Rap Retrospect

It was the summer of 1986, Chicago, the 4700 block of Huron. I had just returned from shopping on Madison Avenue. In my bag was a new pair of Levis and a red Kangol. The Kangol cost $19 meaning I had to work five hours to purchase the dang thing. I walked into the house and my old man is playing The Mighty Clouds of Joy and cleaning fish from the morning fishing trip with my Uncle Truman.

I had to change fast because the old man had a habit of making me clean fish and it was too nice to sit on the back porch with a knife and a stack of blue gills. There was a knock at the door. My little brother answers it and yells that it’s my guy, MC Boo. I ran to the door, ‘wassup, man’.

“Yo, Rock Steady wants to battle us” he says excitedly. Rock Steady was our arch nemesis. Almost every other weekend there was a battle in Ohio Park between Rock Steady and The Cold Crush Crew. (Yeah, I know, we didn’t use much imagination on coming up with the name). I ran back into my room, dawned the Kangol, a red Adidas suit and hit the door.

There must have been a buzz going around because the park was packed with all three members of Rock Steady standing there with their peeps from the 4700 block of Race. Cold Crush carried Huron and Superior but Erie and Ohio went with the crew the won the last battle. Since Rock Steady challenged us, they went first.

For twenty minutes we went back and forth with our primary battle raps. We had Def Lyrics, Annihilating, Sucker MC, The Radical and a few others show stoppers. But as always, the brainstorms (what they now call freestyle) and the solos is what made the difference.

I was hyped because one of the cats for Rock Steady cracked on the size of my nose. Not that I have a big nose, but I’m a black man and his line was funny. Even my own boys kind of laughed at me. Well, it was my turn and I talked about his curl, his shoes, his girl, his mamma and his sorry rapping skills. Below is the only solo rap I can recall from that time.

All those who expect to be rocked will not be disappointed
The way I hold the mic I must be double-jointed
I met a sucker that would try to be greater
But I got him and shot him to the bottom like denominators
The numerator, I’m still number one, and I just begun
I clean suckers like custodians
I’m so insane after killing a man
I consume his body and try to kill him again… word
You say you’re sorry but I see right through you
I’ll pursue you, and chew you, and claim I never knew you
People say I’m the best when the send fan letters
And they know it on the streets MC Jazz in getting’ better
We’re lockin, and boppin when the beats start rockin
Suckers screaming, obeying, you know what I’m saying
Cuz when I make my arrival suckers scream Helter Skelter
Suckers hear the name Jazz, they run for shelter
Rest in peace, the final bell in ringin’
The party’s over son cuz the fat lady’s singin’
You life is over no ands or buts
The “J” rock just nailed your coffin shut
Because I’m very rough and I don’t just sing tough
I’m comin’ hard don’t you ever call me cream puff
I’m so insane don’t you ever forget it
I got a rock… and Imma hit you with it.

Ok, so it’s not Jay Z but it was a hot joint at the time. We polished them off with a couple of brainstorms and celebrated with three wings covered in mild sauce and a bag of cheese fries from Coleman’s Barbeque. After that, we walked the blocks and settled in on the front porch of an abandoned building and rapped well beyond midnight (if the old man had a pitty-pat game going we could stretch it another hour out of the evening).

Rap was fun then. I often wonder if I have a least one hot joint left. I’m sure I could come up with a hook and a least one hot verse. I’m not sure how my flow is – wack more than likely… but if Chingy could do it, I don’t see why I can’t.

Oh well, maybe I’ll just leave that for the young bucks and stick to reminiscing.


6 Responses to Rap Retrospect

  1. jaimie Says:
    nice...i liked that
  2. Midlife Crisis Says:
    Cool as hell!!! I'm trippin' over your Cleveland origins. I've been in these parts for five years. Natives keep telling me that Cleveland was once alive at one point (grin).

    But anyway...I enjoyed the reminiscing! And you're right, y'all could have come up with some more original names. Geez.
  3. nosthegametoo Says:
    For some reason, I kept hearing LL Cool J's "I'm Bad," when I read this.

    Enjoyed the post.
  4. mark Says:
    YO James good post, Im waiting for the album to drop. Word to da motha
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