Years ago, I went to law school at Georgetown University, in Washington D.C. Being a Brooklyn, New York cat, I knew nothing about that city. One day I went to have lunch with a couple of friends at the famed Florida Avenue Grill. Me and my peoples were in there talking about how we thought the Redskins sucked. I guess we were a bit loud because after a few minutes, a couple of cats said something to the effect of “You New York boys will get fucked up in these parts of town.” Cool, when in Rome, all that. Plus, how stupid would it be for me to get into a scuffle with some local cats over football teams? We quickly changed the subject to politics. Mayor Marion Barry was still the mayor of that city, even after it had been proven that he was known to smoke crack every now and then. This time our waitress got mad. “Don’t you talk bad about MY mayor!” she barked. Now, not trusting the vibe, plus not wanting the cooks in the back to add any types of “special sauce” to my meal, we finished what was left of our lemonades, paid the bill and bounced. Three things I walked away from that experience with:
1. Washington DC cats don’t play
2. They will ride or die for Marion Barry
3. If you’re from out of town, you might get fucked up for talking shit about the Redskins
I grew up with this cat named Knowledge. Knowledge was the kind of cat that loved to get in trouble. Nice with his hands and standing well over 6’2″, dude was known to knock many a cat out with his hands. I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody that loved scrapping like how Knowledge did. Never backed down from a fight. Some years back, he went down to DC to take part in the festivities at the annual Howard Homecoming, even though he never attended Howard. He never attended college. As he was getting prepped, buying new kicks, a mean butter soft leather jacket and what not, I warned dude about how ill them DC boys get, how him with his bad ass shouldn’t mention jack about the ‘Skins. Or Marion Barry. He was like “fuck them bitch ass niggas, you know how I do, fuck around and knock a nigga out!”. You know us New York cats, always thinking how much better we are than anyone else. So dude drives down there, looking to pick up chicks, but with this typical arrogant New York attitude. Down there one night, he runs into some younger kids, thugged out smoking mad weed and blasting Tupac from out their jeep. They got into an argument about a parking space. So as Knowledge and the driver of the jeep is arguing, Tupac all blasting out the speakers, Knowledge spits out, on top of whatever his beef was in connection with the parking spot, how bitch ass them kids was for bumping ‘Pac. Knowledge by the way, was not a Tupac fan. Even though it was just him against like five smaller cats, Knowledge definitely had the size advantage. But the minute he said some shit about Tupac, one of the kids immediately jumped out the jeep, wielding a lock tied to the end of a long ass shoestring. Knowledge, towering over the kid is like “Wtf” then BAM, the kid swings the lock like a pro and the lock connects solidly to Knowledge’s temple. Dazed, and dropped, Knowledge hits the ground. The other kids get out, all wielding the bolo like shoestring/lock creations and they’re whipping on Knowledge like crazy, locks connecting to forehead, nose, knuckles and what have you. Now Knowledge is in the fetal, trying his best to survive, but its a wrap. The kids get closer and commence to stomping the shit out of him. Hearing him tell the story, he said he knew he was close to death, knew he was going to die. The last thing he remembered before he lost consciousness was how he felt mad hands digging deep in his pockets, boots still raining down on his eye, back, head, neck, nose.
When he woke up a couple of days later, in the hospital, doctors and cops there told him how lucky he was to be alive, what with the concussion, broken nose, a couple of cracked teeth and fingers. A whole list of bodily damage. That, plus how them goons took every thing, watch, butter soft leather jacket, new kicks, wallet, crisp Yankees cap, Coogi hoodie, Evisu jeans, car, everything. Them dude stripped him down to his underwear and left him out on the street, unconscious. Me and my friends ended up Western Unioning cash to a friend of mine for Knowledge to pick up from, cause of how he didn’t have any types of I.D. no more. (Western Union requires i.d. to pick up cash). Just so he could buy some clothes, nothing fancy. And also for him to cop a ticket to ride a Peter Pan bus back to New York. All of that, just because he didn’t like Tupac. And how he decided to share that info with a gang of Tupac fans.
Yesterday I remixed an old post I did on Byron Crawford’s site 5 yrs ago. About how I thought Tupac, now in 2009 might still be overrated. You might have read it. Back when I dropped it in 2005, ‘Pac fans went nuts. Byron ended up getting over 500 comments behind it! Mostly from Tupac fans. I have to admit that it was kind of fun then, riling them up, kinda like how kids might get a kick outta stirring up a hornets nest. Yesterday I woke up in a mischievous mood, felt like pulling the same stunt here at XXL. I did, and like clockwork, Pac fans jumped out the window. Like them DC boys, you niggas is crazy. For real though, no joke, I respect that. Now this ain’t no types of apology, me taking anything back. I like some of Tupac’s work. A lot. Most of it, not so much. So yeah, we don’t have to agree on the same things, but you dudes went the eff in on me. Still. Thirteen plus years after his murder in cold blood. The way ya’ll still ride with Tupac, ride and bang for him and his legacy, that right there is mad commendable. What I did was hella fun, for real, but really, I knew what I was doing. I knew better and fucked with ya’ll anyway. It was too easy. And it wasn’t very nice of me.
Two things I respect most about Tupac is how charismatic he was and how he did everything with 100% passion. Passion wins all the time. Tupac fans, like the man himself, are like no other on how they keep that passion alive. It’s what hip hop is missing these days, that kind of passion. I wish half of the rappers in the game today had as much passion as y’all do, as quarter as much passion as Tupac had. I truly respect that. So yeah, I think Tupac was overrated as a rapper, but that’s just my own individual opinion. What’s more important is how Tupac continues to be severely overlooked for the incredibly talented individual that he was in other aspects of his short lived life. For him to have touched so many lives the way he did [||], for how you continue to keep riding for him, on behalf of all Tupac fans everywhere, you get a sincere and official Combat Jack salute. Salutes!
Knowledge has never been the same since that incident. He still tries to gets brawlic every now and then, but not like before. They also never found his car. He’s also got that look in his eye, like how one has when they’ve come that close to greeting death. He’ still a loudmouth. Except whenever anyone mentions Washington, D.C. Or Tupac. Then he gets quiet. Like a church mouse. Quiet and still, and with that lost look in his eyes. You Tupac fans don’t have to worry about me questioning Tupac’s legacy as a rapper no more. It’s hard enough catching heat from them cats over in the Nah Right’s comments section, they started bringing the hate in a major way. So I’m making my peace with ya’ll. I’m ready to move on if you are. Cool? Lemme know.