When Freestyling Happens to Good People
Ah, freestylin.’ The great social leveler. From gallant kings to lowly serfs, the freestyle is a gift for all to be opened, then loathed, detested and quickly deposited to the depths from which she sprung. I learned how to freestyle at Skylake Yosemite summer camp when I was a ten year-old wannabe. One of the older kids, Andy Samberg (of Lazy Sunday fame), taught me and a small coterie of friends the Art of the Rhyme. (ED: And yes he was the funniest fuckin’ kid at camp. He would do things like scream and whip out his cock during basketball right as you were taking a shot. He was also one of the nicest, most down to earth kids and everybody loved that fucker).
Anywho, I realized in college that nobody and I mean nobody should ever freestyle. Ever. That isn’t to say that I didn’t sidle up to the cipher when the mood struck and the beat dropped, but I recognized (probably later than I should have) that the whole thing was really really lame. And I plus I always kind of a loser. So a loser kid freestyling is the zenith of lame. But I’ve always had a relationship with words and blurbs (snap, that shit was organic yo!) so I flexed this muscle on occasion, but I always felt a post-freestyle sense of remorse and regret like picking up and following through on that late night call you know you shouldn’t be.
So…I was at a party this past weekend that featured an all-age smattering of feral New Yorkers. One of those loft parties where you’ll find a fifty something “artist” walking around barefoot with designer jeans and a tunic talking about Peter Max and the beauty of the 7” in one corner and a group of E’d up highschoolers drawing the four symbols of Led Zeppelin on their battered chuck Taylors in another. Somewhere off to the corner I saw the signs of the freestyle cipher: backpacks, headbobbing and white people. I was talking to this girl and she mentioned we should check it out. All of a sudden the girl I was with jumped in and started freestylin.’ What is she doing ? I asked myself. I thought this girl was, um, not really lame. And her attempt, oh man was it tiger excrement. The record (or the kid beat-boxing) halted to a scratch and she just kept going. I felt embarassed cos she kept going and everyone was snickering and she was a really nice girl who just needed a good long look in the mirror and a copy of Aceyalone’s All Balls Don’t Bounce. So, to my absolute displeasure I jumped in to save her with a rambling freestyle about women and rapping (‘they should stick to hand clapping’) to try to make light of the awkward situation and hand her a rope to climb out of the ditch she continued to dig. Plus, I don’t mind making a fool of myself and I’m used to being laughed at. But of course, as things tend to go for me, after we walked away, completely oblivious to what had transpired, she told me what a “fucking asshole” I was for interrupting her and embarrassing her in front of all those people. Now it’s official. I will never string together consecutive words in a lyrical and spontaneous manner for the rest of my life. Not even for the small possibility of sex with a girl I’m only marginally attracted to. And that’s a promise.