Saturday, July 27, 2013

Aging Rappers, and Aging Me.

Recently, I took a few days off of work. I had been feeling rather tired and bitter, and it was time for me to pull my mental state back together. My job is a great source of self-esteem for me, but sometimes it also make me feel terrible about myself. This phenomenon is called "Time To Take A Break Before They Force Me".

My skin is brightly tanned, the weather has been drizzly, and I am caught up on my magazine reading (except for the current issue of NYLON, where Avril Lavigne is on the cover, because it just feels like something I should protest). With the royal baby hogging the airwaves, and a week until Sara D arrives from Oklahoma (!), I foraged out of the house for things to keep me busy. Coffee and breakfast and strange vegetarian Indian brunch places in the deep northeast were great, but the most wonderful thing I did was tease my hair up into a giant bun, pulled on my plain black jumper, and went out on a weeknight to see Ali Shaheed Muhammad from A Tribe Called Quest DJ-battle against Maseo from De La Soul. NBD, right?

In my early 20s, I used to go watch a lot of rap shows, and I would walk away at the end of the night feeling a little bummed. When a rapper that I had loved in 1993 would walk out onto the stage with a little salt and pepper in their hair, I used to feel so disenchanted. I guess it was like I was watching my own youth slip away as well.

Now that I am in my thirties, I don't care that if someone is a little slower, or a little greyer up top, I am just plain thankful that guys like Maseo and Ali Shaheed Muhammad care enough to still be out there performing. Like being able to watch Picasso pick up a brush and take it to paper, it is truly awe-inspiring to watch an artist that has already perfected their craft.

I stood in the crowd with all of the classic rap-show cliches: the guy with a backpack full of records that he hopes the artist will sign, the girls that have no idea who or what De La Soul is, the dread locked dudes that dance way too hard and sweat all over everybody, the guys that are wearing a Tribe hoodie over top of a De La t-shirt. I looked around me, and it was clear to see where I fit into the cliches. No shame in it, these rappers are aging, and I'm aging, too. I now proudly belong to the thirty-somethings that have loved rap since they were ten years old, and wouldn't miss a show like this for the world.

~sarah p.


marco said...

I'm glad you were there to tell me about - it brings a smile to my face.

~sarah p. said...

So glad, Marco! Hope you are well!