Part 1 OF ??
I took a long gulp out my water bottle...damn near finishing it off. My throat was dry as fuck...that was half of my issue right there.
And even though I knew chasing the water with my 'yac wasn't gonna cure my dry throat, I had to take another sip #justOnTheCool...
All that was left was that one last, big deep breath....
ME: "Aight bro, I'm ready. Run it."
The beat starts playing again in my headphones, and I hear my voice on the end of the hook as I wait to punch in. I gotta knock this last verse out so I can wrap this session up an hour early...ahead of schedule.
"Now why you acting all shy? You know I like to watch...
....how ya make it disappear when I hit that spot....
Yeah I'm deep! That's why you grabbing them sheets....
I give it to ya from behind like a dog in heat....
Now gone & throw it back at me, yeah I like it like that...
Make it clap...lemme see ya put that arch in ya back....
I'ma............beat it up round after round....
I know I......got ya sprung when you make that sound....
I hold ya down on my own.......I 'on need no cuffs....
Got my hand 'round ya neck cuz I like to get rough....
Quit crying! Yeah I'm pulling ya hair....I know ya sore right there....
Go ahead..........you can get ya some air.......
Soon as you get ya breath tho, we gon fuck some 'mo...
Put you up against the wall & make you lose control...
Now what's my name?!?! ........... Aye what you say?!?!
Yeah that's better baby......lemme have my way.....
LET'S GET DOWN!!!"
Jaz cut the track off almost immediately...and I had my headphones off just as quickly.
JAZ: "That was the take right there nigga, let's go!"
ME: "Yeah I'm coming out."
I step out the booth feeling myself. Though I wasn't yet overly excited about doing this music shit...I had to admit, I was getting better at it. I'd only spent about 20 minutes in the booth recording those verses...a year ago I woulda took a full hour getting all my vocals done.
Being able to focus goes a long way.
This time last year, shit was too hectic for me to really concentrate on creating art outside of The Art. Between me chasing #ménages & my sister becoming the 8th woman ever on the FBI's Top 10 Most Wanted list...I'd went thru my fair share of adjusting to bullshit. On the outside looking in, a muhfucka couldn't tell how fucked up I was - but it's no fun dealing with the media putting a bunch of bullshit out there about ya family...and attorneys don't come cheap. My sister's case was draining the fuck outta me and my people...the fuckin dicks really had it in for her. Living a normal life really had become a challenge...a challenge that I was failing at miserably.
This year, I've found a way to balance it all - and music has become my therapy. This unique way I have with words...this mouthpiece that I'm blessed with - I'm finally using it in a way where I can channel all my frustrations creatively. As with anything I put my time & effort behind...once I'm in...I'm all in.
Still...for all the talent & potential muhfuckaz tell me I have...this music shit is just an experiment & stress-reliever for me. I can't really see myself making a career outta the shit - if it happens, it happens. I was in a good space - with one of my best friends & old college roommates Jaz making a name for himself as one of the best engineers in Kansas City. Watching him build 64111 Studio from the ground up gave me a front row view of how the shit works over the years, and I'd been lucky enough to see some of KC's dopest MC's recording in their rawest element. I'd seen the business side of the industry from one of my other best friend's & frat brother Ricky Rhymes, with all the work he put in at the radio station with his show Underground Heat. I was already recording voice-overs & writing commercials for Dymewear Inc, the clothing line my frat brother Shabba was expanding. Writing music seemed to just make sense.
Though I was all the way in with my effort...my real passion was always elsewhere - the music shit was more like a notepad to me deep down, just another source for me to transfer some energy. I really wanted to see niggaz I had watched grow as artists in my circle take off - like my brother Dell & cousin Filth. Hell even my sister Tay could spit - they were the rapping muhfuckaz - not me. I figured if I went hard at it, some of that energy would be transferred into what they were already doing artistically...and if I could get them to get serious about the music from a business sense, maybe we could get some bread outta the shit.
Everything is all about the money right now, this case we fighting in court is way out of our tax bracket. Every side hustle has to count, we gotta get it however & wherever we can get it. Album & clothing sales weren't an overnight thing though unfortunately....so during the summer & fall of '07 - I had to be on point with my grind, and explore other ways to keep a steady & quick cash flow.
