September 14, 2006

And it goes a lil' something like this...

An astute reader of this blog, who also happens to smell like lilacs, emailed me the other day to assert that my blog has been way too political this summer. She wanted more of my life, what was going on with me, girls, and I think she also suggested ewoks. (Clearly she knows that I can easily put together a thousand words on the hirsute denizens of the forest moon of Endor should the mood strike me...)

She asked for more Dan in my posts, so here's some Dan...

Just a few weeks ago I fulfilled a lifetime goal of mine. It wasn't one of those "cure cancer, walk on the moon, solve world hunger" type goals, and it wasn't even one of those impressive personal challenges that we set for ourselves like running a marathon or winning a Pulitzer prize. In fact it was a silly, not important to anyone but Dan goal, one that I had never voiced aloud let alone shared with anyone, yet it had been on my to-do list for more than half my life.


I first started getting into rap music when I was 14. I can still remember, and in fact likely still have, the badly recorded audio cassette that had Run DMC's first album on one side, and The Fat Boys and UTFO on the other. Though at that early age I wasn't yet aware of what exactly I liked about rap music, in hindsight I know that it was the craft of it all; the mix of lyrics and music, the rhythms, and most importantly the construction of the verse. Masterfully displaying all of those traits, Run DMC is clearly and unarguably the single greatest rap group of all time - yet my favorite song since I was 15 and first heard it, is La Di Da Di, by Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh. It's a song elegant in its simplicity: just one guy beatboxing with one guy rapping, telling the story of a particularly busy morning for a young man back in 1985.

I can remember driving around in my '76 Delta 88 Royale (affectionately referred to as "the Led Sled") with a battery operated cassette player on the front seat next to me, playing a special mix tape of mid-80's rap on an endless loop. Anyone who bummed a ride with me was treated to whatever songs I felt they desperately needed to hear. For many of them, what I felt was missing from their lives was La Di Da Di.

One summer night at a cast party in 1985, while talking about rap music, my friend Felicia started rapping the lyrics to La Di Da Di. She loved the song too, and knew all the words, and though I very much wanted to jump right in and do the beatbox for her, I was a bit shy and unsure of my beatboxing skill, and I just kept my mouth shut.

It was one of those moments in life you wish you could do again and get right. Had I been bolder, that could have been a night I never ceased to relive eagerly. Instead, it was forever a moment tinged with regret; regret over lost fun that could have been had as we enjoyed a momentary duet, regret over the lost opportunity to share my love of rap music with others, and regret over the lost opportunity to impress Felicia, whom I was totally hot for in that eager clumsy way of 15 year old boys.

Though I didn't realize it at the time, I would spend years and years of my life waiting for the opportunity to have a do-over of that moment. It was never an active quest, mind you - but in the back of my mind whenever I heard that song at a club, on the radio, or on my own mp3 player, I would always take a moment to reflect on what might have been.

Until August 24th, 2006, the day I found out.

This is me doing the beat-box to La Di Da Di, while my friend and co-worker Audra raps the lyrics.

And this is the crowd having a blast, singing along, cheering us on. When I began the first beat-roll, they went nuts! Whatever they might have been expecting to come out of my mouth, some tight, old-school Doug E. Fresh beats certainly wasn't it. Audra and I tored it up that night - you know how I know? Cause they told us so.

And yes, "tored it up" is proper usage here. When you're as frickin' dope as we were, you go way beyond merely tearing something up, crossing deep into the realm of toring it up.

This is how it happened - it was late on a Thursday night at Hip Hop Karaoke, my new favorite thing in the world. I was initially considering The Humpty Dance, and Audra was looking for her own track, when we decided to do a duet. Almost afraid to ask, I leaned in close so she could hear me and asked "Do you know La Di Da Di?" She did, but the song has no instruments, so there isn't an instrumental track extant that we could use for the karaoke. "Well, I could do the beat box" I offered, knowing full well I've been working those beats since I was 15.

When we were introduced just after midnight to the packed house of hip-hop-heads, the emcee of the event merely said "Dan and Audra, who are doing something a cappella..." I stepped on the stage, picked up the mic, and told the crowd that we were going to try something they hadn't heard in a while, and they should help us out if they knew the words. Glancing over at Audra, I saw her flash me a sign that she was ready to go. I licked my lips, took a deep breath, and said the words I'd been waiting to say to a crowd for 21 years -

And it goes a little something like this - HIT IT!


At 9:45 AM, Anonymous Tapatio es una salsa! said...

AWESOME!! Go you : )

At 4:34 PM, Blogger Mr.T said...

Yeeeeaaaahhh booooooyyyyyy!!!! Got goose bumps just reading it.

At 1:15 AM, Blogger ad7am said...

I'm so proud! (Sniffle!)

At 8:26 PM, Blogger avo2hap said...

proud to say i was a passenger in that'76

when can we expect a rendition of rapper's delight?

does this mean BMP is getting back together?

At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If BMP gets back together, do I have to bake brownies?
~The MoD


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home