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.

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

I called Stu Fines Wild Pitch Records office. I would be the first guy from Warren, Ohio to make it in the music industry. He said he got my tape and he wanted to hear something else. He had gotten the first tape with I’m Hype on it. I sent him the new tape with the “Doo Wah Ditty” song I titled “I’m Getting Busier” on it. He called me back saying “I like the music, but not the lyrics.” I was like what, to myself of course. I was thinking “I know my lyrics can’t be worse than MC Hammer’s.”

So after that, about six months later, I made another tape. The feature song was called “I Write The Song.” I used the beginning bass track of the song “Pumpin It Up” by Parliament. This song was another hit, another perfect arrangement. I thought these songs were such hits because no one had used them at all. Sampling was rampant, but no one had touched these songs yet. I also looped another Parliament song, still another perfect arrangement, but not a hit song. The purpose of this song was to tell Stu to “Let Me Be Me,” that I didn’t rhyme like Gangstarr, the only group on his label at the time that I knew of; that I didn’t rhyme like Chuck D or Heavy D. I sent him this tape, and he never responded. I called him a couple of times and wrote a few letters. After about a year and a half later, I made another song using Shabba Ranks and KRSONE Remix to one of Shabba’s songs.

When I was in twelfth grade, I was in love with this white girl named Samantha. She was my girl and I was her guy. We were both in the band, which was how we met. And we were the talk of the whole school, band boosters (parents) and all. We held hands down the hall and gave each other a big french kiss after every meeting between classes. No one wanted us to be together. She was a white girl for real, not the cool white girl who hung out with black girls and had been with black guys before. She was a virgin, hadn’t been with anyone, and didn’t hang out with blacks or try to be black. She didn’t do that after we were not together neither. But you could just feel the tension when we walked down the hall. She even lost her two best friends because she chose to be with me. But she didn’t care. I was the first to dick her down and she loved me no matter what.

I can’t remember exactly when I wrote the song but the structure of it was like this: verse 1 was about Samantha and how no one wanted us loving each other because she was white and I was black. I sent the tape to Stu Fines and got no response, but still wrote him from time to time and tried to call him. I remember when “Main Source” came out, me and my boys were on their nuts. I wrote Stu that this group could be big if he did the right things. “Lookin At The Front Door” was pumpin’ at the time, but it was time for another single. The only other song that really grabbed me that I thought the masses of people would like was “Peace Is Not The Word To Play”. But there was one problem with that, it only had one verse of rhymes and the rest was cuttin’ and scratchin’. I told Stu in a letter that if Large Professor put two more verses on that song, it would be dope. What do you know, about two or three months later, I see the video for the song with the extra verses, but it was wack the way they arranged it, not at all what I had in mind.

I was a freshman in college. I had completed my first year of school, pledged A Phi A and I was enjoying my summer. I was working at Bank One as part of my scholarship intern program. I was ready to record another tape. I had the beats looped and ready to go. I went to my cousin and he said he needed a part to record and he didn’t have it, but I think he was just bullshittin’ me. So I couldn’t record anymore. So my dream had kind of started dying from there. I still wrote songs here and there, but I had no studio to go to and no beats because that looping shit I was doing was old to me and I needed fresh, real beats that I had no access to.

At the end of the summer, I was off from the bank, just got paid, and I had like $300 with nothing to do with it. It was a Thursday night, and I was sitting home, and I just made up my mind that “in the morning, I’m driving to New York.” From Warren, Ohio, I could take 80 East all the way there. My car didn’t look like it was in the best of shape but it could move on the high way, and I hadn’t had any problems out of it. It was a 1980 Buick Skylark that was busted up where the windshield meets the roof because I had hit a deer that tried to jump over the car to avoid being hit when it ran out into the street. I didn’t tell anyone I was driving to NY because I didn’t want to hear anyone’s mouth about the car not being able to make it. I got up that Friday morning and started driving. It took me about six hours to get there. I initially passed New York up and drove into Connecticut because I was looking for a sign that said “New York City, This Way.” There was no such sign and there still is no such sign. Once in Connecticut, I stopped at a gas station and asked where was New York City, and the attendant said, “back that way.” I went back and when I seen signs that said “Mount Vernon” I turned off. I was driving around looking for a mall or something. I stopped in a sports store, and to my amazement, they had Champion Sweatshirtsin every color imaginable. Champion sweatshirts were the shit at that time.