ME: "Aye can you bounce that down on disc and just mix it when I leave? I gotta get down to the barber shop & try to slang these cd's."
Jaz was already fucking with the vocals when I sat down in the control room. His back was to me as he was locked in & focused on the dual monitors, hard at work making adjustments. I can't really describe what he was doing to the tracks specifically...I didn't understand that ProTools shit like he did, and never will. I'd watch Jaz teach himself how to record, mix, & master audio since we were college freshmen at CMSU...we had worked on stepshows, mix cd's, and voice-overs for years together, but never music until recently. If it wasn't for Jaz opening up 64111 Studio, I woulda never even entertained the idea of doing this shit.
JAZ: "Aw nigga you bout to bounce? We got like a hour and a half left nigga."
ME: "I know but shit, I'm tryna make a couple of moves before I head back to Kansas nigga."
Jaz started to say something, but was thrown off by loud bass & music coming from the back end of the building. Spinning around in his infamous leather chair, he hopped up and stormed down the hallway, leaving me in the control room alone.
JAZ: "Man, this nigga. AYE KRUSH! Keep that shit down for a minute nigga!"
He was screaming at the newest member of 64111, a young producer who went by the name of Krush Groove. Krush was down in his office cooking up some more dope shit...he practically was living at the studio now that he was part of the team.
Jaz convinced him to take a break, and the two of them walked back in the control room together.
KRUSH: "I see you knocked that bad boy on out HoLLyRod, how that shit sound so far?"
I only halfway heard him, by the time they had come back to the room...I was down in my phone - reading my text messages. 90% of my texts these days were from
Sashé, I had cut down my outside activity almost completely - so if I had texts from anybody else, more than likely it was business-related. Today was no different, I scrolled past the 2 missed
texts from random #'s - they were from customers at the shop, trying to see when I was gonna be up there. I was programmed at this point to go straight to Sashé's messages first and besides, I'd
texted Shay before I went into the booth and was awaiting her reply.
SASHÉ: "Hey love. Oh I'll most def be here when you get home."
Shay was always anxious for me to be home again...we couldn't stay away from each other for too long, after a little over 2 years. We've yet to have a serious fight or disagreement...and rarely get on each others' nerves. It's crazy...but we always seem to be on the same positive vibe when we connect - regardless of what's going on outside the house. She's still my getaway....my perfect vacation.
JAZ: (to Krush) "What you mean 'so far'? Nigga this shit done, I'm bout to mix this shit."
KRUSH: "Aw that nigga already done - let me hear that mug then..."
Again, I hear them talking....but I'm only halfway listening in - you know how you get when you into ya text thread or tuned in to ya phone - I'm trying to be involved in the real world but the Matrix has me at the moment. This is some other type of weird new territory - with technology continuing to change & redefine how we communicate and stay engaged on mobile devices. I was still learning how to be in multiple places at once. Replying to Shay came first.
ME: "Ok, I'm still at the studio. Are you good? You need anything??"
I looked at the time on my phone as I hit 'send'. It was 4:42pm. My 2 hour studio session didn't end til 6pm - if I could make it to the barber shop before 5:30 I could make a couple of other moves before leaving the Missouri side.
ME: "Wait....what? Hold up - nah nigga, the track ain't done! My vocals done but I aint done with the track bro."
JAZ: (on the computer again, back to me) "What else you gotta do to it nigga? Ricky got something planned for it?"
ME: (standing up, dapping up Krush) "Nah nigga, Ricky aint even heard the beat Krush did for this one - or that last verse. He don't know I'm redoing it."
JAZ: "Aight nigga don't have that nigga flipping out..."
KRUSH: "What - this Ricky Rhymes' song or some shit?"
ME: "Nah nigga, I wrote this - it's my song. I recorded the original at Ricky's on one of Indiana Jonez' beats."
JAZ: "Yeah - that's Ricky's guy in Chicago..."
KRUSH: "Right nigga - the beat you had me listen to before I did this one. So what's the deal? You doing a remix to my beat?"
ME: "Naw bro - something went down at Jonez' lab and he aint got the original tracks, sooo...."
KRUSH: "Ok - I got you...that's what I'm saying. We redoing it - so what is this nigga Jaz talking about?"
ME: "Man you know that nigga on some bullshit..."
