A little-known fact about me: I love tattoos. So much so that I decided to get a shit-ton of them strewn across by body during my younger days. While there is the chance I’ll probably end up regretting some of them when my Nigerian metabolism begins to slow down and the b-boy inside my right bicep begins to do a handstand on either a varicose vein or stretch mark, I can at least take solace that I can still conceal them in case this music shit doesn’t pan out and I have to go back to completing TPS reports for Waste Management while wearing a long-sleeve button-up and tie and earning meager wages.
If anything, I can credit for my mother for instilling a sense of professionalism during my rather intriguing upbringing, if only for the fact she raised me in a manner that would make her look “ideal” to her fellow Igbo associates. See, Nigerians – in all their email scamming, oil skimming, Nollywood glory – have this thing about them where they want to peacock for the public eye regardless of whatever fallacies are going on in their private lives. That’s why the president of Nigeria’s name is Goodluck Jonathan (Goodluck. Fucking. Jonathan.) of all things. It’s also why my moms is scared that I’ll fuck around and ink my entire body, looking more like JR Smith than Christopher “Kid” Reid.
As a person who already has enough trouble going to the bank to make a deposit without getting a look from the teller that questions how I’m dropping off a decently sized paycheck every month while still dressed in the same oversized-yet-comfortable pajamas I’ve had since college, I can wholeheartedly say that I’m not that stupid.
I can’t speak for everybody, however, as you can see with sudden increase in half-wit rappers splaying tattoos on their faces as if they were OG Bobby Johnson. Perhaps convinced that they lack the intuition and know-how to sell crack rocks or the ability to shoot a wicked jump shot, they get inked up with the idea of making a “statement,” “expressing creative individuality” or whatever faygo logic rappers think is innovative enough to explain the reason they got the equivalent of receiving a rim job from a poisonous cobra on their cheekbone.
Pause at that entire visual.
My mother won’t ever have to worry that I would do something as outlandish as tattooing a body part that’s immediately visible. She may not find my infatuation with ink as intriguing as I do, but at least we both know that I’m never going to look like a skeed-out Matt Barnes all in the name of rap.