Jrnl Entry No. 9.13.2000 “MY HIP HOP STORY” PART VI

When my friends and I would drive to New York we’d spend like half the day on 125th, and the other half at The Fulton Mall. We didn’t even spend the night in the city because we thought hotels were too much, and plus we didn’t know anywhere else to go anyway, no clubs or nothing like that. One time my friend Burton and I went for New Years. I think it was New Years 1993. We got a $40 room on 125th Street. One of those places with the bathroom down the hall. Except for the bathroom situation, it was a pretty comfortable room, nice and warm. The heat was kickin’ so, we had to open the window to survive.

We got there on a Friday night and New Years Eve was that Saturday night. Late in the night, I went walking around 125th and the surrounding area. He didn’t come with me because either he was scared or cold, or tired. I had had a forty of OE and I was wired, not tryin’ to go to sleep. I just walked around. It felt good to me to walk around the streets of New York City. I was fly too. Come to think about it, I could have gotten robbed. I had on some $80 Brand X Girbaud Jeans, some black chuckers Timberlands, a red black and white long sleeve Tommy Hilfiger shirt, and a green and blue check goose down Nautica coat, with a green and black hat with the flaps over the ears to match the coat. I ran into some Spanish kids and we were talking. They asked me if I liked Hip Hop, and of course I said yeah. I told them I was from Ohio, etc. At about 3 A.M. that night, I returned back to the room and went to sleep. We got up that morning and took our bath in the bathroom down the hall. It was disgusting, but hey, a nigga had to wash his ass you know that.

He had an appointment to get his dreads done at a shop in Brooklyn on Vanderbuilt called Tendrils. We found our way there. We were talking with the lady who was doing his hair, asking her where was a mall, like the ones we have at home? While doing his hair, she told us to drive straight up Flatbush Ave for about 45 Mins to an hour and we would run into a mall on the left hand side. We had heard on the radio about this bomb concert that we definitely were attending later that night. It was A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and The Souls of Mischief. We loved all of those groups, especially The Souls with their debut album. The way they flipped rhymes on that album was incredible to us. So after his hair was finished, we went driving down Flatbush and we ran into the mall. Just as I was about to run left, a car came along and scrapped against mine. DAMN!

So this guy gets out his car talkin’ loud, saying for me to give him $300 or something, or he hopes that I have insurance or I was going to jail that night. I got back into my car because it was cold, and the talk of jail scared me. I was stretching down toward the floor, and he thought I was reaching for a gun. He started saying that he had one too. I think my car was still running. I just put it in drive and made a break for it, I WASN’T GOING TO JAIL! FUCK THAT! So it was on. He ran back to his car and started chasing us. Burton was in the car calm and cool saying, “why are you doin’ this, we goin’ to jail, we goin’ to jail.”

In the chase, I slid and hit the back of a parked car. I backed out of that, and then on my next speedy turn in the snow, I ran off the road and hit a brick wall. I backed out of that, and the guy got out of his car and started running toward my car. Burton said he had a nine cocked to the side ready to fire, but he didn’t shoot. I was driving off and I guess he just gave up and stood back there outside his car.

I went and parked my car in a parking lot, and got out and hid for a moment to calm down. After about 15 to 30 minutes we got back into the car and started driving trying to decide if we should attempt to go back into Manhattan to try and go to that concert. We came up with all kind of crazy country shit that probably wouldn’t have happened. Like we were thinking there would be cops at the Brooklyn Bridge waiting to see if we tried to get on or off the bridge. And we were also thinking that maybe a cop would spot my car in Manhattan while parked and at the concert, and when we we’d get back in the car they’d surround us and arrest us.

We decided not to take the chance and that we should head back home, but the problem was, how did we get back to route 80 from Brooklyn? See, we usually headed straight down Amsterdam from 125th St and drove to like 178th and see a sign that said George Washington Bridge, hit 95 South, which turned into 80 and go home.  We just started driving and somehow we got back to 80. I still don’t know how we did to this day. We passed the Science Center and seen that statue of the guy with the world on his back where Tribe and De La shot the video for “Award Tour.” I live here in New York now, and that is on the Grand Central Parkway. To get from the Grand Central Parkway to 80, you have to cross the Tri-Boro Bridge which cost you $3.50, and I don’t remember paying to go across it. I don’t remember crossing the Queens Boro Bridge neither, so I don’t know how we got back on the road to get to Ohio but we did; made it back like right around 12 or 1 A.M. just as the New Year was coming in.