JAZ: "Aye nigga - fuck yall. That's between Rod & Ricky. The track dope either way - what this nigga talking about he aint finished with it for? I'm mixing this shit down nigga - you tripping."
ME: "Naw bro, I ain't done. I gotta find a chick to ad-lib that muhfucka bro...bring that shit to life."
JAZ: "Man, this nigga..."
ME: "Nah for real bro....I got a vision for it..."
KRUSH: (chuckling) "This nigga trying to be on some ole 'Rico Suave-playboy type' rapper shit!"
JAZ: "Nah boa....that nigga Rod - this dude be on some playboy shit in real life nigga!"
KRUSH: "Oh this nigga got all the hoes Jaz?"
JAZ: (turning around in chair, face stern as fuck) "Nigga! This nigga got 2 bad bitches at the crib right now, that's why he tryna leave early n'shit!"
Jaz was always on my head about how wild I lived. Though most of my close folks hadn't really learned about my latest adventures, Jaz was the one nigga I could talk to about everything. We had practically grew up together since 18 - Jaz had seen my entire evolution. And to this day - he still got a kick outta pointing out the unbelievable shit that seemed to always fall in my lap.
ME: "Man...cut that shit out cuzz!!"
JAZ: "Am I lying nigga?!?! You see that nigga ain't disagree Krush!"
KRUSH: "Ohhhh so this nigga HoLLyRod is like the black Hugh Hefner low-key?!?!"
ME: (shaking my head, smiling) "Bro...I'm tryna get to the shop so I can dump these CD's nigga! And I gotta pick up some other money!"
JAZ: "Oh so you ain't got 2 bitches at the crib nigga?!? Ok cuzz! This nigga wanna be modest today..."
ME: (still shaking my head) "Nah my girl at the crib...I don't know where her partner at. I was just texting her now. But for real cuzz, I'm just tryna go to the shop nigga!"
KRUSH: "What you got in the bag nigga?! You Duffle Bag Boy too nigga?!?
JAZ: "Bro this nigga gets all new music like 2 or 3 weeks before it drops."
KRUSH: "What?!?! This nigga a fool! What kind of rapper slangs bootleg CD's?!?"
ME: "Aye nigga, I ain't no rapper - I'm just tryna get money fool! Fuck the industry, them niggaz rich & putting out bullshit! Nigga what you want? You can get 8 for $20 right now nigga - what?!?!"
KRUSH: "Aww this nigga bootsy!!! What you got nigga?"
I opened my black duffle bag up so Krush could see the hundreds of discs. He nearly fell backwards as I handed him the printed out inventory list.
JAZ: "Nah cuzz, he got everything for real. Mixtapes, underground shit, commercial albums."
ME: "Everything but local music. I don't bootleg local artists...fuck that."
I noticed my phone lighting up next to my bag on the couch, Shay was texting me back. I kept talking as I picked up the phone to peep her reply. Now that Jaz was talking shit on it - I was thinking about how shit might go later on for me that night. I wasn't sure if Shay & Kris were working at the club tonight - they usually came home together anytime they worked the same night. On other nights - it could go either way.
ME: "See that's my bitch right there nigga...I need to see wassup for later anyway. Come on & put that shit on a disc for me so I can jet..."
JAZ: "Shit it aint gonna take me long to mix it real quick - it's just your vocals on it."
ME: "You ain't even gotta mix it, you can wait cuz I still need to find a chick to get on it bro."
KRUSH: (still looking at my inventory) "Oh this nigga was serious...."
JAZ: "Nigga just have one of your hoes get on the shit...quit bullshitting nigga!"
ME: "Nah bro, I ain't got it like that no more. For real...if my girl ain't playing with me - I'm chilling..."
KRUSH: "Haha damn nigga - you was serious on that shit too huh?!?!"
JAZ: "I told you this nigga be on some other shit cuzz! He got bitches...don't let him fool you nigga!"
ME: (looking down at my phone) "Nah.....I aint got none on deck who would hop on this track. Not these days nigga. You know the white girl ain't doing that shit & Shay damn sure ain't coming to the lab nigga!"
JAZ: "Nigga so you ain't got no other chicks nigga!?! Nigga you know I know better!"
