Rap was born in the South Bronx New York City, which came from the blues down south from the slave chants from that same south from ancient African tribal stories. Those were the dots on the candy tip I used to slang, that was the derivation.
There was a clear inequity amongst us Americans that my young friendship with Lamont cleansed my vision infinite. I was just ten years old and heard my calling. And rap became a Bridge, which was precisely the name of our elementary school. An encyclopedia and updated report on the voices no one had ever wanted to hear. And times were changing. I believed our friendship and my own someday rap fame would eradicate this ugly parasite of our national birth defect once and for all. It was so unnecessary. It’s always the simplest things that are the hardest to change.
But rap was born in the city and therefore Lamont was Hermes. Lamont ferried along so much information I wanted down that old red line from the hood and into our white paradise. A paradise which back then was already becoming majority Chinese boy did the white man get complacent. Two worlds, two brothers, same age same country, grew up together, shared everything including the worst because, well they loved each other. I often heard a similar question and it always happened inside a really big or really small house never the middle and that’s why independents decide elections. And the question was always on the heels of my confusing language and southern black drawl broadcasting the skeletons of our country tis of thee. And the question came from an older sibling an uncle or even a mother or father, yes, and this was the question.
“That’s great Carl, I applaud your courage but really you’d never marry a black women would you?” It was a question stroked in seriousness and marry was emphasized like a mutha fucka. “If I loved her, yes?” How fucking dumb are these idiots? It was all I could think for like clockwork the reply was always the same, “huh, your right, that’s a good answer.” It was the right answer. And these were the people with the money houses and pedigree. I was the disabled, the delinquent.
And in a system and world that I felt against the glamorous veneer of Astori MA, wasn’t fair, Lamont inspired my first look at a whole picture. And there in lies the beauty of the METCO program. It sparked questions between integrated children the walls of segregation stood tall and in stone to prevent. And by the time I hit 6th grade, I coined my mantra fuck white people.
It sparked questions. What happened to black people in this country and since I knew the Irish were from Ireland, where do Lamont’s family all come from? How did they get here? And last, why did they live like that, and all white people, as far as I could see lived with everything I ever stole. And this was all before the fourth grade. And one story crystallizes the walls of segregation and it’s little cousin stereotype. And yes, it occurred during our third grade year. Lamont had been staying with us after school on Thursdays for a couple months and I began inviting for sleepover on Friday nights. And that last part caused my parents to become uneasy. I’d hear their conversations, and confront them about their fear. “I’m just not comfortable with a black kid staying the night at our house” The familiar chant, godbless METCO. And so it went I had an idea and one Saturday morning I stole $20 from my mother’s pocketbook. I’d never stole money from my mothers pocketbook, yet. And sure enough there was a black, I mean a backlash against Lamont, accusations assumed.
And when I came forward something clicked in both of them. And we never had that conversation again. It empowered me. I changed the hardest thing. It wasn’t simple, I had to be crafty like a Wall Street accountant. But once it clicked it clicked and you just kept it moving.
Yo when hoops said peace out is when I start ripping mikes again. I gotta break from the smooth adolescents my stage and go solo. Incidentally the $mooth Adolescents is where I finally understood deep-rooted racism. That hardest question was really so simple. I knew there was racism but exactly know how to explain it outside of the obvious. My old boy band the $mooth Adolescents broke the tide unleashed the simple clarity of our nations darkest truth.
Arguing in my old junior high brothel Sugar Rays during one of our final recording sessions slash practices we fell into the all too familiar racism argument in America. Bryant aka “Kool Aid.” Whose father was a civil rights attorney for the air force looked just like Dresser from the 5 Heartbeat’s, and one day after a unusually long winded brawl on a finite sticking point, I snapped back the words, “Bryant, it’s not like OK, Bryant so your saying, this shane whitey thing, it’s all about color.” “Yes it is, like you wouldn’t believe.” Again he’s laughing like he’s my long lost grandfather smoking a pipe exhaling wisdom. It annoyed me, I became louder and stood up from the ragged couch against walls I spray painted, screamed inside my true sanctuary, “Bryant, what the hell you talken about yo?” Emotion had clouded my gut instinct. I continued. “Look it’s not like a kids in Kindergarten and looks up at a color chart on the fucking wall, and he sees white, yellow and red and says oh shit, there I’m, I’m black!”
And Bryant finished the afternoon by saying, “Carl” He smiled broadly. “I didn’t even have to say anything, you just nailed it. Your smarter than you think son.” He patted me on the back and it clicked right as their ride to the base arrived at my cul-de-sac.
Anyway after breaking with the $mooth Adolescents and going solo the rap moniker was an enormous weight lifted off of my chest. The daunting question of what my rap alias would be had dogged me for years, and by the grace of god one day at fourteen it just came to me. B-Dawg (manager) and Milner (adopted Korean Jew financer) loved it.
Yo, I write lyrics in the classes I attend just to tolerate, plus I write sixty minutes a day in detention. My spiral notebook is filled with rhymes. I wished I lived in the hood yo. I just need a DJ