When I was first thinking about what I'd do when I moved to New York City, one idea I'd toyed with was doing country-western hip-hop. A good friend of mine in Tallahassee, who had been a successful hip-hop performer in Chicago (hi, Sherod!), told me over and over again, "You've got to be true to who you are, so you don't come across as phony. I think your strongest angle is storytelling." He was mostly afraid of my seeming corny (a good thing to worry about), and he adjured me, over and over again, to listen to Slick Rick, who was famous for that style of rapping, and pointed out that it was storytelling that made Eminem a success. Rick, a huge influence on Eminem, was one of the best practitioners of the early form of hip-hop, which was funny, celebratory, and about as non-gangsta as it gets. "It's a shame you never got to see him live," Sherod said. "He's an amazing peformer and you could learn a lot." But I only heard a few tracks and have never owned any of his albums.
So I'm reading the a.m.NewYork newspaper this morning, and there in their "New York 4Free" section they announce that Slick Rick is performing live tonight at 7 pm in Marcus Garvey Park at 125th!
I didn't even know he was out of prison! The announcement actually says, "7 p.m. Marcus Garvey Park. Hip-hopper Rick brings it with the art of storytelling." Isn't it funny how I keep running into that word?
Anyone wants to join me, shoot me an e-mail. I've got to get back to work now. Lunchtime is over.