I opened for Rakim! Enough said. I don’t know if this type shit matters to anyone besides me, Whoo Kid, and the packed house at The Ice House venue at this years’ A3C (All Three Coast) festival, but man I’ma share the experience of a hip-hop fan turned rapper with ya’ll anyway.
I always get nervous before I perform. Even when I was six and did my Easter speech, I threw up before I went on stage. Guess you can’t fight traditions, nerves come with the job. Usually I get very tense and it just unwinds on stage and the butterflies that are in my stomach escape past the profanities when I exhale during the set. But man I was sick the night before. I had been at several other A3C events and the more other artists said I was deserving and lucky to be opening for the God, the more anxious I got. By the night before, I couldn’t sleep. I lay in my American signature staring at the ceiling fan and, like Rakim in the “Ghetto” video, was unable to sleep. I wondered “Can I do this shit? Can I really ‘Move the Crowd’ this time?”
On the day of the show, sleepless and still nervous, I was a jittery mess on the inside. I didn’t smoke weed for fear I’d dumb out. I didn’t drink for fear I’d fall out. I just sat backstage and cooled out. All day my people had been telling me I was acting weird, quiet, too serious. They think I’m angry. One of the GTO Misses (from our promo team) was killing me, arguing through texts and I was fucking sick of extra people in the backstage area at this point.
I’m only anticipating meeting the God Rakim Allah and rocking the house!
I’m finally there -the point where the nerves turn into testosterone. I feel like a caged animal so I get up and walk around. I feel like a fighter now. The nerves are going and the aggression for the stage is building. I get called to do interviews. I answer questions, say “Thank you,” smile, move on.
I sit in my chair, the big one that had given me solace in my anxiety, the one that blocked others from sitting too close. Then someone asks me if Rakim could use it to do a quick Q&A? It’s the God. I comply.
Just as I say “cool” I hear Gotty from thesmokingsection.com say Rakim is on the way up and he has a Halo on his head and everything. I chuckle because I know he just witnessed what I knew was real- Rakim glows. Later Gotty would say to me when the van doors open, “it’s like a light surrounded dude.” When Ra enters a room an energy precedes him and remains once he leaves. We shake, he gives me props and agrees to do the “God In the Building” remix with me. He wishes me well, we snap a picture and as I head toward the stage he grabs my shoulder and says to a reporter, “This hip-hop right here.” I felt a calm and a pride that in one second, that small moment, felt like it lasted a year. The nerves left. I had seen the God as a child and imagined myself up there rocking. I hit the stage knowing I was where I belonged in a packed house screaming “Grind time rap gang, bang bang bang” and reciting every word I ever rapped! I was now among god and earth and I let them know what the god knew. I told them hip-hop is me, hip-hop is here (the South) and that the “God is in the building.” Until the next show, PEACE GOD! It’s Bigga.