I paused to look at Shay's reply...making sure I read it right. Suddenly, my heart was in my throat...as my eyes widened. This wasn't the reply I was expecting at all...and in fact, this reply was the exact opposite of what would fit here at this exact moment - with all the shit talking going on in the studio about #HoLLyWorld.
Nonetheless...what she texted me helps set up the topic of today's episode that's full of madness. I promise you can't make this shit up.
SASHÉ: "Nope, I don't need anything babe. I'm just sitting here reading all of your text messages in your work phone. I'll see you whenever you get home. You've got some real explaining to do mister..."
ME: (shouting, staring at Krush & Jaz) "FUCK!!!!!!"
JAZ: "Wassup bro?"
I just stared at him....but I was really staring through him....off into space.
KRUSH: "Wassup nigga?!? You good???"
ME: "Bro....I fucked up."
JAZ: "Wassup nigga?!?! What that text say?"
I could show him better than I could tell him. As I handed him the phone, I started wiping my face with anxiety....trying to gather my thoughts.
JAZ: "Awwwww shit nigga! Bro what's in there bro?!? Tell me it really shit in there for her to see bro....come on cuzz...."
KRUSH: "This nigga just got caught up bro? Mr. Playboy???"
ME: "Bro I don't remember what all is in there...I ain't deleted them messages in a minute."
JAZ: "Nigga you be on creeping shit on ya work phone bro???"
ME: "Nah man. I mean....not really....nah. For real...I aint really been on that shit lately bro, on errthang. I just hope she ain't seen no shit from Tracy bro..."
KRUSH: "Who is Tracy? One of ya side chicks nigga??"
JAZ: (squinting his eyes through his glasses) "Tra....Tracy...? Bro! Is that the outta-town bitch bro?? You know which one I'm talking about!!!"
ME: "Yeah bro. That one."
Jaz hops up out his chair...hollering.
JAZ: "Nigga!!! How you talking to her on ya work phone nigga?? See man, this nigga Rod done started having #ménages n'shit and getting 'laxed..."
ME: "Nah bro...I ain't been on it for real for real...shit I don't even remember what all is in there! We just text on that phone ever so often when we need a random line before she send something. "
KRUSH: (standing up, confused) "Bro - who the fuck is Tracy? This nigga talking about random lines n'shit...what the fuck you got going on homie?"
JAZ: "Nigga what you bout to tell her bro???"
ME: "Nigga I don't know! I gotta figure out what she's seen. This shit might get ugly dog..."
KRUSH: "Oh so yall niggaz just gonna ignore me n'shit!"
JAZ: "Aye bro, you might as well chill for a second...figure this shit out while I work on this record nigga."
ME: "Man....nigga if Sashé see them messages from Tracy bro...."
KRUSH: "Nigga who the fuck is Tracy nigga???"
JAZ: (laughing) "Rod you gotta tell this nigga about ole girl bro..."
KRUSH: "Yeah nigga, I'm curious now..."
JAZ: "Shit wassup with that Henn nigga??"
ME: "It's a half a fifth left..."
Jaz's face lit up...and he promptly headed out the door to get the Hennessy out the booth.
KRUSH: "Aww shit...you know that nigga ain't playing with that Henny boa."
ME: "Yeah...I need a few shots while I'm bullshitting..."
Jaz came back in the room with 3 red cups...filled with ice. He was already pouring up as I started typing my reply to Shay.
ME: "Oh ok lol boo. I'll see you when I get home."
It was important to remain calm at all times. If it was one thing The Art of Cheating had taught me in times like these, it was to keep ya cool...and act like everything was all good. Unfortunately....I didn't have many times like these....where I was caught with my pants down. This was gonna take some real maneuvering.
JAZ: "Yeah nigga, you posted up now. Tell this nigga about Tracy. This shit still fucks me up when I hear it."
KRUSH: (shaking the ice around in his cup) "Yeah gimme the info...shit, I might pick up some pointers nigga - the way you niggaz talking..."
ME: "Aye let's go in the smoke room cuzz, I need to roll up, for real."
We headed across the hall so I could start breaking the details down, tracing my steps.
KRUSH: "Yeah that's what I'm talking about nigga!"
JAZ: "Start at the beginning too nigga!"
ME: (laughing) "Aight 'ole storybook time ass nigga! Nah - you know I gotta start at the beginning...that's the only way to tell the story."
Ok. So let's introduce Tracy....