Ya know what the Midwest is? Young and restless.
That’s exactly how I explained the vibe at the B-Side Liquor Lounge last night. It was a venue filled with hungry emcees and poets, beat makers and musicians, newbies and vets…All of them battling an innate restlessness inside and using their voices to release it all in words and music. That building was filled with a talent like none other last Tuesday…A talent which I’m sure the world will soon come to know.
I started off the night by forwarding a few hundred emails to Razer’s email box (BTW, thanks to all of you for helping me accomplish my Hip Hop Plan B,) with a message telling him that I would be at B-Sides for open mic night. With that, I headed down to Coventry.
My boy, The Katalyst was already there when I arrived at the club. Apparently, Razer told him about the place and he came down to see what all the hype was about. About 20 minutes later, in came Razer aka The RZR with his wife, Nikki.
As soon as he walked in, he smiled at me and said, “What you did could technically be considered spam, ya know. You’re lucky we’re friends. We need to talk.”
But before I had a chance to respond, Razer introduced me to a couple of his friends, a wonderful Cleveland actress, poet and singer named Cathy Houston and some of her friends.
We all looked for a place to sit in the crowded venue, and I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that tonight, I’d be making hip hop history…But at the moment, I just didn’t know how historic it would be.
I noticed Razer strategically ducked into a corner…probably trying to lye low for a bit. Too bad for him, I had something special up my sleeve because the very first thing I did when I got on stage was give a shout out to “My boy, Razer, in the corner over there, all the way from the D. ” With Nikki’s help (who was sitting next Razer and pointing out where exactly he was sitting), I had officially blown his cover.
I proceeded to perform a poem I entitled “Freedom – Part 2,” a sequel to my performance from two weeks ago. This time when I came up I had a proper introduction and all, Prophet The Rebel was now a known MC. Man, if last week was hot, this week was a pure inferno. I couldn’t even finish the poem without being interrupted with applause but don’t take my word for it, check out the Freedom – Part 2 video!
I stepped off stage and noticed someone talking into Razer’s ear.
“That was great, man! Amazing! But we got to head upstairs soon, there’s someone who wants to meet you.” Razer said.
“You’ll see,” he smiled.
We watched a few more performances, one of which was Cleveland’s own, Undagroundkween. Then, we spoke to a guy from the local group, Keyel, about collaborating on some stuff in the near future.
After that we quickly headed on up to the Grog Shop. Of all people, there was Mooch…Just waiting. We headed on back and soon enough, I figured out exactly who we were here to meet. The night was a blur; filled with shots of liquor, Mooch dancing like a mad man, watching some killer performances (BTW never in my wildest dreams did I think that much energy could come out of such a little body! The night’s headliner was a VERY petite gal.), freestyling with Razer and laughing our asses off when the person we were there to meet (the headliner) inadvertently sprayed Razer in the eyes with vodka in a crazy rockstar-esque moment. We all had a blast!
Then the inevitable happened, the question was once again asked of Razer “So why ain’t you guys come out wit a CD already?” insert cute lil English accent.
Razer froze, looked at Nikki for a second and then back at us.
“You gotta understand I have a life now. I have a wife, puppies, a fish we are trying not to kill, and I technically promised my mom I would give up this crazy hip hop dream,” he said.
“So fuckin what! You guys are good!” was spouted out before I could even respond.
“My thoughts exactly,” were the first words that escaped my lips.
“I’m finished with hip hop. I got bills like none other, and what you’re asking of me is to put the little I have left all into a 1-in-a-million chance. Right as my wife and I are considering having our first baby and me barely making ends meet as is, you want me to risk a stable 8-5 job to chase some hip hop dream? I could lose it all in this crazy project.” Razer shot back.
Then he paused. “But you’re right…My day job isn’t me, and I’m living a lie. ” He sighed and asked me, “Are you serious about this?”
“Hell yes I am!” I quickly responded.
He paused, looked at Nikki, and then I noticed her smile back at him for one quick second.
“And there are no limits? We do whatever, say whatever, and tackle whatever we feel like? You’re ready to say screw the radio, screw the underground, screw it all and make the best music we can, refuse to conform to the norm, ready to hear critics say, ‘Your music is too trendy’ or ‘Your music ain’t trendy enough’? If you’re ready to just do what we do best…Make hip hop that can move a club and says something, then, then…ahh man…..then fine, I’m in! Let’s punk this industry, let’s do this and never look back. “
And with that we all took a shot and toasted to Midwest Hip Hop history!
Detroit and Cleveland unite. Razer and Prophet have officially become……………to be continued.
Can you guess the artist that helped finally push Razer over the edge? Hint, she is short, like 5-feet tall short. She is from the U.K., and she is a white rapper. NO CHEATING! You cannot google who was in Cleveland this week. You must guess based on the above hints.