A Cleveland Hip Hop Debut To Remember

What could go wrong?  I had my bus money. I had my cover charge. I had a positive mind frame, and I had a game plan.  I would get on the bus, head to Coventry, enter B-Sides round 9pm, watch some artists, hit the stage at 10:30, and then head back home.  Simple, right?  WRONG!

I got in B-Sides fine. And at about 9:30/10ish I went to sign up to perform.  I was scheduled to debut at 10:45pm.  There was no turning back now.  Cleveland Hip Hop was about to welcome a new MC, one Prophet The Rebel.

While I was waiting for my stage debut,  I mingled with some cool cats, watched some amazing Cleveland poets and started to flirt with two very fine looking women.  Two things began to hit me at that point.

1)  I had to get ready for my performance.

2)  Why the hell am I flirting with these girls!?  What am I supposed to say at the end of the night “Hey you wanna come back to my place?  The bus will be here in about 45 minutes. We can hop on and go back to my crib.”


Yeah, I ended up leaving my new found friends and headed on up to the stage.  While waiting in line, I started talking to the guy ahead of me.  Somehow in the conversation I mentioned that I was an MC.  That’s when the guy in charge says, “You’re a rapper?  You can’t go up!  Rappers don’t go up until the second half of the night.”


Immediately, I started the calculations…If I can’t go up until the second half of the night, then I wouldn’t get on that stage until 12:30am at the earliest.  Problem with that is that the buses stop running at midnight.  But I said I would do this…I said there was nothing that would stop me, so bus or not, I was gonna stay put.

One a.m.  roles by, and it’s FINALLY my time.  I headed to the bathroom real quick to get my head right.  Looking in the mirror (ironically, it reminded me of that  scene in of 8 Mile), I tried to shake my nerves and compose myself.  I hear the last MC finishing up (my cue that I’m next), took a deep breath and went up on the stage.

I stood there…Lights burning down on me…Crowd staring, and the band behind me anxiously waiting.  Three, two, one…I took one last deep breath and thought, My freestyle was not going to fail tonight.  I was determined to live up to the hype.

The band fired up, and we were off.  I let loose in a verbal onslaught.  My words and the beat started pounding through the speakers, filling that basement club with my hip hop debut. Both the crowd and time itself seemed to melt away as I performed; I was completely lost in the moment.  Finally, after 4-5 straight minutes of non-stop rhyming off the top of my dome, I finished my last few words perfectly in sync with the band.

And then it happened…….

Nothing!  Absolutely nothing!  I stood there, and it was silent…Not a sound…Not from me, not from the crowd, not from anyone.  You could hear a pin drop.  It only lasted 5-10 seconds but it felt like an eternity until finally my two lady friends from earlier clapped which really made me seem more pathetic.  The ringleader of the night was like “Okay thank you Prophet” in an almost condescending way. (Then again, I could have been reading into that reaction too much.)

Nothing?!  NOTHING?!  I got NOTHING?!

It could only mean one of two things–I either killed it and people had no words; or I sucked, and people were not going to applaud.  I, of course, figured it was the worst of those two options, grabbed my coat and headed home.

I did a lot of thinking on my 30 minute, cold ass lonely walk home.  I arrived back at my crib pissed and confused.  That’s when I decided to call Razer.  I went off on his voice mail, venting all my frustrations. I told him all about the wonderful reception I had, and I told him about how my beat makers haven’t been doing shit lately. I even complained that if  he tells me one more time about how having a car is expensive and a pain in the ass, then I may punch him. Then I wrapped it up saying how fuckin pissed I was and how I  needed to focus on my freestyles and battle raps. Of course, I ended on a high note: “Damnit! Something has to change, and if you have a problem with it, then go fuck yourself!”

So folks, that was my night!

FYI:   I was a little more level-headed and in a little better spirits when Razer aka The RZR called me back this afternoon (Granted, this was after I wrote the majority of my pity-party post above).  So now, I am not as angry as I was when I wrote this but it does represent how I felt at that moment.  So I will leave it as is.  Expect more in the future because B-Sides, I ain’t done with your ass yet!



  1. Did they applaud for the other performers?

  2. Yeah, they did!

    I noticed two things:

    1. The crowd seemed to be applauding for the regulars (ya know, people who come there often to perform), while the new people barely got any love.

    2. It seemed the people who did more of a “spoken word” type thing were better received than the MCs.

    Looking back, I do remember some people were nodding their heads in the beginning of my freestyle. And one person did come up to me afterward and say “Man, I liked your song!” (Too bad it was a freestyle off the top of my head and not a song.)

    At any rate, I’ll be there again next week…You coming?

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