When we got back, I told my mom that someone hit the car while it was parked on the street at the hotel we stayed at.

Jrnl Entry No. 9.13.2000 “MY HIP HOP STORY” PART V

I drove from Mount Vernon up to the Bronx still looking for a mall like the traditional inside the building malls of Ohio. I seen this one sign that said it was mall, but it was like a circle of stores outside, not exactly what I was looking for. I got the idea around 4 P.M. to call Stu Fines and try to meet him since we had talked on the phone a few times and I had written him a few letters. He didn’t know where I was and how to tell me to get to his office. So I drove some more and parked my car by a train station on Baychester Ave. I went walking down the street a little and walked into this shoe store that didn’t have anything that excited me too much. I was actually looking to buy an African America College Alliance sweatshirt and tie-top skully hat to match like the rappers wore in the videos.

I got on the train. I can’t remember if I asked directions to get to 125th Street of not, but I was on the train. This kid got on and I started talking to him. He had a heavy New York accent that I could barely understand him. He told me I could get one of them sweatshirts on Fordham Road or probably 125th St. I asked him how to get to 125th St and he told me. I called my mom while at a train stop and told her where I was. She was shocked. I hung up with her when a train started coming and we couldn’t hear each other no more.

I got off the train at 125th St and it was like a whole nutha world right there at Malcolm X Blvd / Lennox. I smelt this heavy incense smoke like no smell I had ever smelt before. I seen all the African vendors lined up on the sidewalk. I started looking to see if anyone had them sweatshirts and those hats. I asked about the sweatshirts and no one had them. I asked about the hats because I didn’t see any on display. This one lady pulled out a piece of cloth that was open on both ends and she tied a string of cloth around one of the ends, and sure enough, right in front of my eyes was a tie-top hat like the rappers wore in the videos. I bought one. It was black and white stripes going down and the tie was black. I continued to just walk up and down the street. The vendors were starting to pack up. I was looking for a club or something once they left the street, but there weren’t any. People just walked up and down the street. People with their polaroid cameras were out taking pictures for I think $6 to $8 maybe $10. I had taken one picture.

I got back on the train around 11 P.M. and went to my car. I tried to drive back over into Manhattan but I kept running into bodies of water and dead ends, so finally I gave up, went and parked my car by the subway station I was at before on Baychester. I figured this was a safe place to park and go to sleep because people walking past my car would either be going to get on the train or getting off the train to go home; no time to be vandalizing my car or tryin’ to rob me. I climbed in the back seat and went to sleep. I’d wake up every time I heard a truck go by. In the morning I woke up to kidz constantly passing my car to get on the train or walking to school. But at about 9 A.M. or 10 A.M., I began to wonder were these kidz goin’ to school at all. In Ohio, the streets are clear of all kidz by 8 A.M. It was like 10 A.M and kidz who looked like they should be in school were steadily coming up and down the street.

I got up around 12 P.M. and went back to 125th St to look for my sweatshirt and my tie-top hat to match. It didn’t even matter what school or color, I just wanted one. I went into damn near every sports store on the street and asked for them damn sweatshirts. My lucky store that I went into and asked about them, they weren’t even officially selling them yet or they just got them in or something. Because I asked the guy about them, he said, “hold on, I’ll be right back.” He came from out the back with about three or four of them. I chose the grey, yellow and black Hampton University sweatshirt; you know, colors of the frat. They didn’t even have a price tag on them, and I really didn’t care how much they cost. He charged me $75 for it and I paid it. It was a pretty heavy duty champion-like sweatshirt, and I thought it was worth it. It was definitely worth it because I still have today. After I got it, I was happy. I walked up and down the street some more. I bought me a golden like tie-top hat to match the sweatshirt.

I went back to my car at like 3 P.M. and headed back to Warren, Ohio. I was a victim of racial profiling in Jersey. I got stopped and the cops searched my car thoroughly, trunk and all, looking for drugs. I wasn’t nervous. I let them handle their business. They said they stopped me for speeding, which was a lie because I wasn’t speeding at all. They let me go and I proceeded home. I got home and all my friends were telling me how crazy I was for driving that car to NY, and how come I didn’t tell any of them I was going, etc. From that point on, me and a couple of my friends took trips to New York 125th St once a year at least. After about two years, we ventured over into Brooklyn to the Fulton Mall, and those were our stops: 125th, then to Brooklynto the Fulton Mall. We didn’t know to take the subway, and didn’t want to try and park anywhere else when we’d see stores, so those were the only places we shopped.