felt helpless, but this was something i had to work through on my own. or so i thought. then one day i heard his voice coming through my bedroom wall.

"Live from Bedford-Stuyverson, the livest one
Representin BK to the fullest
Gats I pull it, bastards duckin when Big be buckin
Chickenheads be cluckin in my bathroom fuckin..."

what the fuck??

i jumped up from my prone position on my bed, my ears straining to hear more.

"It ain't nuttin, they know Big be handlin
with the mac in the Ac' door paneling
Bandaging MC's, oxygen they can't breathe
Mad tricks up the sleeve, red boxers so my dick can breathe..."

aswad evidently knew the lyrics cuz he was yelling right along with the cat. the guy who's voice sounded like he'd just been smoking a blunt or perhaps a couple of squares before he got on the mic. the guy whose delivery was on time like dominos pizza, crusty and filled with meaty feeling.

"Breeze through in the Q-45 by my side, lyrical high
And those that rushes my cluthes get put on crutches
Get smoked like dutches from the master
Hate to blast ya, but I have ta, you see I smoke a lot
Your life is played out like Kwame, and them fuckin polka dots..."

the guy who flowed like an endometrial menstrual cycle, discharging painfully pensive platelets that clot into cancerous alliteration before they splattered and stained the pristine matter of my brain. the guy whose rhyming was something straight out of the plinko game on 'price is right', the words being dropped from every angle and yet always falling into the right slot.

"Who rock the spot? Biggie!
You know how the weed yo, unbelievable"

my heart was thumping to the rhythm of the double stuttered beat of the song as i jumped from my bed and ran to aswad's room next door.

"who the fuck is THAT???" i asked breathlessly, my hand gripping the doorframe tightly.

"it's unbelievable...
biggie smalls is da illest..."

"WHAT?" aswad yelled, the music having drowned out my inquiry.

"it's unbelievable...
biggie smalls is da illest..."

"WHO THE FUCK IS THAT???" i asked again, almost screaming as i continued listening to the lyrics, my ears absorbing

" B-I-G, G-I-E, AKA, B.I.G.
Get it? Biggie"



my mind finally registered the name. cat only had to yell it then spell it, before it was finally carved it into my conscious a couple of times. i stood silently as the song continued, enthralled in the power of his voice.

"Also known as the bon appetit
Rappers can't sleep need sleepin Big keep creepin
Bullets heat-seekin, casualties need treatin
Dumb rappers need teachin..."

at this point my body was moving on its own accord, my head dropped, my ears having absorbed so much that the weight was too much for my neck to hold up. aswad was still yelling out the words but for some reason all i heard was biggie's voice. i closed my eyes and sank into the plush carpet of his consonants, my head bopping softly as my body rocked from side to side.

"Lesson A - don't fuck with B-I, that's that, oh I, thought he was wack
Oh come come now, why y'all so dumb now
Hunt me or be hunted, three hundred and fifty-seven ways
To simmer sautee, I'm the winner all day
Lights get dimmer down Biggie's hallway
My forte causes caucausians to say
He sounds demented, car-weed scented
If I said it, I meant it
Bite my tongue for no-one
Call me evil, or unbelievable..."

"it's unbelievable...
biggie smalls is da illest..."

aswad's voice finally inserted itself and i opened my eyes, surprised to find myself still in his room. he was grinning at me like he had just won the lottery, his body bopping hard like he was fighting against the weight of his own burdens.

"it's unbelievable...
biggie smalls is da illest..."

shit, that was MY voice saying the words. but that mothafucka WAS the illest and my mouth couldn't NOT say it. biggie's brilliance was shimmering around me like a fucking revelation, it was like someone had turned on the light in my mind and i was staring at biggie's syntax assasinating the misery dwelling there, shooting bullet holes into the darkness to leave sunshine spilling from its wounds like

"Buck shots out the sun roof of Lexus Coupe's
Leave no witnesses, what you think this is
Ain't no amateurs here, I damage and tear
MC's fear me, they too near not to hear me
Clearly, I'm the triple beam dream
One thousand grams of uncut to the gut
It seems fucked up, the way I touched up the grill
Tryin to play gorilla, when you ain't no killer
The gat's by your liver, your upper lip quiver
Get ready to die, tell God I said hi
And throw down some ice, for the nicest MC
Niggaz know the steelo, unbelievable"

by this point i could feel the tears trailing down my cheeks as i started yelling with aswad, my body jumping to shake the chains of depression from my feet.



we were both jumping and yelling, our faces split so wide with our grins i was sure we'd never be able to close our mouths again. we just kept repeating the words over and over again until the song ended.

"yo, you KNOW you gotta play that shit again, right?"

aswad started laughing, then his face grew immediately serious.

"nik, that's the first time i've seen you smile in months."

we stared at each other, the significance of the moment escaping neither of us as the silence stretched on. shit it was the first time i'd felt any kind of joy in a while. i had let michael steal that joy from me. i had let that sick mothafucka rape me of my spirit. aswad walked over to me and opened his arms. i stepped into them and we hugged each other tightly as i cried quietly into his shoulder.

biggie's words reverberated in my ear.

"Hunt me or be hunted, three hundred and fifty-seven ways
To simmer sautee, I'm the winner all day..."

that mothafucka was telling me not to back down from michael's ass. i felt that shit. i felt it right down to the marrow. when the moment ended, aswad went back to the cd player and played the song again.

aswad ended up playing 'unbelievable' so many times that day i had the lyrics memorized. he also played the rest of the 'ready to die' cd and i was hooked, but truth be told, biggie had me at the first line.

michael would eventually be taken care of (that's another story) and my life would return back to normal. meanwhile, biggie continued to blow up my mind, as his lyrical prowess amazing me time and time again. i fell in love with the way biggie painted his visions with his word play.

so now, years after his death, i feel like crying. biggie was so much more to me than just a lyrically gifted mc. that cat was my scrotum. he was the balls i pulled out whenever i wanted to feel empowered against brothas who wanted to act up. once i listened to his lyrics i felt like i could crush a brotha's skull with my thighs.

christopher wallace, you'll never be forgotten.