I have been making poetry and music for as long as I remember. I was the kid in elementary school free-styling at the lunch table, I was the kid who enjoyed learning new words in English classes, one of the only kids who liked being assigned poetry homework or assignments or learning about poetry in class. I remember teachers telling the class we would focus on poetry in the next class and everyone would get upset except me and when the time came to make our own poetry I remember everyone coming to me for help. It was not until middle school that i started taking my poetry and music seriously. That’s around the time I wrote and recorded a song for the first time. Since then I have only grew with my music but I can easily say the biggest step I have taken to date is when I performed on stage for the first time.
One night not too many months ago I was out on my way to get some food not far from my neighborhood and as I was on my way to get that fresh, hot beef patty with cheese and pepperoni over cocoa bread that I had been craving all day I see a rap artist who is famous in the underground rap scene who grew up in the area hanging out with a couple of his friends across the street from the pizzeria. I crossed the street and greeted him and proceeded to tell him how I like his work he thanked me. I told him I know its hard to gain traction in the music industry with the type of music he makes because lyrically profound pieces of work are not appreciated in today’s society like they once were. He agreed and asked if I make music because he picked up on my passion for what i was saying about music through my tone. I told him that I have been making music for years and he could definitely hear something but that i had to go to the pizzeria first. I asked if he wants anything while I was there, he lets me know that he is fine, and then i made my way across the street.
I entered the pizzeria in a bit of a nervous state because there had only been a couple times prior that i performed a song in front of others, excluding the times me and my friends would freestyle for fun. I remember telling myself that it was not the time to be panicking and I eased myself up. I ordered my food and told the man at the register that i would be back in a few minutes. I then left the pizzeria and made my way across the street back to where the artist was with his friends. When i got there he asked if I was ready and then proceeded to call his friend who also doubled as his manager over to listen as well. I performed one of my most recent songs at the time and after finishing his manager let me know he was impressed, a statement to which the artist agreed to. They took down my information and I took down their’s and as I was getting ready to leave the artist invited me to his album release event which he was holding a week from then. He then handed me a shirt from his clothing line and told me to wear it on the day of, and that him and all his friends would be wearing pieces from the clothing line as well. I thanked him told him I would see him there. I was feeling proud of my work and excited, so much so that i forgot to go back to the pizzeria to pick up my beef patty ad instead went straight home.
A week passed and so the day of the album release party came. It was going to be an outside event near where I met the artist which as I mentioned earlier is close by my home. He had told me to be there at 3 but i wanted to be early to show I cared. I got there around 2:30 with the shirt I had been gifted already on and saw the artists’ manager, the man who was with the artists the day i performed the song. He greeted me and let me know that the artist would be here soon. I asked if they needed help setting up and he told me “don’t worry about none of that your here to chill today, come sit down with us” and he brought me over to a group of his friends sitting on beach chairs on the corner of the block and introduced me, “Yo this is the n***a i was telling ya about that came over to us the other day and spit his s**t. I’m telling ya, HE GOT IT”. I greeted everyone and took a seat on an empty beach chair. About an hour passed and the artist arrived in his blacked out RAM truck. It was blacked out from the tinted windows to the custom black rims. He stepped out the truck and instantly a crowd of people started t form around the truck. Photographers, friends, fans, etc. He welcomed everybody and had to take photos with at least a hundred different people before before the crowd died down. Moments after it died down he made his way over to where i was sitting. He greeted everyone including myself and let me know he appreciated me coming out. We all talked for a while about a bunch of random topics and then he made his way over to help get things going now that he was there. He had to get the food, the DJ, a dunk tank he had someone come set up, and a tow truck with a huge flatbed he had his friend bring over to use as a stage organized and ready for the event.
For the next couple hours i just sat there eating and talking with every one, mostly about my music and just music in general. As i was finishing my food, a couple empanadas if you were wondering, i heard the artist announce this on the loud speaker, “yo if i told you that you could perform today go hit the DJ booth and make sure everything is ready for you to get on the flatbed with the mic”. I guess you can say I saw the opportunity and jumped at it because no sooner that he finished announcing this I was next to him preparing to have a conversation that I wont soon forget. I told him “yo so wassup you gon’ let me perform or what, i could do that song i did for you the other day”. After i said this he took a moment to think to himself and then responded “Ight bro go ahead, imma give you this chance, you’ve performed before?”. I responded with but a simple “No” and turned around and made my way to the DJ booth before he could change his mind. I got set up with the DJ and moments later I was getting on the flatbed with the mic. I had never performed in front of strangers except for the one time i performed to the artist and his manager a week earlier, much less ever been on a stage… flatbed, same thing. My heart was racing and it was even worse when i looked around and saw how big the crowd really was. There had to be at least two hundred people in attendance. I was reminded of how i felt in the pizzeria a week earlier when i was getting ready to perform the same song for the artist and his manager. Its a feeling you love and you hate, like the thrill of a scary roller coaster, or a haunted house, or skydiving, you get the idea. I focused up as I heard my song start to play behind me and before i even started performing the artist tells the DJ to shut it down and tells me to pass him the mic.
Nobody had any idea what was going on and as you can imagine, I was panicking. I pass the mic down to him as i was on stage… flatbed, and he was on the ground and as soon as the DJ stopped the music he started speaking to gather everybody’s attention. Everybody got dead silent to hear what he was going to say and what he said shocked me. He spoke into the mic and uttered this, “Yo this n***a be hassling me whenever he see me, but I love it, i can tell he’s hungry. When I tell ya he is hungry I really mean it, he was here two hours before me just to show how dedicated he is “. When he said that it surprised me because he wasn’t around, his manager must have told him. But none the less he continued, “Look, this is what we’re going to do, this his first time performing so what I need from ya’ll, if its fire make it clear, let him know. If its wack make it clear, let him know”. He then said “I got faith in you so here’s your chance, do something with it” and passed me the mic. The DJ started playing my song and i started performing. I gave that performance my all. By the end i was sweating and out of breath but the energy i brought seemed to have paid off because as soon as i finished i looked up and saw all the cameras taking pictures and videos. I saw the flashes of phones and Polaroid cameras, I heard the cheers and applauds, I saw the whole crowd ecstatic. It was an amazing feeling but that amazing feeling got even better when I saw the artist reaching to give me a handshake. He looked the happiest out of everyone including myself. I will never forget him screaming out the words “There you go! There you go!”. I had just performed for the first time in my career and I couldn’t be happier. A milestone moment I will never forget.
After that day my career has only grown along with my relationship with the artist and his manager. I now consider them my close friends. As for my career, I can easily say it is currently at the highest point it has ever been and shows no sign of going anywhere but up. I feel as if I am growing in all areas of my life. I will always remember that day as the day my life as a writer, poet, artist, changed forever. As i’m finishing this paper up now I am getting ready to go meet up with them at a recording studio to work. Life is great and only getting greater and I owe a lot of it to my first time on stage.